Prince Amukamara relied on “that short-term memory” instilled in every cornerback when challenged to put the Bears’ jarring 24-23 loss to the Packers on Sunday night behind him and move on. But even that wasn’t enough. This one still stung three days later.
“I’ve never experienced a game like that one,” Amukamara said Wednesday. “There were a lot of mixed emotions. Getting over it the last couple of days and having to come back now and debrief and look at plays again — I didn’t even know it was the third quarter, and it was still 20-0. It was like, ‘Damn, we lost the game.’
“So, yeah, I think we’re on to Seattle. But I don’t think anyone can actually really get over this game. I think you can push it back, back, back, back to the back of your head and still kind of remember it.”
Even the silver linings were a bit difficult to embrace after this one heading into the game against the Seahawks on Monday night at Soldier Field. Led by enticing newcomer Khalil Mack, the Bears’ defense dominated the first half. Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith had a sack on his first NFL play. The Bears’ 17-0 halftime lead was their largest at Lambeau Field in the Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers era.
“That kind of makes it tougher, too, because you know how much you put into it and how close you came,” Bears guard Kyle Long said. “It was in reach — well within reach. But you’ve got to move on. We’re 0-1. There are 32 teams in the league, and almost half of them started out with a loss. So moving on this week, we have an opportunity to go 1-1 and defend our home field. That’s all we can really aim to do.”
Recovering from losses to the Packers at Lambeau is something the Bears actually do well. Since Rodgers became the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, the Bears are 7-1 in games after a loss at Lambeau. The only loss was last year, 20-17 to the Vikings at Soldier Field. And even that was a good showing in Mitch Trubisky’s NFL debut, marred by an interception that led to a tiebreaking field goal with 12 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
And this team has a lot more going for it than most of those previous teams did. With Mack and Smith getting acclimated after their Bears debuts, the defense figures to not only improve but do a better job of sustaining its production. The work-in-progress offense is taking baby steps, but at least those appear to be in the right direction.
And there were other, less obvious, positive indicators. The Bears ostensibly had no giveaways (Trubisky lost a fumble on a fourth-down sack), a rarity against the Packers at Lambeau. They had only five penalties for 35 yards — they had averaged 10 penalties for 106 yards in their previous four games at Lambeau. And, perhaps most significant, nobody got hurt.
That’s not bad for a game at Lambeau Field.
“I felt best about the fact that we were poised on the road in a difficult environment in a prime-time game,” Long said. “We have a really young team. Our defense showed signs of [being] an amazing defense, and I thought the same thing about our offense. We just have to get it in all three phases for four quarters.”
So once they got over the pain, the Bears saw a lot to be encouraged about.
Like . . . “how good our team is,” offensive tackle Bobby Massie said. “There’s a lot of things we did well. Nobody gave us a chance in that game. Just corrections that need to be made. We’ve got to finish stronger and things won’t be a problem.”