Can the running game help Bagent?
In his first start, Bagent had the advantage of having his running game protect him. The Bears rushed for 173 yards, more than what Bagent threw (150 yards). For the season, the Bears rank fifth in rushing.
The rushing game was not very good last week, however. Chicago rushed for only 73 yards. However, that had more to do with the fact that the Bears fell behind quickly and by a lot. As a result, they had to throw a lot more than run. That is a big problem for Bagent and the Bears. If he has to air the ball out, they are in trouble.
With Bagent's inability to go deep, he has to dink and dunk. That is fine when the Bears have the lead. Relying on the run game and throwing short passes takes a lot of time off the clock. That helps when you are on top but it hurts when you are behind. We saw with the Raiders how Bagent led long drives to shave time off the clock. Against the Chargers taking time off the clock made it imperative to score. Bagent was unable to do that.
Roschon Johnson came back last week but he did not seem to be at 100 percent. It could have been one of those things in which he felt fine and passed protocol but was still a step behind and felt different when he got hit. Hopefully, he feels better this week and is able to get back on track. His running should give the rushing attack a big boost.
If the defense can do its job and keep the Saints from running away early like the Chargers did, the running game has to help control the clock. If that happens, then the Bears might be able to pull off the upset.