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'It's embarrassing': Tyson Bagent and the Bears' offense turn the ball over five times in loss to the Saints
NEW ORLEANS, LA. — The Bears committed five turnovers on Sunday in a 24-17 loss to the Saints inside the Superdome.
This was a game the Bears knew they had plenty of opportunities in, but critical mistakes kept the team from pulling off with a potential road upset.
Tyson Bagent didn’t hold back on how he felt about this game.
“I thought our team played extremely well,” Bagent said after the loss. “Which is why it’s so embarrassing because one-score game, lose the turnover battle by that amount. It’s embarrassing, but it’s a part of the game. I’m just looking forward to building, learning from this experience.”
Not only did the Bears lose the turnover battle 5-0, but the Saints also only committed one penalty for five yards while the Bears were flagged eight times for 71 total yards.
Cole Kmet finished the game with six receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns, but the Bears’ tight end felt like some opportunities were missed due to the numerous mistakes.
“Well, it’s frustrating because I really think we could’ve, there were some opportunities there to kind of extend the lead there, particularly in the first half,” Kmet said. “Then the second-half defense was doing a really good job stopping those guys. Yeah, we just got to be better in execution, so when it’s second-and-20, first-and-20, it’s hard to overcome that in the NFL, especially a defense like that.”
After Kmet scored off an 18-yard touchdown reception on the opening drive of the game, the Bears’ defense forced a punt. Complementary football.
However, on the Bears’ second offensive possession, Bagent was intercepted trying to force a ball to Kmet on second-and-15 with 5:59 left in the first quarter.
Bagent was critical of himself after the game for his three interceptions, but Kmet thought the team could’ve done more to help out the rookie quarterback.
“I can do a better job of coming back to the football once I see it’s out of his arms,” Kmet said. “I got to a little scramble mode there because my initial window was closed, so I worked back to another window, and I just got to stay on that line and maybe come back to the football. At the very least, break up the pass. So we had a couple of those scenarios you know in the man coverages and stuff. We got to be better in terms of working back down hill to the football. Those were some good throws he made that they ended up getting the football instead of us and we can’t let that happen.”
Bagent returned from that first mistake by leading the offense on a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Kmet’s second touchdown of the day.
The Bears and Saints were tied at 14 going into halftime. Chicago’s defense forced a three-and-out to start the third quarter, but the offense committed its second error of the game.
Bagent found DJ Moore over the middle of the field for a 13-yard reception on second-and-4. Tyrann Mathieu grabbed Moore’s legs and Paulson Adebo punched the football out of Moore’s hands for the forced fumble.
Before the play, it appeared Moore had an issue with one of his gloves, but he said that had nothing to do with why he fumbled.
“I was just trying to make a play,” Moore said. “I was trying to push him off, but he had a good Peanut Punch on it. I think Mathieu had my legs, so it was hard for me to try and go get it. He just made a great play on it.”
The Saints scored a field goal off of Moore’s turnover, but the Bears answered back with a field goal of their own to tie the game at 17. It wasn’t until early on in the fourth quarter that the Saints scored what ended up being the final touchdown in the game.
Taysom Hill found a wide open Juwan Johnson in the end zone to make it a 24-17 game with 11:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.
There was still plenty of time on the clock for the Bears to tie the game, but the following two Bears’ possessions ended in Bagent interceptions. Bagent tried to hit Darnell Mooney over the middle of the field, but Marcus Maye jumped the route and secured the pick. Bagent said after the game that he thought he was late on the throw.
Adebo intercepted Bagent again on the next drive on a pass intended for Tyler Scott over the middle of the field. The ball was behind Scott, but Bagent felt that pass was on time. He credited the coverage and at the same time took the blame for the mistake.
The Bears and Saints then traded three-and-outs on their next offensive drives. Then the Saints gave the Bears another opportuntity after kicker Blake Grupe hit the left upright on his 47-yard field goal attempt. Cairo Santos also missed a 40-yard field at the end of the first half.
With one last opportunity down 24-17, the Bears started on their own 37-yard line. Darnell Wright was flagged for holding to start the drive. Then two plays later, Bagent was sacked by Demario Davis and fumbled the ball for the Bears’ fifth and final turnover.
The chances were there, but the Bears’ constant mistakes caused the team to drop to 2-7 on the season.
“Protect the ball,” Moore said. “As long as we hold the ball, they don’t have the ball and they can’t score points. So, we just got to protect the ball.”
The Bears will have to learn how to properly protect the fooball quickly since they will host the Carolina Panthers in four days at Soldier Field for a matchup on Thursday Night Football.
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