Tyson Bagent’s first NFL start could not have gone much better, the Bears defense continued its dominant play, and the Bears got their second win of the season in blowout fashion. Jaylon Johnson’s first career pick-six (and second career interception) was the icing on the cake for a truly dominant game. Don’t look now, but the Bears have won two of three games, with more winnable games on the horizon. Here are the guys who helped them get there, and some who have work to do over the coming week.
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Power football lives in Chicago once again. The Bears needed an efficient performance from a running back to take some of the pressure off of Bagent, and Foreman delivered right away with some bruising runs. Those effective, physical runs remained a trend throughout the day as Foreman finished the game with 16 carries for 89 yards, good for a 5.6 YPC average. The physicality helped the Bears find pay dirt three times, too. He fought through contact on each of his three touchdowns. Enormous performance when the team needed a spark with Justin Fields sidelined.
On the Raiders’ first offensive play of the game Davante Adams drew Stevenson in coverage. Adams beat him easily for a first-down grab. Two plays later, Adams drew Stevenson again and this time beat him immediately off the line for another first down. It looked like the rookie was going to be in for a long “Welcome to the NFL” day. Stevenson won his third battle with the dynamic wide receiver, though, and from there settled in to play a solid game. Stevenson was flagged for a big defensive pass interference that helped to set up a Raiders field goal, but it appeared to be an iffy call. The football gods made good for Stevenson in the fourth quarter when Adams dropped an easy touchdown with Stevenson trailing in coverage. Stevenson finished the day with three passes defended and six tackles.
The Bears defense is predicated on creating takeaways and for the second game in a row, Edmunds delivered. The middle linebacker showed great reflexes and athleticism to change direction and reel in a one-handed interception that careened off of Josh Jacobs’ fingertips. Edmunds came through with good pass defense again in the second half when his coverage didn’t allow Jacobs to reel in a touchdown pass in bounds. The Raiders ultimately settled for a field goal.
The Bears put together a plan to get the ball out of Bagent’s hands quickly, and Bagent executed. He delivered accurate balls that were timed properly with his receivers’ routes. Most importantly he threw balls with anticipation, before receivers were out of their breaks. Those are important benchmarks for a QB to clear in order to prove he can play in the league and Bagent did it all. He also didn’t try to do too much and threw to his checkdowns when needed. Those checkdowns turned into big plays on several occasions. Bagent showed he can create with his legs in addition to his arm with a few effective scrambles to help the offense stay ahead of the chains, or even move the chains in some cases. For the most part, Bagent was reliable. On a few snaps he made splashy throws for chunk gains in big moments. Overall a very, very good first start.
When you enter a game with one career interception over 43 games, then intercept two passes in one game– one of which goes for a pick-six– you’re a no brainer stud. There’s been a lot of talk about Johnson’s future as the trade deadline approaches, mainly because he’s a top flight coverage corner but up to this point hasn’t been able to create takeaways. We’ll see if that conversation changes.
Borom didn’t play terribly, but he struggled the most among an offensive line that generally played pretty well. Borom gave up a few big pressures that forced Bagent to improvise. He got called for a holding when blocking on the backside of a long Darrynton Evans. Borom got flagged for an additional holding, but it looked like a tough call.
TRENTON GILL / PUNT GAME
Gill didn’t get much work since the Bears offense worked effectively throughout the game, but two of his three punts were short. One appeared to be an outright shank that only traveled 30 yards. Gill had one punt go 47 yards, but the Bears allowed DeAndre Carter to return it 18 yards. It was hard to tell first go whether the problem with that latter punt was with the hangtime/distance ratio, or a coverage breakdown. Whatever the reason, the punt game struggled to work effectively on Sunday.