Plenty of attention this week went to undrafted rookie free agent Tyson Bagent. A product of Division-II Shepherd University, Bagent went from playing against a list of schools most Bears fans had probably never heard of before becoming enamored with the passer.
Tyson Bagent Earns 4th-Highest PFF Grade for Bears’ QBs in 2023
1) Tyson Bagent Notches Solid Grade
Bagent finished the Week 7 win over the Las Vegas Raiders completing 21-of-29 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. He finished with the third-highest completion percentage by an undrafted free agent quarterback in the modern-draft era, per NFL Communications via Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic.
He also ran the ball three times for a total of 24 yards.
Bagent received a 66.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. That is the fourth-highest mark by a Bears quarterback this season.
It ranks behind Fields’ performances in (in order) Week 4, Week 3, and Week 5. It was a solid start for Bagent, all things considered, and exactly what his Bears teammates expected of him with DJ Moore noting the youngster looked like a professional quarterback after the game.
Teven Jenkins noted that Bagent “impressed” him by changing up the cadences at the line of scrimmage. And there were also examples of the rookie adjusting his arm angle to get the ball out on time. That was his best skill by far on Sunday, though Bagent retorted quickly when asked about being pulled in favor of Nathan Peterman for a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.
“I got a cannon,” Bagent said.
Bagent handled the rare occasions the Raiders blitzed well, completing 66.7% of his passes. He did naturally struggle with pressure, though, completing 28.6% of his passes.
It was not a significant issue against the Raiders. They only got pressure on him on 31.1% of his dropbacks despite having a veritable game-wrecker in Maxx Crosby. It could still be something to keep an eye on in the future as Bagent gains more experience.
2) Bears Backfield Steps Up
Bagent also got a big day from his backfield, namely fellow-fill-in, D’Onta Foreman, who rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and received a grade of 70.6 for the day. That isn’t even his best grade of the season but the production obviously is. Foreman was also on the receiving end of Bagent’s first passing touchdown in his career.
Foreman caught three passes for 31 yards and the score, delivering on his assertion from the offseason that catching passes is second nature to him.
Have a day, @D33_foreman 🔥
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 22, 2023
It was not just Foreman, either.
Darrynton Evans received an even higher grade (72.2). He did receive the first carry of the game and finished with a slightly higher pass-blocking grade than Foreman. But Evans also tallied 48 yards on his 14 carries and gained six yards on his lone reception.
3) Reshuffled O-Line Pays Dividends
The Bears had to reshuffle their offense line yet again with Nate Davis suffering an ankle injury in Week 5. Instead of replacing him with Ja’Tyre Carter who filled in for him during previous absences, the Bears flipped Jenkins back to the right side and moved Cody Whitehair back to left guard.
The results were clear in the rushing success.
They were not great in pass protection, posting their second-lowest grade of the season. But their rushing grade was their third-best, and the alignment may have played a part. Foreman averaged 6.9 yards per carry rushing to the right side of the line.
That number dropped to 4.2 yards per tote when he tried the left side of the line. It’s far from definitive but is another thing to watch going forward.
4) Jaylon Johnson Sparks Strong Day for Secondary
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson picked Raiders quarterback Brian Hoyer two times, returning one of them for a touchdown. His 87.0 grade in coverage was not just the highest on either team, it is the second-highest coverage grade of any Bears defender this season. The top spot also belongs to Johnso who earned a 90.0 in Week 3 versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
He let it be known after the game that he believes he deserves to be paid like a top corner, a notion supported by teammate Jaquan Brisker.
Rookie Tyrique Stevenson was targeted a whopping 17 times in coverage. Stevenson allowed just 10 of them to be completed (58.8%) but was dinged for allowing 78 yards and a touchdown. He admitted after the game that he could have played cleaner.
Fellow corner Kyler Gordon allowed 80% of the passes he faced to be completed. Because he gave up just 27 yards and zero scores, however, he finished with a 67.1 grade compared to 44.9 for Stevenson.
Jaquan Brisker also graded out well, receiving a 77.6.