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I Will Have No Idea Whether Jordan Love Is Good Until He Plays Not The Bears

Jordan Love runs with the ball
Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

We'll have to wait a few more hours to learn how his predecessor as Packers quarterback fares in his new role, but on Sunday afternoon, perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Aaron Rodgers's move to the Jets took full advantage. In his Week 1 start, after a season in which he threw the ball just 21 times across four widely spaced cameos, 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love led his team to a 38-20 victory that featured zero turnovers and three passing touchdowns.

It was a dream coming-out for a would-be franchise quarterback tasked with returning the Packers to their usual home atop the NFC North. There's just one problem with crowning him now: He was playing the stink-ass Bears.

Chicago sucked last season, losing their last 10 in a row to finish with a 3-14 record and the first overall pick in this year's draft. Despite some shuffling of names on the roster, these Bears looked like more of the same—weak at the line of scrimmage, unable to get a passing game going, and ultimately a pushover for any serious squad but also for plenty of middling teams, too. It's not clear yet which one of those the Packers are. Love played as well as he needed to, but against the Bears, you don't need to play all that well.

After an early Packers touchdown on a short field, the rest of the first half was close and kick-happy, with Green Bay leading 10-6 at the break. But at the start of the third quarter, this smartly designed cross-field pass to running back Aaron Jones gave Love 51 of his 245 yards through the air and opened a wound the Bears couldn't suture.

The ensuing drive, after another Chicago punt, saw Love taking charge on third and long to confidently run his team into field-goal range. But instead of settling for three, the Packers went for the first and got so much more. Jones made his other big catch of the day on a simple slant into acres of open space and frolicked into the end zone.

Love looked chill and in command all afternoon, but so might any NFL starter worth their salt. With sturdy pass protection allowing him to patiently scan the defense, Love consistently tore off big chunks of yardage. Even when he bobbled a snap early in the fourth, he recovered and had time to send the ball 37 yards downfield to a completely abandoned Luke Musgrave. The gain led immediately to an end zone fade—the laziest play call there is—and the Bears couldn't even defend that.

The feeling in the Packer locker room, after the disappointment of last year's finale and an offseason of uncertainty, was something along the lines of We're so back. And it's the QB, of course, who gets to be the center of praise after a victory.

“I couldn’t be more proud of just his performance, his poise,” Love's coach, Matt LaFleur, said after the game. “There’s a big-time belief in that locker room for Jordan Love, and I think the guys are gonna rally around him. They’re excited for him. They love him. They respect him.”

But, again: the Bears. The quarterbacks that beat them in 2022 include Carson Wentz, Marcus Mariota, and Mike White. That company is about as prestigious as a gas station rewards program. The big questions about Love remain unanswered—most immediately, how will he respond to getting hit or facing actual coverage downfield? You can only beat the teams you play, but Jordan Love hasn't played anybody yet. Just Chicago.

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