As I finished watching the Chicago Bears put the finishing touches on a disastrous 19-13 loss at home to the Minnesota Vikings, I let what I just witnessed soak in and quickly realized the enormity of the series of events.
Future football historians will likely look back on October 15th, 2023, and regard it as a critical juncture in Chicago Bears history. It may very well end up being the most important day of Justin Fields’ Chicago Bears career.
With a record of 1-5 through six weeks of the 2023-24 NFL regular season, the Chicago Bears may not be officially eliminated from playoff contention but their eulogy is certainly being written.
Only 2% of teams who have started 1-5 in NFL history have made the NFL Playoffs and unfortunately, the 2023-24 Chicago Bears do not inspire confidence that they will beat those odds.
The Chicago Bears are in a bad spot after starting the year 1-5 through 6 weeks.
Despite likely missing the playoffs, this season can still be salvaged. With incremental improvement and key player development, the Chicago Bears can position themselves to potentially be true contenders by 2024-25.
These are the five biggest Chicago Bears takeaways from the devastating 19-13 Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon:
1. Tyson Bagent came in and played for the Chicago Bears
While a lengthy Justin Fields’ injury would likely end up defining how history remembers this season’s Chicago Bears, the discourse surrounding Fields will likely pale in comparison to the debate and discussion in the coming days surrounding the debut of Chicago’s undrafted Division II underdog (and offseason sensation), rookie Tyson ‘Secret Agent’ Bagent.
I personally did not want Bagent to have to play this early. While Bagent impressed in the preseason, let’s be honest – it’s the preseason.
With questions surrounding this scheme and the injuries that have ravaged our roster, it did not seem prudent to throw Bagent to the wolves during his rookie year as a project quarterback.
I want to be firm in my stance. I did not, and still do not, believe that Tyson Bagent gives this Chicago Bears team a better chance to win football games than a healthy Justin Fields.
Many fans may debate that he could be the Windy City version of Brock Purdy but the problem with that is Chicago isn’t equipped with the most stacked roster in the league like San Francisco.
That was clear off the bat, as Bagent simply inherited the beating Fields was receiving upon his entry after the injury and was promptly welcomed to the NFL on his first drive after being strip-sacked for a fumble that resulted in a Minnesota Vikings touchdown.
Credit to Bagent though, who eventually began to make some positive plays and turn the tide. During his lone touchdown drive, he played with poise, showed mobility, and threw with accuracy and timing.
He marched the Bears down the field with confidence and was rewarded when his tush was pushed into the endzone for his first NFL touchdown.
His inexperience and smaller size returned to haunt him on the potential game-winning drive when a defensive lineman disrupted his throwing motion, causing an errant rainbow of a pass that was easily intercepted by the Vikings to seal the victory.
It wasn’t really Bagent’s fault, but it did offer an example of the smaller margin of error that he has, by no fault of his own, in comparison to the more physically gifted NFL franchise quarterbacks.
Despite his mistakes, I am confident that Tyson Bagent will grow from the experience he had today and I thought his play was promising. I’m relieved that they have someone with his moxie to stand in during Justin Fields’ absence. Of course, unless that absence is permanent.