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Bears driven by memories of Week 1 loss

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The queasy feeling that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky felt in the pit of his stomach Sept. 9 after the Bears lost their season opener to the Packers returned Wednesday.

Preparing for Sunday's rematch at Soldier Field, Trubisky and his teammates watched clips of the Week 1 game, which the Bears led 20-0 early in the second half before the Packers rallied for a 24-23 victory in Green Bay,

"We want to finish so we don't have that feeling again," Trubisky said. "We all want to remember that and hopefully it just motivates us this week to come out, play a little bit harder and go out there and do our jobs and make sure we're not feeling that feeling again."

Coach Matt Nagy vowed that the Bears would rebound and learn from their bitter loss in Green Bay, and they've done just that. They followed the defeat with three straight wins and can clinch the NFC North title Sunday with a win over the Packers or a Vikings loss to the Dolphins in Minnesota.

"The best part about it is they get to see what I meant when I sat in that locker room after the game and told them that we've got to learn from it," Nagy said. "There are a lot of weeks in the season, and that was one tough week.

"It was disheartening. It was frustrating. It was discouraging. There are so many feelings that we had after that game. But now they get to see that it is a long season and if you stick together and you just ride through those highs and lows the right way, you can get to this point.

"There are still three games left in the season, and this is the game that we have and we're in a great position now. We need to go out there and play our best."

The Bears led the Sept. 9 game in Green Bay 17-0 at halftime after the offense produced a touchdown and field goal on its first two possessions before Khalil Mack returned an interception 27 yards for a TD late in the second quarter. The Bears increased the margin to 20-0, but Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in the game's final 9:01 to rally the Packers.

"We came out strong in the first half on offense and then in the second half we didn't come out as aggressive and didn't finish," Trubisky said. "The theme this week is just finish as a team, have a great week of practice and then when we get our opportunities in the game, finish, and help us come out with a win. We're just very focused and ready to go to work this week. It's just another week to try to be 1-0."

Since their Week 1 meeting, the Bears have established themselves as the best team in the NFC North by winning nine of 12 games, including signature primetime victories over the Vikings and Rams at Soldier Field.

The Packers, on the other hand, fired longtime coach Mike McCarthy Dec. 2 after dropping five of six games and have suffered a rash of injuries. Five key defenders who played in the season opener will not suit up Sunday: Lineman Mike Daniels, end Muhammad Wilkerson, linebacker Nick Perry and cornerback Kenny King are all on injured reserve, while safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was traded to the Redskins Oct. 30.

"They're a different team," Nagy said. "They've had some injuries. You run the course of the season and you kind of create who you are. And same with us too. But every game is its own game. That was a big win for them last week against Atlanta. They've got Aaron back there at quarterback and anything can happen on any given Sunday.

"We feel like we're different in a better way. That was our very first game of ever playing together, standing on the sidelines together, calling a timeout for the first time, talking through situations. We've done that now. We've been through that. We've been callused. We feel stronger, but that doesn't mean it's going to change anything. We've got to go out and play."

The Bears return to practice Wednesday at Halas Hall as they prepare to host the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

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