Jordan Love Extends Green Bay Packers' Winning Streak Against the Chicago Bears
CHICAGO -- It turns out that Aaron Rodgers might have only been a co-owner of the Chicago Bears. Jordan Love seems to have secured a share for himself.
The new Green Bay Packers quarterback, Jordan Love, delivered a familiar result for the struggling Bears.
On the same field where two years ago Rodgers proclaimed to the Bears' fans, "I still own you," after another Packers' win against their NFC North rivals, Love began his tenure in much the same manner.
A decisive 38-20 victory in the first game of the post-Rodgers era sent a clear message.
"Nothing's changed," running back Aaron Jones declared. "We're still the Packers."
Whether Love can maintain a 15-year run following Rodgers and Brett Favre's 30-year legacy remains to be seen, but for at least one afternoon, he justified general manager Brian Gutekunst's bold move to trade up and select a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 draft.
This victory marked the Packers' ninth consecutive win over the Bears, but it felt like much more than that.
"There's a tremendous belief in Jordan Love within that locker room," stated Packers coach Matt LaFleur. "I believe the guys are going to rally around him. They're excited for him. They love him. They respect him. He comes to work every day with a great attitude and great energy. I think you saw that today."
Behind the closed doors of the Packers' locker room, cheers erupted as Love received the game ball.
"It's definitely been a long time coming for me, three years as a backup," Love expressed. "Just watching, learning, and growing, seeing this team work, it feels good to be out there leading those guys and playing with them finally. Coming out with a win is just what we wanted."
Love initially made it look effortless, orchestrating a scoring drive on the opening possession. He displayed poise in the pocket, waited for Romeo Doubs to break open, and then connected with him on an 8-yard touchdown.
However, he encountered difficulties, and by halftime, it was a close 10-6 game.
Then, it resembled a classic LaFleur offense. A deceptive screen pass evolved into a 51-yard catch-and-run for Jones, who concluded the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. When Jones caught an option route for a 35-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-3 play, the Packers took a commanding 24-6 lead.
Love threw a perfectly placed 4-yard fade for Doubs' second touchdown, capping off his third TD and extending the lead to 31-14. At that point, he became the first quarterback in the 2023 NFL season to throw three touchdowns.
With significant assistance from Jones, who tallied 127 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions before a tight hamstring cut short his day, Love completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards without any turnovers.
"I told him that I think he's going to go for 300 yards with three touchdowns, but he went for [almost] 250 yards with three touchdowns," remarked left guard Elgton Jenkins. "But we'll take it."
This impressive performance was achieved without arguably their most explosive receiver, Christian Watson, who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. That may be a reason why LaFleur decided to rest Jones early, even though Jones insisted he could have continued to play.
Love excelled in clutch situations, going 8-of-10 on third and fourth downs, converting seven of them into first downs.
"I believe he can be a top-five quarterback," Jenkins confidently stated. "I'm always optimistic about my teammates, but I genuinely believe that Jordan can be one of those guys."
The only statistic that mattered for Love on Sunday was his win-loss record: 1-0.
He may be far from matching Rodgers' 24-5 record against the Bears, but as cornerback Jaire Alexander put it: "[The] Pack is back."
Or maybe it never left, even when Rodgers departed for the New York Jets.
"Yesterday, I was definitely visualizing just having a win, coming off the field after a win; I kept telling myself, 'I'm going to play great, we're all going to play great,'" Love recounted. "That's what I kept telling myself over and over again. And when I woke up today, I was doing the same thing, just visualizing that we were going to get this win and we were going to play great today."