CHICAGO — Even for a team coming off a three-win season, Sunday was a worst-case scenario for the Bears to open the 2023 season.
The team was dominated by the Jordan Love-led Packers 38-20 at Soldier Field in one of the more forgettable season openers in recent memory. Some have wondered where the defeat ranked among the worst first games in Bears’ history.
From a margin perspective, it’s high, but nowhere near the top.
The 18-point defeat to Green Bay is the eighth-worst defeat in Bears’ Week 1 history and is the second-worst at home.
The worst opener in Bears’ history was on September 7, 2003, when the Dick Jauron-led team was trounced by the 49ers 49-7 at Candlestick Park. It was the start of a 7-9 season and the end of the Jauron era of the team.
Three times the Bears have lost their season opener by 28 points, which is the second-worst in team history.
That includes the worst Week 1 loss at home which occurred in 1975, when the Colts beat the Bears 35-7. That was the first game for franchise icon and Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton, who didn’t gain a yard in eight carries on the day.
In 1965, two more Bears’ icons would make their debut in a forgettable 28-point opening week defeat. The team lost to San Francisco 52-24 at Kezar Stadium as running back Gale Sayers and linebacker Dick Butkus played their first professional game.
Two years later, the Bears would lose their opener again by 28 points, this time to the Steelers at Pitt Stadium.
Here is the list of the worst Bears season openers by margin of defeat in team history.
- 42 – 2003 – 49ers beat Bears 49-7 at Candlestick Park
- 28 – 1975 – Colts beat Bears 35-7 at Soldier Field
- 28 – 1967 – Steelers beat Bears 41-13 at Pitt Stadium
- 28 – 1965 – 49ers beat Bears 52-24 at Kezar Stadium
- 25 – 1954 – Lions Beat Bears 48-23 at Briggs Stadium
- 24 – 1961 – Vikings beat Bears 37-13 at Metropolitan Stadium
- 20 – 2021 – Rams beat Bears 34-14 at Sofi Stadium
- 18 – 2023 – Packers beat Bears at Soldier Field