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Good morning, Chicago!
And welcome to Victory Monday.
As you’ve probably heard, Sunday’s win over the Raiders was the first for the Bears at Soldier Field since September 25, 2022 — a stretch spanning 10 losses and 392 days. The opponent may not have been a Super Bowl contender, but as my CHGO Sports colleague Cody Delmendo likes to say, it’s nice to win just one.
And that’s actually two in the last three.
Let’s get to the thoughts …
- I spent the waning moments of our live watchalong telling people not to go too far one way or the other with Tyson Bagent’s performance. The sheer size of Bears Nation means you have a solid contingent making Brock Purdy comparisons and another writing off Bagent’s entire career because Luke Getsy rarely had him looking past the chains. People. There will be another game next Sunday and the one after that. Bagent and the Bears had to win this football game and they executed the gameplan that let them get there. There is no third quarterback out there that will automatically elevate the team to Super Bowl contenders by next Sunday and there are still 10 games before we can even consider the question of who “the guy” is for 2024 and beyond. I’m as impatient as every other Bears fan out there, but let’s also be realistic of the situation as it stands on October 22, 2023.
- And that’s why I’m just choosing to appreciate Bagent’s performance and story this morning. No, his final stat line — 21/29, 162 yards and one touchdown — won’t have anyone confusing him for the second coming of Patrick Mahomes. And his final numbers ARE the type of totals that have caused criticism for Fields in the past (though as Adam Hoge noted, the lack of turnovers and sacks should explain some of that difference).
But Bagent was starting a Division II football game at this time last year and sat through seven rounds of the draft last spring without hearing his name called. On Sunday, he led an NFL team to a victory and snapped a 10-game home losing streak. There should still be room for all of us to appreciate a good story and if not, what are you doing watching sports anyway?
- Best thing about Bagent’s performance? No turnovers when everyone was expecting a couple and the 38-year-old backup and fellow rookie on the other side of the ball threw a combined three.
- Speaking of waiting to see how things play out and getting the entire picture, Caleb Williams has been proving the need for that the last two weekends. Finding the truth between “lock for a bust in Canton” and “this guy can’t beat good teams” is why the NFL Draft complex is a 365 day a year fascination.
- It’s pretty wild that eight different Bears caught passes in a game plan that didn’t stray past 10 yards and neither Cole Kmet nor Robert Tonyan saw a single target.
- I didn’t see this defense coming around in October after the September we saw from them. But they just forced the Raiders to a 2-of-9 mark on third downs one week after doing something similar to the Vikings. Another few performances like this and they might be able to claim an identity.
- Justin Jones is already playing with that swagger. Tyrique Stevenson and Jaylon Johnson, too.
- I think Jaylon Johnson deserves an extension, as long as he’s not set on the very top of the market. Like Nicholas Moreano said in the postgame, the Bears aren’t yet at a spot where they can keep letting good players walk out of the building.
- I wish Cairo Santos had been on the team in 2018.
- All these Packers losses are a lot of fun to watch, but they’d be a lot more fun to gloat over had the Bears beat them in Week 1.
Also, we’re one Vikings loss on Monday Night Football away from the Bears being the only victorious NFC North team in Week 7. I’ll take it.
PS — Make sure to join us at The Fireplace Inn in Old Town next Sunday night for a Bears-Chargers watch party!
More coverage from CHGO Bears:
• Nicholas Moreano dives deep on Tyson Bagent’s debut
• Mark Carman has grades for the second win of the season
• Adam Hoge says this could be the defining moment of Justin Fields’ Chicago tenure
• The CHGO Bears crew ponders the upcoming trade deadline
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