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Rookie Tyson Bagent leads Bears to win in first career start

A rookie quarterback and backup running back led the Chicago Bears to their first win at Soldier Field in 13 months.

Tyson Bagent, the 23-year-old undrafted free agent playing in place of an injured Justin Fields, led a 30-12 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders to become the first Bears quarterback to win his first career start since Craig Krenzel in 2004.

It was Chicago’s first win at home since Sept. 25, 2022.

Bagent, the Division II product from Shepherd University who holds the NCAA record for career touchdown passes (159), prepared all week as the starter after Fields suffered a dislocated 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 a second-and-11 in the third quarter to keep a drive alive that led to a touchdown and a 21-3 lead. Bagent did not turn the ball over in a clean, efficient performance — the Bears were 8-of-13 on third down — to cement Chicago’s second win of the season.

“He took what they were giving him,” wide receiver DJ Moore said of Bagent. “He stayed within himself, he didn’t go out and do nothing extraordinary and he stayed calm, collected. Did what he had to do.”

The Bears’ game plan didn’t require Bagent to put the weight of the team on his shoulders.

Seven different players caught passes, with Moore leading with a team-high eight for 54 yards. Chicago generated its second-highest rushing output 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 Jaylon Johnson, who recorded two interceptions, including a 39-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter.

Foreman became the fifth Bears player in the past 60 seasons with two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in a single game as he racked up 19 touches on Sunday, his most with Chicago.

“I thought D’Onta played out of his mind today,” Bagent said. “… I know he was itching to get out there and have a good game.”

Injuries in Chicago’s backfield to Khalil Herbert (ankle) and Roschon Johnson (concussion) have allowed Foreman, who was inactive Weeks 2 through 5, to carve out a bigger role over the past two games.

Eberflus said the team would evaluate Fields’ injured thumb on Monday to see where things stand.

Bagent praised Fields for his help in preparing for the Raiders throughout the week. The rookie admitted he felt nervous until he took the field pregame and marveled at a home crowd he dubbed “off the chain.”

When asked how many friends and family he had in attendance for the win, Bagent joked that his paycheck would likely look different this week. The magnitude of what he accomplished Sunday earned a game ball from Eberflus and puts him in rarified air as the eighth quarterback to record a win in his first Bears start since 1970.

“I’ve got a bunch of friends, a bunch of family that understand how big this was, just really in life,” Bagent said. “Not a lot of people get to say they started an NFL game, let alone win an NFL game.”