The Bears fought and competed and showed resolve and clawed back to give themselves a chance to win after Justin Fields left Sunday’s games with a hand injury. In the end, their comeback dreams fell a few yards short, and they lost to the Vikings 19-13 at Soldier Field. For a moment, it looked like undrafted free agent rookie Tyson Bagent was on the precipice of starting his career in heroic fashion. Disaster struck on the second drop back of his career when Bagent coughed up the football on a sack and the Vikings managed to scoop and score. But Bagent bounced back and led a touchdown drive to cut the lead to six points. One drive later, Bagent was back at it again, but either an underthrown ball or a miscommunication with DJ Moore led to a game-sealing Vikings interception.
D’ONTA FOREMAN / DARRYNTON EVANS
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Next man up is a mantra you hear constantly in the NFL, but it’s not easy to come in after being inactive for several weeks– or in Evans’ case, from another team entirely– and shoulder a significant load. That’s what each of these guys did, as they split carries for a two-headed running back attack. Both Evans and Foreman showed good traits to churn out extra yards, whether that be with elusiveness or physicality. That helped keep the team in front of the sticks, even though they couldn’t cash in for many points. It also helped them to stay balanced at the end of the game, even though the team was fighting back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Foreman’s fumble wasn’t great, but the Bears were able to recover, so it wasn’t devastating.
The Bears have waited all year for their new linebackers to make a big impact, and they finally got it against the Vikings. Edwards continued to rack up tackles as he has all year, but on Sunday he seemed to miss fewer tackles than usual, too. Edwards was also effective as a blitzer, forcing one short throw on a third-down and getting a strip sack on another that turned into a takeaway for the defense. Edwards could’ve had a huge day if he managed to recover another fumble near the sidelines on a Kirk Cousins backwards pass. He was a moment too late and couldn’t get the ball and stay inbounds at the same time.
Santos remains the most consistent player on the Bears roster. Swirling winds at Soldier Field couldn’t stop him, and he drilled kicks from 22-yards and 53-yards out. Santos hit his one extra-point conversion, too. He’s automatic and could end up being the player most worthy of a contract extension at year’s end. Santos still hasn’t missed a kick this season.
When the Bears moved Whitehair back to center in Week 5, he was fine, and the offensive line as a whole looked much better. In Week 6, some of the poor snap issues that plagued him earlier in his career returned. Whitehair had one snap nearly sail over Justin Fields’ head early in the game, but Fields was able to reel the ball in and salvage a couple of yards with a scramble. In the third quarter it got worse. Whitehair had three bad snaps in a row, which essentially doomed a Bears drive near midfield. The team replaced Whitehair with backup Lucas Patrick on the ensuing drive.
For a couple of weeks, the Bears offense was clicking, but they sputtered again against the Vikings. It’s not fair to blame the offensive coordinator every time the offense doesn’t look good, but there were some questionable moments that Getsy had a hand in. To start, the Bears looked unprepared for Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ exotic pass rush schemes. The Vikings were very successful pressuring both Justin Fields and Tyson Bagent, and in some cases rushers got home unblocked. Third down play calling was suspect at times, like the decision to run out of the shotgun on 3rd-and-7 or pass on 3rd-and-2, twice. The Bears only converted one first down in those instances, and Fields threw an interception on one of those plays. Further, a 4th-and-3 snap in the third quarter seemed to be a tough play for Bagent to execute in his second ever NFL series– unless of course there was a mistake by a wide receiver running the wrong route. Three pass catchers were in the same area at the same time, and Bagent only ended up with a narrow window to get a ball to Tyler Scott. Bagent wasn’t able to thread the needle and the Bears turned the ball over on downs.