Tyson Bagent was proud of the way he and the rest of the Bears offense operated for three quarters in the Superdome.
“I thought we managed that well and took advantage of a lot of things,” Bagent said.
They did. Bagent was sharp and found open receivers. He was elusive and athletic, and helped the offense both move down the field and score. Through three quarters the Bears played very well and went into the final period deadlocked with the Saints, 17-17. The team had a real shot to grind out a surprising road win in a hostile environment, but things fell apart over the last 15 minutes of the game.
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“Really it all comes down to myself in that last quarter,” Bagent said. “Being able to do a better job of taking care of the ball. Coach talks about it every single day, how important it is to take care of the ball and I didn’t do a good job of it.”
Bagent threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, and lost a fumble.
“Basically, that’s just me,” Bagent said.
The Saints defense did well to capitalize on Bagent’s mistakes, but Bagent did make mistakes all the same. One interception was a ball that Bagent threw a little late. Another was thrown behind his intended receiver. He lost the fumble after reaching the back of his drop, then dancing up into the pocket. Bagent never sensed the defender bearing down on him from his blindside.
“Good on their part. Bad on my part.
“Tight coverage and they made a couple of good plays so hats off to them, but once again, I gotta probably go somewhere else with the ball. That’s on me.”
Bagent was especially down on himself because the team had so many chances to win the game, despite the numerous errors. The Bears had five drives to either take the lead or tie the game in the fourth quarter. Three of them ended in a Bagent turnover. The other two were three-and-outs.
“I thought our team played extremely, which is why it’s so embarrassing,” Bagent said. “One score game, but lose the turnover battle by that amount, it’s embarrassing. It’s part of the game and I’m just looking forward to building and learning from this experience.”
Justin Fields improved enough from his dislocated thumb injury to practice in a limited fashion on Friday. If he continues to progress the Bears have spoken hopefully about the chance for Fields to play again this Thursday against the Panthers. If he does, Bagent will obviously go back to the bench, but he’ll do so with tons of valuable experience to learn from as he said.