Can the defense have another big performance?
The Chicago Bears defense has taken a beating over the last couple of seasons. People are used to seeing a defense that devours its opponents. That has not been happening. Teams have run over them and completed a ton of passes.
The defense has steadily gotten better now that head coach Matt Eberflus has taken over. They are flying to the ball and covering receivers like a blanket. Additionally, the opponents' running game has been nonexistent. In the past three games, they allowed a combined total of 114 rushing yards and a 2.5-yard-per-carry average. After ranking 31st in rushing defense last season, the Bears rank eighth this season.
The Chargers are a decent running team. They rank 16th in yards and 11th in touchdowns. They have Austin Ekeler, who has been a very good running back. He registered 1,826 yards and 25 touchdowns over the past two seasons. However, this season he has just 189 yards and a lone touchdown in three games. In fact,
Joshua Kelly is Los Angeles' leading rusher with 284 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Can Bagent have a repeat performance in his second start?
Last week, the Bears were without starting quarterback Justin Fields, because of a dislocated thumb. However, rookie Tyson Bagent stepped up and led the offense to three touchdown drives and one that led to a field goal. He wasn't spectacular, but did everything the coaches asked of him.
Bagent went 21/29 for 162 yards and one touchdown. He added 24 rushing yards on 3 carries.
The one thing Bagent does not lack is confidence. He told the coaches that they did not have to restrict the playbook because he knew the complete playbook. He is a hard-working player and knowing the playbook backward and forward is crucial. He does not have all the talent that most NFL quarterbacks have so he has to play a smart game more than a physical game. That is what helped him last week.
That confidence will help Bagent. He feels he can do whatever he wants on the field. Yes, he was not asked to do a lot last week. What he did do, though, he did well. The question is what he can do if he has to do more. Sure, you can dink and dunk when you have the lead.
However, if the team is down, especially late in the game, can he throw downfield and get big chunks of yards? His style of play does not lend to making comebacks. The team has to be ahead so his play can kill the clock and keep the opponent's offense on the bench. We will see what happens under the lights an in front of a primetime audience.