Bears rookie Tyson Bagent could have encore performance against Chargers' suspect pass defense

Tyson Bagent generated plenty of headlines in leading the Chicago Bears to a victory in his first NFL start.

The undrafted rookie gets a chance on a prime-time stage to show he is more than a one-game wonder.

Bagent and the Bears travel to Southern California to face the reeling Los Angeles Chargers Sunday night. Chicago (2-5) has won two of three since a 14-game losing streak while Los Angeles (2-4) has dropped two straight.

Bagent — who went 21 of 29 for 162 yards a touchdown in last week's 30-12 win over the Raiders — gets the start again with Justin Fields sidelined due to a dislocated thumb. He will face a Chargers defense ranked last against the pass at 310 yards per game.

“I don’t know (if I’m) looking forward to it. It’s exciting to see that a lot of people are getting to know me, so it is pretty cool in that sense,” Bagent said about playing a Sunday night game. “This week is going to be similar to last week in the sense of the reps I’m getting at practice but other than that, just keeping everything the same.”

Bagent might still be an unknown to most fans after being undrafted out of Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, but Chargers coach Brandon Staley did his share of homework on him leading up to last April's draft.

“To see him have a full start against a quality team, a team that we know, I think gives you a sense of the menu that they are willing to give him,” he said. “Then, I think you get a really good sense of just his overall ability, his athleticism, pocket presence, arm strength, all of that good stuff.”

Bagent did not attempt a pass of over 15 air yards last week, but he did excel in two things the Chargers have struggled to stop. He is very good throwing outside the tackle box on rollouts and plays well against zone coverage.

Chicago has not won two straight since the 2021 regular-season finale, while Los Angeles is looking to avoid its first three-game skid since 2020.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is looking to rebound after struggling in his last two starts, during which he has completed only 58.3% of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Herbert, who is still dealing with a broken middle finger on his left, non-throwing hand, will face a Bears defense that is allowing the league's fourth-most passing yards at 257.1 per game.

“I think there’s a lot of things that we can get better at. We’ve missed some opportunities. I’ve missed some opportunities. It starts with us getting better and understanding that we’re in this position," Herbert said.


The Bears have gone with six different combinations on their offensive line. And it looks like things could be in flux again.

That’s because right tackle Darnell Wright missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury that he tried to play through last week as well as a toe issue. Chicago also opened the 21-day window on Wednesday for starting left tackle Braxton Jones (neck) to return from injured reserve.

The line actually had one of its best performances last week, giving up just two sacks after allowing 25 in the first six games. The Bears had Cody Whitehair at left guard after Lucas Patrick replaced him at center during the Week 6 loss to Minnesota and moved Teven Jenkins to right guard from the left side.

If they stuck with that arrangement, they could have more juggling to do when right guard Nate Davis — out for the second week in a row — returns from a high ankle sprain.


Linebacker Khalil Mack faces the Bears for the first time since he was traded to the Chargers last March. The last time Mack faced one of his former teams who was starting a rookie quarterback, he set a franchise record for sacks in a game.

Mack spent four seasons with the Bears (2018-21). He is tied for the fourth-most sacks in the league with seven, and had six against Aidan O’Connell and the Raiders on Oct. 1.

Mack's best route to Bagent might be through left tackle Larry Borom. According to the NFL's Next Gen Stats, Borom is allowing the highest pressure rate among tackles at 18.7%.


Bears running back D’Onta Foreman is taking advantage of his opportunity with Khalil Herbert (ankle) on injured reserve and rookie Roschon Johnson (concussion) sidelined the past two games.

The sixth-year pro ran for 89 yards on 16 attempts last week and tied a career high with three touchdowns — his first as a member of the Bears. He ran for two and a caught a TD pass.

Foreman, who signed with Chicago in the offseason, had 65 yards on 15 carries against Minnesota.


The Chargers rushed for 139 yards last week, their best performance since having a league-best 234 yards in the opener. In their last five games, the Bolts are averaging 87.6 yards per game, which is eighth-worst in the league.

Staley was pleased with the way the ground game performed in the first half, which included a career-long, 49-yard touchdown by Joshua Kelley in the second quarter.

Chicago is fifth in the league in rushing defense, allowing 82.3 yards per game. It has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in eight straight games dating to last season.


AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.