Leonard Floyd sat at his locker stall late Thursday, speaking in a quiet voice and trying to find the right way to contextualize his emotions.
Under normal circumstances, Floyd would have been mobbed by cameras. He would have been standing tall with his chin up and smiling every time a nearby teammate shouted exuberant praise at him over the loud music pumping through the locker room. He would have been happily spreading the kudos to the rest of a defense that dominated the night.
This might have been recognized as Floyd's major breakthrough and an announcement by the entire Bears defense that visions of playing in South Florida in February are fully justified.
Only Floyd — who had two sacks and a third negated by a penalty — was speaking to a small collection of reporters in a room without strobe lights or feel-good vibes.
He was sitting, staring into the carpet, shaking his head in disgust and trying to process the room's disappointment.
"I feel like this was a humbling experience," Floyd said. "It sucks to lose like that knowing the effort we played with on defense."
After holding Aaron Rodgers to 10 points in 12 possessions and sacking him five times — a once unthinkable accomplishment in these parts — the Bears were stomaching a brutal 0-1 start.
Packers 10, Bears 3.
"This one is tough," safety Eddie Jackson added. "We really wanted this."
The final gun brought a chorus of boos from the Soldier Field stands, maybe the seventh or eighth spurt of displeasure expressed by a crowd of 62,345 that had been pulsing with excitement at the opening kickoff.
But alas, some of Chicago's darkest and eerily familiar fears were renewed. What if the Bears again have a Super Bowl-caliber defense that gets torpedoed by a woeful offense? That's the question that will generate passionate arguments over the next nine days.
In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Good luck with allll that."
It's a hyperreactive worry, sure, after just four quarters of football. But after an amped city spent a beautiful Thursday revving up for what felt like the biggest regular-season party this city has hosted in forever, who can blame the masses for feeling so angry that the Bears offense let them down?
Twice as many offensive penalties (six) as points. An inactive tight end (Trey Burton) missing another big game. A flurry of alarming offensive line breakdowns. Too many missed throws and missed opportunities by Mitch Trubisky. A pair of third-and-1 chances that went backward with questionable play calls from Matt Nagy.
Oh, and a first-and-40 at one point. For real. First-and-40.
Said Nagy: "I just told the guys in there that this is not who we are. . Every fan that showed up today who was a Chicago Bears fan, they should be upset."
The only scoring drive, the one that ended with a 38-yard Eddy Pineiro field goal, covered all of 16 yards on six plays. No joke.
"I feel like I let a lot of my teammates down and the fans down with the way I played," Trubisky said.
Now the Bears have nine days before their next game, leaving them the choice to stew or fret or calmly flip the page like they know they need to.
Jackson, for one, was hoping the extended layoff could be used as a positive.
"You get to sit back, look at this, make your corrections," he said. "We'll go in the meeting rooms with coaches and really reflect on this game and how much it means to have this feeling right here. Do you want this feeling to keep repeating itself? Or do you want to get rid of it forever? Right now we just want to get this feeling out of our stomachs."
The prescription for the defense — and really the therapy for all of Chicago — is right there in Thursday night's game film. Just fast-forward past all of the offensive series. Start with Roquan Smith, who buried Aaron Jones for no gain on the first two plays, sending a charge through Soldier Field that made it feel like the playoffs had arrived in September.
"It was amazing," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "Roquan had his hair on fire."
Follow the clicker to the big plays from Roy Robertson-Harris, who was flying around and mauling people to the tune of a sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Next find the snaps where Floyd finished on top of Rodgers, demonstrating that all of the offseason work he put in on his pass-rush repertoire has made him a force.
This is a defense that already established itself as special, a unit that saw Jackson, Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Kyle Fuller named to the Pro Bowl last season. Now it has at least three emerging young standouts taking their games up a level.
After three possessions Thursday, Rodgers and the Packers had minus-12 yards.
"We're headed in the right direction. Most definitely, man," Jackson said. "The only thing we can do is go out there and execute. It's 100 percent on the players."
Added Amukamara: "If we could play tomorrow, I think we would. Guys are just ready to get back on the field."
Still, the offense's discombobulated night ruined what could have been a statement game the whole football world would have noticed. A night full of struggles they had nothing to do with left Bears defensive players lamenting why they had given up any points at all.
"They scored," Floyd said. "And our job on defense is to stop them from scoring. We have to keep them from scoring. Plain and simple."
The defense, of course, deserves better and needs much more help to keep the angst of 0-1 from becoming a fully mystifying September. But on opening night of the NFL's 100th season, the Bears offense looked like it was stuck in the 1920s.
"Three points is ridiculous," Nagy said. "It's super, super frustrating."