The 2022 Chicago Bears were predicted by many to be a bottom-tier team, and while some of the predictions were a little extreme, they weren’t entirely unfounded. Bears fans spent the summer listening to members of the media insult Chicago’s roster. The offensive line was “abhorrent.” The 2022 draft class was underwhelming. The defense wasn’t going to be able to compensate for the offense. They were playing with a new head coach and an unproven quarterback.
Yet, in week one, the Chicago Bears made a statement win against a San Francisco 49ers team with a championship roster (outside of their own quarterback question marks).
Let’s be honest; the elements definitely helped. The freshly laid turf at Soldier Field looked like a Slip ‘N Slide, and at the end of the game, Justin Fields used it as such. But it would be unfair for 49ers fans to blame this loss on just the weather (as many did). After all, did the rain stop while the Bears’ offense was on the field? Did the grass dry up when Fields had to throw the ball? No. The Bears were playing in the exact same conditions and, after an uninspiring first half, looked good over the final two quarters. Did they look great? Not quite, but they were better than their opponent, and that’s all that matters in the NFL.
So, where do the Bears go from here? Chicago travels to Green Bay in Week 2 to play the Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday night. Can they shock the NFL world two weeks in a row and take down their NFC North older brother surrounded by green and yellow jerseys? I’m not optimistic, but I didn’t think they would beat the 49ers either.
The Packers have won seven of the last eight meetings, and the only win came in Chicago during the somewhat magical 2018 season. But look at the three most important roles for an NFL team: general manager, head coach, and quarterback. Sure, Fields was on the team last year. But his play caller, as well as the person putting talent around him, changed. And so far, fans are seeing results.
The Bears came out of halftime against the 49ers with renewed energy after what was surely a riveting speech by coach Matt Eberflus. Ryan Poles’ first rookie class shined, with Dominique Robinson finishing with 1.5 sacks, Braxton Jones playing every snap at left tackle, and Jaquan Brisker having the first takeaway of the 2022 season.
The Green Bay Packers are still the team to beat, however. Aaron Rodgers, as he appropriately stated last season, has owned Chicago. The Packers’ defense is strong, and they have a smart head coach. They’ll be more difficult to beat than the 49ers, and the Bears will not have a home crowd or rain to help them out.
The truth is that the Bears still have a subpar roster, regardless of last week’s win. They have unproven players at almost every position. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Chicago has shocked fans in Green Bay before. If the rookie class continues to improve, if Eberflus can keep his team going when things look bleak, and if Justin Fields can make the critical plays when he needs to, we could see a shocking Bears win on Sunday night in prime time.