LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears went from a feel-good story to an all-too-familiar feeling.
They're back to picking themselves up from a loss after getting dominated by the Los Angeles Chargers in a 30-13 loss Sunday night.
They'll try to do just that when they visit the New Orleans Saints this week.
Coach Matt Eberflus said Justin Fields will miss his third consecutive game because of a dislocated right thumb and rookie Tyson Bagent will start again in his place. Eberflus said Fields remains “week to week” but is “improving.” He wouldn't say if Fields has started trying to grip a ball or throw it.
“He’s progressing, I can just say that,” Eberflus said. “I’m not gonna get into particulars, but he is progressing. We like where it is right now.”
The Bears (2-6) aren't in a good place.
They came in having won two of three games after losing 14 in a row. But the effort that carried them to victories at Washington and over the Las Vegas Raiders was not easy to see.
They struggled on offense and defense. Bagent, the undrafted rookie out of Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia who came through with a steady performance against the Raiders, was shaky in his second start for the injured Fields. And the Chargers simply buried Chicago, scoring on their first five possessions.
“I know the effort’s there," Eberflus said Monday. "I know the intensity’s there. You could see that.”
Nothing. It's hard to say the Bears had anything working for them, considering how poorly the offense and defense performed against the Chargers. Special teams didn't do much, either.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass rush. The Bears gave Justin Herbert all the time he needed. Nothing unusual about that for this team.
Chicago came in with by far a league-low 10 sacks and ended the night stuck on that number. Herbert carved up one of the NFL's worst pass defenses, finishing 31 of 40 for 298 yards and three touchdowns. No other team had fewer than 15 sacks through Sunday's games, and the Baltimore Ravens led the league with 31.
This isn't new for Chicago. The Bears had a league-worst 20 sacks last season, the fewest for Chicago since the 2003 team finished with 18.
Bagent. He threw for 232 yards with two interceptions and 62 passer rating.
So why is he listed here?
Well, it's hard to find positives for the Bears in this game. Beyond that, Bagent has shown in his two starts he might at least have the potential to be a backup in the NFL. That's no small accomplishment, particularly for an undrafted rookie from a Division II school.
Bagent is 56 of 80 for 477 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a 73.8 passer rating since Fields was injured in the third quarter of a Week 6 loss to Minnesota. And the Bears are 1-1 in his starts.
WR Velus Jones Jr. Though he has made a few splashy plays since the Bears drafted him in the third round last year, Jones' two seasons have been marked by mistakes and rough moments on offense and returns. Jones had another when he dropped what would have been a 40-yard touchdown against the Chargers. He slipped and fell on his rear while he slowed down for Bagent’s underthrown pass. Even so, he had no defenders near him when the ball fell straight through his arms, hit his chest and landed on the end zone turf.
S Jaquan Brisker entered the concussion protocol Monday after missing the game. He was hurt in the Week 7 win over Las Vegas and medical personnel determined at the time that he did not have a concussion. Brisker developed a fever Tuesday and continued to feel “a little bit off," Eberflus said, after the illness subsided late in the week. He was tested Monday and entered the concussion protocol. ... S Eddie Jackson (foot) was active, but did not play for the fifth time in six weeks. ... LB Tremaine Edwards (knee) exited in the third quarter.
1 — The Bears had just one play of at least 20 yards — a 41-yard completion to Darnell Mooney on the game's first play from scrimmage.
2.9 — Yards per carry for the Bears, who finished with 73 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
New Orleans has won seven in a row against Chicago — most recently, a 2020 wild-card victory at the Superdome.
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