Leonard Floyd led a strong defensive effort in Thursday night’s season opener, recording two of the Bears’ five sacks of Aaron Rodgers in a 10-3 loss to the Packers.
Last year Floyd did not register his first sack until the Bears’ ninth game, though he spent the early part of the season playing with a cast on his hand to protect a broken hand. Floyd finished the year with four sacks while starting all 16 games.
The other three Bears sacks Thursday night were produced by Akiem Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris and Aaron Lynch. The five sacks tied for the most by the Bears in 22 all-time games against Rodgers, matching the total from last December’s 24-17 division-clinching win over the Packers at Soldier Field.
“I’m glad our defense stepped up,” said coach Matt Nagy. “I don’t want to take away from what our defense did and coach [Chuck] Pagano and the way he got his guys ready against that offense who no one knew really what they were going to do.”
Catch this: The top producer on a stagnant Bears offense Thursday night was receiver Allen Robinson II, who caught seven passes for a game-high 102 yards.
But after the Bears failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 17 games under Nagy, Robinson wasn’t interested in basking in his own glory.
“It was frustrating,” Robinson said. “We know we can’t go out there and score three points. We’ve got to score more than three points. We’ve got to make corrections. We’ve got to change that going into the next game.
“We’ve got to make more plays. Once we crossed the 50, we didn’t move the ball. We had penalties. We had different stuff. Once we crossed the 50, our mentality has to be scoring. We’ve got to lock in, move the ball and put ourselves in a situation to score.”
Following the rules: Trailing 7-3 late in the third quarter, the Bears kept their offense on the field on fourth-and-10 at the Packers’ 33 instead of attempting a 51-yard field goal. Mitchell Trubisky scrambled up the middle for three yards, turning the ball over on downs.
Nagy said that the 33 was beyond the yard line that special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor had given him at halftime in terms of kicker Eddy Pineiro's range heading toward the south end zone.
“He’s made multiple kicks past that,” Nagy said. “But there’s certain situations, whatever it is, whether it’s the wind or whatever, that ‘Tabes’ gives me that number and I go with that.
“That’s just what he told me, and we have to stick by it. If we start breaking that and start reaching and we go out there and he kicks a 51-yarder and misses it and now they get the ball at that spot, it just breaks our rules.”
No excuses: On the possession that ended with Trubisky’s 3-yard scramble on fourth-and-10, the Bears were called for two delay of game penalties.
“It was terrible, absolutely terrible,” Nagy said. “There are no excuses. Every fan that showed up from Chicago today that was a Chicago Bears fan, they should be upset, because that's not who we are. We're better than that.”
The boos directed at the Bears offense intensified throughout the game.
“They have every right to boo,” Nagy said. “We get it. The way they showed up tonight and how crazy rowdy they were and how supportive they were of our team … they deserve better, and that’s what we need to do.”
On the shelf: A game-time decision, tight end Trey Burton was inactive Thursday night due to a mild groin strain that limited him in practice.
“It would have been nice to have him, but that’s not any reason why we played the way we played on offense,” Nagy said. “Trey is a great player, and him and Mitch have good timing. We put him out there to see where exactly he’s at. It was close, but we felt like it wasn’t the right time.”
Great memories: As part of their 100th season celebration, the Bears are honoring a different decade at each home game this year. On Thursday night, they celebrated the 1980s, which were highlighted by a Super Bowl championship in 1985.
Prior to kickoff, several members of that team emerged from the Bears tunnel. The group included Jim McMahon, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, Steve McMichael, Dennis McKinnon, Tom Thayer, Jim Morrissey, Otis Wilson, Matt Suhey, Gary Fencik, Jimbo Covert. Kurt Becker and Mike Hartenstine.
The place to be: Others spotted in attendance at Thursday night’s opener were Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, WWE superstars Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch, and former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.