Pompei: Observations From Bears-Packers

September 10, 2018 - 11:08 am

(670 The Score) The Bears played better in their opener in enemy territory than I thought they could. They just couldn’t sustain it in a 24-23 loss to the Packers on Sunday. But they would've beaten a lot of teams that didn’t have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

My thoughts:

1. Ten years from now when people talk about what a great player Aaron Rodgers was, they will bring up what he did against the Bears on opening night in 2018.

2. Rodgers’ performance was Brett Favre-ian.

3. Rodgers’ presence in the third and fourth quarter was more impactful than any of his passes. He’s one of the greats, and everyone on the field knew it.

4. The Bears' defensive backs -- and especially the cornerbacks -- needed to step up late in the game. They didn't. If there's a problem position on the defense, cornerback is it.

5. Khalil Mack reminded me of Lawrence Taylor. Explosiveness. Great instincts. Full arsenal. Attack mentality. What a natural.

6. Mack looked like he wasn’t in football shape. Imagine what he's capable of when he's in football shape.

7. The game provided the explanation as to why the Bears made Mack the highest-paid defensive player in the game and why the Packers made Rodgers the highest-paid player in the game.

8. Last week, Akiem Hicks misspoke. He said the Packers couldn’t block Mack. He must have meant to say they couldn’t block Mack or Akiem Hicks.

9. We knew Mack and Hicks could play. But we’re learning Roy Robertson-Harris also has game. He could be a force in the defensive front.

10. One significant difference between 2017 and 2018 -- how Tarik Cohen is being used. He looks so different, it’s almost like he’s a new addition.

11. It felt like Cohen had a lot more than 41 yards, his combined rushing and receiving total.

12. Nice to see Alshon Jeffery back in a Bears uniform. Oh wait, that was Allen Robinson.

13. I loved Matt Nagy’s opening play call, from the T-Formation. I didn’t love Nagy’s play call on fourth-and-9 late in the game -- going deep instead of going for a first down. Luckily for the Bears, Clay Matthews roughed the passer to keep the drive going.

14. Unless Mitchell Trubisky -- and really the whole Bears offense -- becomes more efficient in a two-minute drill, the best the Bears can hope for is to be a .500 team. 

15. The Bears showed they can dominate a half of football. Now they have to show they can dominate the half of football that usually decides the game.

Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670’s Bears pregame show. He also writes for Bleacher Report and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.