Undrafted Tyson Bagent will look to guide the Chicago Bears to their second straight victory when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night.
Bagent, a product of Division II Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., started last week in place of Justin Fields (right thumb) and completed 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in Chicago’s 30-12 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
The 23-year-old didn’t mince words on Wednesday when addressing just what that start meant to him.
“Everything,” he said. “Everybody knows coming from where I come from, both the division I came from, kind of how I grew up with not a whole lot of football resources around me. It felt good to be able to just have hard work be rewarded.”
The Bears (2-5) have won two of their past three contests following a 14-game skid that dated to last season.
Given the team’s recent success, perhaps it’s no surprise that Bagent said he’d like to keep his same practice habits going into the prime-time game against the Chargers (2-4).
“I just like to keep it as similar as possible,” he said. “This week is going to be similar to last week in the sense of the reps that I’m getting in practice. But other than that, just keep everything the same.”
Chicago left tackle Braxton Jones returned to practice Wednesday in what could be positive news for Bagent as he prepares to face a pass rush led by Joey Bosa and former Bears linebacker Khalil Mack.
Jones (neck) joined fellow offensive lineman Dan Feeney (knee) and defensive back Eddie Jackson (foot) in being limited in practice on Wednesday. Fields, offensive linemen Nate Davis (ankle) and Darnell Wright (shoulder, toe) and defensive backs Jaquan Brisker (illness) and Terell Smith (illness) did not participate at all.
Bears running back D’Onta Foreman responded to four weeks of being a healthy scratch earlier in the season by putting his best foot forward after being promoted to a starting role due to injuries to Khalil Herbert, rookie Roschon Johnson and Travis Homer. Foreman recorded three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) last week against the Raiders.
Johnson, who is dealing with a concussion, was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
The Chargers have been extremely generous on defense, allowing an NFL-worst 310 passing yards per game and a league second-worst 406.8 total yards per contest.
Los Angeles traditionally relies on Justin Herbert, but the strong-armed quarterback has struggled since he sustained a fractured finger on his left hand in Week 4.
Herbert has passed for just 653 yards and tossed four interceptions in his past three games, including a 17-for-30 performance for 259 yards with a touchdown and two picks in a 31-17 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The loss was the second in a row for the Chargers.
“It’s tough. It’s the NFL, and that’s the tough part about it,” Herbert said. “But you have to keep answering, you have to keep fighting. No one in the locker room is down. No one is worried or panicking. We have to get this thing going, and we know we have the guys to get it done.”
One of those guys is Keenan Allen, who leads the team in catches (46), receiving yards (574) and receiving touchdowns (four). Fellow wideout Joshua Palmer produced a career-high 133 receiving yards last week vs. the Chiefs, but a knee ailment caused him to join tight end Gerald Everett (hip) in failing to participate in practice on Wednesday.
Los Angeles will look to take advantage of a struggling Chicago defense. The Bears are yielding 257.1 yards per game through the air, fourth worst in the NFL, and 26.9 points per contest, fifth worst.