CHICAGO (AP) — Jordan Love kept telling himself he and his teammates were going to play great. He imagined how it would feel to leave the field with a win, too.
Now he knows.
Love looked like he might be ready to follow in the footsteps of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, throwing for three touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 38-20 season-opening victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Love spent three years waiting for this moment behind four-time MVP Rodgers. He shook off a slow first half and helped propel the Packers to a lopsided win.
“It feels great,” Love said. “It feels great. It's definitely been a long time coming for me — three years as a backup. Just watching, learning and growing, seeing this team work. It feels good to be out there leading those guys and being out there playing with them, finally. And to come away with a dub, it's just what we wanted.”
Aaron Jones ran for a touchdown and caught one, helping the Packers pull away in the second half for their ninth straight win over the Bears. Green Bay was 25-5 against Chicago with Rodgers, including an NFC championship game win at Soldier Field in the 2010 season, and the Packers were 22-10 in games Favre started.
For the Bears, it was more of a same for a team that went 3-14 to set a franchise record for losses last season. Chicago came into the season expecting major improvement after a series of offseason upgrades.
Love completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and posted a 123.2 rating. His only previous start was a loss at Kansas City in 2021 when Rodgers was sidelined with COVID-19.
“I couldn’t be more proud of just his performance, his poise,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “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.”
Romeo Doubs had two touchdown catches. Quay Walker returned an interception 37 yards for a TD, and the Packers won for the 13th time in 14 games at Soldier Field.
General manager Brian Gutekunst hugged Love in the tunnel and high-fived other players. Loud cheering and clapping could be heard in the Packers' locker room, and someone yelled, “I wanna stay here all night!”
The Bears lost their 11th straight game overall, and their 10th in a row against NFC North opponents.
“You’ve just got to let truth soak in,” safety Eddie Jackson said. "As much as it hurts, as bad as it feels we’ve got to come out, there’s still 16 more games left. We’ve got to come out tomorrow, look at the film, put the corrections in and just have that in our mindset that we can’t ever let that happen again."
Fields was 24 of 37 for 216 yards. He had a touchdown pass and an interception in a performance that did little to answer biggest question hanging over the team: Can he become the passer the Bears need him to be?
Fields also ran for 59 yards.
Prized acquisition DJ Moore was targeted just twice and had two catches for 25 yards. Darnell Mooney added 53 yards receiving and a TD.
“This game was hyped up and we didn’t bring the juice and hype to the party today and we lost," Moore said.
The Packers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions in the second half to break open a four-point game.
Jones set up a TD on the opening drive of the third when he took a screen from Love — throwing off his back foot and across the field — and turned it into a 51-yard gain to the 7. Jones ran it in from the 1.
The Packers' Jayden Reed returned a punt 35 yards to the Chicago 42, leading to another score. Love hit Jones on a slant for a 35-yard TD, making it 24-6.
The Bears pulled within 10 with about a minute left in the third when Darnell Mooney caught a 20-yard TD pass from Fields. Khalil Herbert converted the 2-point run.
But the Packers quickly quieted the crowd with a 61-yard touchdown drive. Love found a wide-open Luke Musgrave for a 37-yard pass to the 4 after fumbling the snap and threw TD to Doubs on the next play, making it 31-14 with 13:30 remaining.
Packers: Jones (hamstring) came up limping on his 35-yard touchdown catch. LaFleur hopes it's just a cramp. ... Walker was evaluated for a concussion.
Bears: S Kyler Gordon (hand) exited in the second half.
Packers: Visit Atlanta next Sunday.
Bears: Visit Tampa Bay next Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl