Packers QB Jordan Love looked a lot like Aaron Rodgers vs. the Bears

In his second career start, Love went 15-for-27 for 245 yards, three touchdowns and a 123.2 passer rating.

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Packers quarterback Jordan Love celebrates against the Bears.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love celebrates against the Bears.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

To try to prepare his players for the tidal wave of emotion about to overtake them, Matt LaFleur told them about his first game as the Packers’ head coach.

It was the league’s first game of the 2019 season — a Thursday night. The Bears, celebrating their 100th anniversary, were one of the favorites to win the NFC. Matt Nagy wore George Halas’ fedora into Soldier Field, which erupted into cheers when Jim Cornelison sang the national anthem.

On Sunday, as volunteers unfurled a 100-yard-long American flag, LaFleur saw Cornelison and nudged quarterback Jordan Love.

“Same guy,” he told him.

By the time Love whipped the Bears 38-20 in his first game since inheriting the starting job from Aaron Rodgers, Soldier Field fans were muttering something similar: same guy.

In his second career start, Love went 15-for-27 for 245 yards, three touchdowns and a 123.2 passer rating. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, the Bears have given up a higher passer rating in only two openers: a 2021 loss to Matthew Stafford and the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams and a 2015 loss to — you guessed it — Rodgers.

Same guy?

“I mentioned it to him: ‘Be you,’ ” said Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, unintentionally conjuring Nagy’s favorite phrase. “And Aaron said the same thing on his way [out] — ‘Ain’t no shoes to fill. Screw that. You just play your game. You be the leader that you are.’ . . .

“That’s a huge testament to Aaron. You could still look at it as, ‘Aaron has some pretty big shoes. Aaron’s a generational quarterback.’ But you just want Jordan to be Jordan. That takes care of itself.”

The Packers scored more than 38 points once in each of Rodgers’ last two years. Love did it Sunday running a scheme Bears coach Matt Eberflus said was similar.

Two years ago, Rodgers told Bears fans he owned them. Last year, he saluted them, military-style, in his last game as Chicago’s most hated man. On Sunday, Love started the rivalry’s next chapter.

“We ain’t worried about owning the Bears,” defensive end Kenny Clark said. “We’re just worried about winning.”

Love did both, posting a 154.4 passer rating in a second half in which the Packers outscored the Bears 28-8 before a garbage-time Roschon Johnson score. Two of the Packers’ three longest plays were third-quarter passes to running back Aaron Jones: a throw-back screen for 51 yards and a fourth-and-three choice route that went for a 35-yard touchdown.

“The way we bounced back and came out there in the second half, total domination, that felt good,” Love said.

Love looked like Rodgers on the most important drive of the game. After the Bears cut the lead to 10, the Packers lined up for third-and-three on the first play of the fourth quarter — and were whistled for a false start.

On third-and-eight, Love found rookie Jayden Reed running an out route behind Bears safety Eddie Jackson. He turned up the left sideline and went out of bounds for an 18-yard gain.

Love took the next snap and fumbled it. He turned his back to pick up the ball and rolled right, following through on the play-action pass the Packers called. Lined up on the right side of the line, rookie tight end Luke Musgrave ran across the field and up the left sideline on a ‘‘leak’’ route.

No one was covering him. Love threw off his back foot to Musgrave for a 37-yard gain. Musgrave would’ve scored had he not tripped on his own feet.

“It was that wide open,” Bakhtiari said. “You could fumble it, pick it up, roll over your back shoulder and just toss it.”

On the next play, Love lobbed a jump ball to Romeo Doubs for a four-yard touchdown.

“There is a big-time belief in that locker room for Jordan Love,” LaFleur said.

Maybe in the Bears’ locker room, too.

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