It’s funny how situations have a way of changing one’s perspective of time.
For instance, while preparing for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend, the three hours we had to get our house ready for company seemed like three minutes to my wife and me.
There just wasn’t enough of it.
But to my excited daughter, it must’ve felt more like three days until the start of her party.
There was too much of it.
As it pertains to the Bears, following their Thursday night victory over the Commanders last week, the 10 days that followed it seemed like an eternity as we excitedly awaited the next chapter of a developing offense.
But after their miserable, 19-13 defeat to the division rival Vikings on Sunday, that 10 days in hindsight seemed more like 10 minutes as Bears fans were left wondering, “how did that offensive promise fall apart so quickly?”
The hope and anticipation that most Bears fans felt following two straight great performances from Justin Fields quickly came crashing down against the Vikings. Two of their five first-half drives resulted in 7 yards and two punts. One of their drives resulted in an interception after Fields’ arm got hit and his throw floated in the air to be picked off by a linebacker. And the other two drives were semi-successful as they ended with field goals.
Six points, however, is just not good enough for a half of football.
On the first drive of the second half, Fields got sacked from behind after holding the football for far too long. He injured his thumb on the play and left the game, never to return.
Exit Fields, enter Tyson Bagent, the “Great, Undrafted Division II Hope.”
Many fans have been calling for Bagent since Week 1 — since, ya know, the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and Bagent did so well against reserve defenders in the preseason. But his second-half performance against the Vikings proved why an undrafted rookie quarterback from a small school isn’t exactly ready to play at a moment’s notice.
On Bagent’s third play from scrimmage, he was sacked from behind and had the ball stripped from his grasp. The Vikings scooped up the fumble and took it to the house for a touchdown, giving them a 19-6 lead.
Give kudos to the Bears for not completely imploding at that point, knowing they hadn’t played well offensively and that Fields, their captain and leader, was out for the game.
After the teams traded punts and unsuccessful drives, Bagent led the offense on a 9-play, 77-yard drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter. He completed mostly shallow passes as he took what the defense gave him. The Vikings normally send heavy pressure, anyway, but they cranked it up given that an inexperienced signal caller was in the game.
On second and goal at the one-yard line, Cole Kmet came in motion, Bagent took the snap when Kmet was behind him, and Kmet helped push the rookie into the end zone to bring the score to 19-13.
The Bears defense did its job — as it did for most of the game — and held the Vikings offense to a three-and-out on the next possession. This set up Bagent for one last chance to drive the offense down the field and perhaps take the lead.
After moving the offense 41 yards on 8 plays, Bagent horribly underthrew DJ Moore down the left sideline, which was picked off to effectively end the game.
The Bears defense held Minnesota to just 12 points — obviously not counting the 7 points from the Bagent fumble, which wasn’t their fault. That’s good football. That’s winning football.
So, clearly, the bulk of the blame for Sunday’s blunder lies with the offense. Fields did not play well enough, the offensive line was not good enough at picking up pressure, and I’m sure a fair amount of blame rests with the offensive coaching staff as well.
X-rays on Fields’ thumb after the game were negative, but Matt Eberflus reported on Monday that Fields is “doubtful” for the Raiders game next week. That sounded positive at face value, since a player with a major injury would likely be declared out immediately. However, he also said there is no timetable for Fields’ return, which is clearly a negative.
Until further notice, this looks like the Tyson Bagent show. Which also means this looks like the Bears are back in contention for the first overall pick in next year’s draft. They own the Carolina Panthers’ first round pick as well, and the Panthers dropped to 0-6 this week.
So, for Bears fans looking for any kind of ray of sunshine on this otherwise cloudy day — season, or even decade-plus of football — it could be that the Bears might possess two very high first-round picks next year. And if you’re low on Fields and don’t think he’s the answer, one of those picks could be used on a quarterback.