Courtney CroninESPN staff writer4 minutes of reading
CHICAGO — A rookie quarterback and backup running back led the Chicago Bears to their first win at Soldier Field in 13 months.
Tyson Baigent, the 23-year-old undrafted free agent filling in for the injured Justin Fields, led a 30-12 win over the Las Vegas Raiders to become the first Bears quarterback to earn his first career start since Craig Krenzel in 2004 Mr.
It was Chicago’s first win at home since September 25, 2022.
Bagent, the Division II Shepherd University product who holds the NCAA record for career touchdown passes (159), sat out a full week as the starter after Fields suffered a sprained thumb against the Minnesota Vikings.
The rookie completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 162 yards and a touchdown (97.2 passer rating) and rushed three times for 24 yards, including a 12-yard scramble on second-and-11 in the third quarter to keep the drive alive alive, led to a touchdown and a 21-3 lead. Baigent didn’t turn the ball over in a clean, efficient game — the Bears were 8 of 13 on third down — to seal Chicago’s second win of the season.
“He took what they gave him,” DJ Moore said of Badgent. “He kept to himself, didn’t go out and do anything out of the ordinary and stayed calm, collected. He did what he had to do.’
The Bears’ game plan didn’t require Baigent to put the weight of the team on his shoulders.
Seven different players caught passes, with Moore leading the way with a team-high eight for 54 yards. Chicago generated its second-highest rushing total of the season (173 yards), led by D’Onta Foreman’s season-best 89 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and two rushing touchdowns.
The Bears’ scoring output was aided by cornerback Jaylen Johnson, who recorded two interceptions, including a 39-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter.
“It was really all about it,” coach Matt Eberfluss said. “We wanted to [Bagent] to have good rhythm, timing, good defense; don’t let 98 [Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby] broke the game. These were all our keys to victory. And distribute the ball to experienced players and when you’re able to run the ball the way we were, they have to get to the line of scrimmage and in some good pass situations for us on offense. Overall, it was a really great effort from the whole group.”
Foreman became the fifth Bears player in the last 60 seasons with two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in one game as he racked up 19 touches Sunday, the most with Chicago.
“I thought D’Onta was out of his mind today,” Bagant said. “… I know he really wanted to come out and play well.”
Injuries in Chicago’s backfield to Khalil Herbert (ankle) and Roshawn Johnson (concussion) have allowed Foreman, who was inactive 2 to 5 weeks, to build into a bigger role over the last two games.
“When he was down and then we activated him, he was the same guy the whole time, and that was pretty cool,” Eberfluss said. “…He knew his opportunity would come. Last week, you know, he wanted to perform better and today he did. So I think he’s just got to start putting performances together and keep that positive, ready attitude like he did.”
Eberfluss said the team will evaluate Fields’ injured thumb Monday to see where things stand.
“He’s going to visit with the doctors,” Eberfluss said. “I know he’s in a great mood. I know he did a great job during the week and he did a great job today working with Tyson on the sideline, talking to him before the game, going through the first 15, all of it But in terms of his health, where he is, all of that, we’ll know more [Monday].”
Baigent praised Fields for helping him prepare for the Raiders all week. The rookie admitted he was nervous until he took to the pitch before the game and marveled at the home crowd, who he described as “off the cuff”.
When asked how many friends and family were in attendance for the win, Baigent joked that his paycheck will probably look different this week. The magnitude of what he accomplished Sunday earned Eberflus a game ball and puts him in rare form as the eighth quarterback to record a win in his first start for the Bears since 1970.
“I have a bunch of friends, a bunch of family that understand how big this was, just really in life,” Bagant said. “Not many people can say they started an NFL game, let alone won an NFL game.”