The Bears’ season opener delivered the thrills but not a victory as the team blew a 17-0 halftime lead in a 24-23 loss to the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers briefly left the game with a knee injury as part of Green Bay’s struggles early on but he came back in heroic fashion to lead the team to victory. The Bears’ defense that looked so unstoppable in the first two quarters proved vulnerable in the second half and Mitch Trubisky couldn’t come up with the plays to match his two-time MVP counterpart.

It’s a tough loss, but one that showed many positives for the Bears on both ends of the ball. Here’s a look back at the game.

Final score: Packers 24, Bears 23

Packers 24, Bears 23: This time it’s really over. Mitch Trubisky fumbled the ball on fourth-and-10 and there’s no penalty to save the Bears this time around. They’ve really blown a 17-0 halftime lead at Lambeau Field.

Packers 24, Bears 23: A last-gasp fourth-and-9 failed and led to celebrations on the field before the referees put a halt to the party with a 15-yard roughing the passer on Green Bay. A bad penalty at a bad time for Clay Matthews.

Packers 24, Bears 23: Randall Cobb. Seventy-five yards through the middle of the defense. If there’s any consolation, Mitch Trubisky and the offense will have 2:13 to try to hand it right back.

Bears 23, Packers 17: Kyle Fuller just dropped a clean interception that could’ve put the game away. If the Bears can’t hold on from here, that one is going to sting.

Bears 23, Packers 17: Aaron Rodgers will have a chance after the Bears couldn’t convert a third-and-1 in the red zone. Cody Parkey hit the field goal to push the lead to six, so it’s touchdown or bust for the Packers, but we’re talking about Rodgers here. This is a huge test for Vic Fangio’s defense to close out Week 1.

Bears 20, Packers 17: The Bears have been able to convert multiple third downs to extend a drive that’s drained several minutes off the clock, and now they’re in field goal territory off a run from Jordan Howard. This is a chance to put the Packers on the ropes.

Bears 20, Packers 17: The Packers have cut the Bears’ lead to three with nine minutes left after another Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass. Not a good series for Prince Amukamara, who got beat twice by Davante Adams, including on a catch-and-run for the TD.

Here’s the play that set up the drive.

Bears 20, Packers 10: Now this is getting interesting. A long pass play to Davante Adams puts the Packers inside the red zone with a chance to cut the deficit to a field goal. Rodgers is getting some time to pass right now, something he wasn’t getting early on, and he’s pitching the ball around against a defense that seems to be losing some steam.

Bears 20, Packers 10: The Packers are making their push to cut the deficit with Rodgers back in control. They completed an eight-play, 81-yard drive with a 39-yard touchdown touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison, who made a fantastic diving catch in the back of the end zone. Green Bay isn’t going to go down easy.

Third quarter: Bears 20, Packers 3

Bears 20, Packers 3: The return of Rodgers got the Packers’ offense moving again, but they stalled out before settling for a field goal. Still, that’s the most life we’ve seen yet from the Green Bay offense in a game that’s not out of hand yet.

Bears 20, Packers 0: The Bears came out with possession after deferring to start the game and put together a nine-play, 60-yard drive to add a field goal.

Halftime: Bears 17, Packers 0

Bears 17, Packers 0: The players leave the field to a chorus of boos from the fans at Lambeau Field. A surprising start, to say the least. We did get an update on Rodgers’ status, though, which doesn’t appear too dire:

Bears 17, Packers 0: KHALIL. MACK. PICK. SIX.

Bears 10, Packers 0: Khalil Mack doing Khalil Mack things. It’s hard to describe it any other way that he stripped the ball from DeShone Kizer, in replacing an injured Aaron Rodgers, inside the red zone to stop a Packers scoring chance. It’s only been one half and the impact Mack makes on the Bears’ defense is readily apparent.

Bears 10, Packers 0: Matt Nagy chose to gamble on fourth-and-4 but Mitch Trubisky fumbled the snap, putting the kibosh on that drive. Meanwhile, there’s been no good news on Aaron Rodgers’ status yet.

Bears 10, Packers 0: A big third-and-9 for the Packers ended with Aaron Rodgers on the ground holding his leg after a sack. The Packers QB briefly stopped on the field to receive treatment from trainers, which is surely not what Green Bay fans want to see, but he was able to walk off the field under his own power. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Bears’ defense so far.

Bears 10, Packers 0: No problem with a 26-yarder from Cody Parkey.

First quarter: Bears 7, Packers 0

Bears 7, Packers 0: A possible missed opportunity on third-and-goal? It seems like it.

Bears 7, Packers 0: Well, that was quite the first catch from Allen Robinson.

Bears 7, Packers 0: Akiem Hicks and the Bears’ pass rush have looked relentless so far. The Packers completed a big pass-and-run that should’ve covered 40-plus yards, but it was called back for offensive holding. Through two drives, Aaron Rodgers is 1-of-4 for seven yards and the Packers have 24 total yards.

Bears 7, Packers 0: TOUCHDOWN!!! Mitch Trubisky ran it in himself from a few years out after faking a handoff to Jordan Howard. Trubisky finished the drive 4-of-4 passing for 54 yards along with two rushes for eight yards and a touchdown. That was a clean, clean opening drive. Let’s go.

Bears 0, Packers 0: Matt Nagy is putting his play-calling skills on display on this opening drive, which has included a strong mix of pass and run, not to mention a play where Charles Leno lined up as a wide receiver. Now the Bears are in the red zone on their first drive of the season.

Bears 0, Packers 0: A solid start for the Bears’ defense! The Packers recorded one first down before sputtering out as the Bears’ pass rush did a good job putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Khalil Mack made his debut on the fourth play of the game.

Bears 0, Packers 0: The Bears won the opening coin toss by choosing heads and will defer possession to the second half. That means we’ll get to see Khalil Mack and the defense take the field for the start of the game.

Inactives

Inactives for both teams are in. Among the notable active players for the Bears is outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who didn’t play any snaps with the defense during the preseason. The intriguing pass rusher will help take snaps with Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith slated for limited duty in their Chicago debuts.

Bears inactives

WR Javon Wims, OLB Kylie Fitts, DL Bilal Nichols, OL Rashaad Coward, CB Kevin Toliver, TE Daniel Brown, S DeAndre Houston-Carson

Packers inactives

QB Tim Boyle, WR Trevor Davis, S Josh Jones, S Raven Greene, LB Oren Burks, OL Alex Light
WR Jโ€™Mon Moore

Pregame reading

The start of another Bears season is always an exciting proposition. No losses! No injuries! No freezing cold weather! It’s the time when optimism reigns and dreams remain uncrushed by reality.

But on this Sunday night in particular, things are sizing up to be especially interesting.

The Bears aren’t just starting a new season โ€“ they’re starting a new season facing the rival Packers at Lambeau Field on national television.

And after an offseason that included the hiring of coach Matt Nagy, the drafting of a talented class led by Roquan Smith and the stunning trade for pass rushing extraordinaire Khalil Mack, these aren’t the same Bears fans were treated to the past few years. These Bears have been remade in the vision of GM Ryan Pace, and now they’re eyeing the top of the NFC North.

There’s a buzz around this team that wasn’t there in the waning days of the John Fox era, the byproduct of all that summer activity. A defense that was already talented hopes to take it to another level with Mack and Smith. An offense designed by Nagy around Mitch Trubisky could allow the second-year QB to blossom.

Turning that buzz into results on the field may be the more difficult task, however. Four of our five experts pick the Packers to win Sunday night. All of them project the Bears to finish 8-8 or 9-7. That’s a significant upgrade from last season’s 5-11 finish, but it’s unlikely to be enough to end the postseason drought. For Nagy and company to do that, they’ll have to surpass even the raised expectations around them.

That effort will start Sunday night with a marquee matchup on the road against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Stay tuned to this post all night for score updates, highlights and analysis from the Sun-Times.

How to watch Bears vs. Packers

Kickoff time: 7:20 p.m. CT
TV: NBC
Live stream:ย NBC Sports Live