The Bears shocked the NFL world by winning 19-10 against one of the top teams in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers. However, the game was played in some of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen watching football. But in my opinion, there are still some things that can be taken away from the Bears win.
1. This is an extremely disciplined football team.
Let’s face it, the Bears are going to be outmatched from a talent perspective in most games that they play. This game against the 49ers was no different. The Bears were simply the more disciplined football team on Sunday. The Niners had 12 penalties for 99 yards, while the Bears had 3 penalties for 26 yards. One of those penalties was a ridiculous one against Punter Trenton Gill for bringing a towel onto the field, which was 15 yards. If the Bears can minimize their penalties to this rate, then they’ll be in almost every single game no matter who the opponent is, because that’s an extremely low amount of penalties that’s hard to be replicated by another team.
2. The Bears secondary is living up to the hype.
Many fans and analysts were upset that the Bears didn’t address the receiver position or the offensive line in the NFL Draft. However, General Manager Ryan Poles clearly isn’t in enough of a hurry to rebuild the offense to reach for players. Instead, he took two solid Defensive Backs in Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. Drafting these players gave the Bears some of the highest upside in the secondary of any other team in the league. With Jaylon Johnson developing into a true number 1 Corner and Eddie Jackson looking like his old self after having an Interception during Sunday’s game, it looks like the Bears will just need another Cornerback to step up to have a complete secondary.
3. Justin Fields has the mentality needed to play the Quarterback position at a high level.
While watching the first half, it would have been easy to assume the Bears were already out of the game, even though it was only 7-0. Fields was given no protection by his offensive line, he threw an interception, and had no completions to his Wide Receivers until the third quarter. The offense had a complete 180 degree switch from the first half. Fields was 5/8 with 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Head Coach Matt Eberflus credited Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and his halftime adjustments with the dramatic shift in offensive production from the first half to the second half. It’s going to be interesting to see what this offense looks like in normal conditions and hopefully with the addition of rookie WR Velus Jones Jr, who missed week one with a hamstring injury.
The Bears learned a lot about themselves in week one. They need to keep beating teams with superior talent to get the respect of the league, the media, and even some of the fanbase. The truth is, there were low expectations heading into this season. Many have thought the Bears will be in contention for a top five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the talent on the roster reflects that. But with good coaching, a breakout secondary, and most importantly the breakout of Justin Fields, the expectations will start to shift if they beat the Green Bay Packers in week two, and win some of their upcoming games against the Texans and Giants. These expectations would not only come from the Bears having a fast start, but also an NFC that looks extremely weak.