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CHICAGO — DJ Moore described Tyson Bagent and his performance against the Raiders perfectly, following the Bears 30-12 victory at Soldier Field on Sunday.
“He took what they (the Raiders’ defense) was giving him,” Moore said. “He stayed within himself. He didn’t go out and do nothing extraordinary.He just stayed calm, collected and do what he had to do.”
In Bagent’s first career NFL start, the undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University finished 21 of 29 for 162 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.
He played on time, in rhythm and distributed the ball to his playmakers. Eight different players caught a pass, and Moore led the Bears with his eight catches for 54 yards.
Bagent executed the game plan that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and the rest of the Bears’ staff constructed for the Week 7 matchup. Bagent didn’t have the weight of the entire game on his shoulders. Instead, the young quarterback was a game manager, and that’s exactly what Bears coach Matt Eberflus wanted.
“We wanted him to have good rhythm, timing, good protection; don’t let 98 (Maxx Crosby) wreck the game,” Eberflus said. “Those were all our keys to victory. And distribute the ball to skill players, and when you’re able to run the ball the way we were, they have to come up the line of scrimmage and in some good advantageous pass situations for us offensively. Overall it was a really great effort by the whole group.”
The offensive line was part of the reason why the entire offense was able to execute effectively. The O-line did so despite having a different combination in the interior. Cody Whitehair moved to left guard, Lucas Patrick was Bagent’s center and Teven Jenkins played right guard.
Despite the different interior, Bagent was only sacked once, and Maxx Crosby didn’t wreak havoc and blow up plays like he has been doing all season. Bagent got the ball out quick and the line held up.
Teven Jenkins noticed Bagent’s comfortability in the huddle.
“He’d tell us like how many seconds (were) on the play clock,” Jenkins said. “He’s good at changing up the cadences. That was very good of him. I was very impressed by how he kept on changing cadences and everybody on top of it. I felt like he was really good back there.”
On the Bears’ first touchdown scoring drive of the game, Bagent found rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott for a 13-yard gain over the middle of the field on third-and-5. The Raiders were playing man coverage, and Scott was the third progression on the read.
“I got outside leverage, stretched my guy and was able to win at the top,” Scott said. “Turned my head and seen the ball coming. Third down had to make a play. You know, I think that’s just him trusting in me, and me trusting in him. That’s what I said all week, ‘Like, man, I got your back. I’m here for you.’ That’s huge, just building trust between a quarterback and receiver and we ended up scoring on that drive.”
Bagent stayed composed on that play to Scott, but did so for a majority of the game. Even though he did say he was nervous going into the game, but after that first snap, he mentioned it was then the nerves began to disappear.
Bagent credits his overall calm demeanor to all the football he has played in his past and what he has had to overcome to get to the point he is at currently in his life. And he understands this opportunity may not last, especially since Eberflus said Justin Fields is still the starting quarterback if he is healthy.
So for now, Bagent will enjoy the present, knowing that he helped his team get a much-needed victory.
“Where I come from, I’ve got a bunch of friends, a bunch of family that understand,
understood how big this was, just really in life,” Bagent said. “Not a lot of people get to say they started an NFL game, let alone win an NFL game. So definitely had a lot of those conversations today. I think the staff understood it, too, and the players. That’s why everybody has rallied behind me as well as they did. So I was able to take it in with a handful of different conversations that I had throughout the week.”
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