Five turnovers doomed the Chicago Bears in their 24-17 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Caesars Superdome.
Rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, and wide receiver DJ Moore also lost a fumble as the Bears lost their seventh straight game in the Superdome in 1991.
The Saints scored 10 points after the turnovers. They failed to capitalize on two second-half picks, but the takeaways still helped the Bears’ offense score a field goal in the second half. The Bears defense didn’t get a takeaway.
Bagent completed 18 of 30 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 70 yards on eight carries. Paulson Adebo had two of the Saints interceptions and Marcus Maye had the other.
With the Saints leading 24-17 with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game, Saints kicker Blake Grupe missed a 47-yard field goal attempt off the left upright to give the Bears a chance to tie.
But Demario Davis got a strip sack from Bagent on the next drive and Saints linebacker Pete Werner recovered.
The Bears and Saints entered halftime tied at 14 points, and both of the Bears’ touchdowns came on passes from Bagent to tight end Cole Kmet.
After multiple field goals in the second half, Taysom Hill’s 3-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Juwan Johnson in the back of the end zone gave the Saints the lead for good, 24-17, with 11:05 left in the fourth half Quarter.
The Saints took a 17-14 lead on Grupe’s 55-yard field goal with 11:43 left in the third quarter.
After the Bears defense forced a three-pointer on the first drive of the second half, Moore caught an 11-yard pass from Bagent and then fumbled. Adebo forced the fumble and recovered it.
The Saints advanced just 2 yards on the next three plays and settled for the field goal.
Cairo Santos hit a 31-yard field goal on the Bears’ next drive to tie the score at 17. Late in the first half, Santos missed a 40-yard attempt at the right post.
Bagent threw Maye’s second interception of the fourth quarter off a pass to Darnell Mooney at the Bears 38.
The Bears defense stopped Saints quarterback Derek Carr on the ensuing drive on fourth-and-1 at the Bears 17, but Adebo intercepted Bagent on the Bears’ next drive.
This is how the game developed.
Bears left tackle Braxton Jones will be active on Sunday for the first time since September 17 against the Saints.
On Saturday, the Bears activated Jones from injured reserve after he missed six games with a neck injury.
Bears safety Eddie Jackson is also active and expected to play after sitting out last week’s game despite being active.
As expected, quarterback Justin Fields will not play as he continues to recover from a thumb injury. Fields practiced Friday for the first time since his injury and the Bears listed him as questionable for the game. Rookie Tyson Bagent will start his third straight game in Fields’ place.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (knee), safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion), right guard Nate Davis (ankle), cornerback Terell Smith (mononucleosis) and defensive end Dominique Robinson (healthy scratch) are also inactive.
The Saints have tight end Jimmy Graham, quarterback Jake Haener, wide receiver Keith Kirkwood, defensive end Kyle Phillips, guard Nick Saldiveri and linebacker Ty Summers inactive.
Halftime: Bears get 2 Bagent-to-Kmet TDs for a 14-14 tie
Tyson Bagent and Cole Kmet scored two touchdowns in the first half to lead the Bears to a 14-14 halftime tie with the Saints at Caesars Superdome on Sunday.
Bagent completed 10 of 13 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and rushed for 60 yards on six carries. Darnell Mooney had four catches for 70 yards.
The Bears had a chance to take the lead in the final minute of the half, but kicker Cairo Santos missed his first field goal of the season. The 40-yard attempt bounced off the right upright.
Santos, who went to school at Tulane in New Orleans, had made all 11 of his field goal attempts early in the game.
Kmet made an impressive 18-yard touchdown catch while being heavily covered by Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu to open the scoring.
Bagent was under pressure as he launched the ball to the right side of the end zone, where Kmet dove and passed Mathieu to give the Bears a 7-0 lead. Bagent completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards on the drive and ran for 5 yards on fourth-and-1.
Bagent made some big plays on the Bears’ second drive, including a 20-yard run up the middle, but he threw an interception to Paulson Adebo that gave the Saints the ball at the Bears’ 45-yard line.
Ten plays later, the Saints scored on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Chris Olave on third down, tying the score at 7-7. Olave pushed in front of nickelback Kyler Gordon to intercept the pass.
Bagent and Kmet scored for their second touchdown, a 9-yarder, to give the Bears a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Bears started this drive with a 37-yard catch by Mooney, who caught a short pass from Bagent and fended off three Saints defenders for the big gain.
Later in the drive, on third-and-12 from the 21, Bagent ran for 12 yards. It was originally scored before the first-down marker, but the Bears successfully challenged that point.
The Saints offset Carr’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Taysom Hill with 6:05 left in the second quarter. It was Carr’s third completion on third down during the 11-play, 75-yard drive.
Bears fullback Khari Blasingame left the team early in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Catch up on the rest of our coverage.
When will Justin Fields be QB1 again?
Bears quarterback Justin Fields practiced Friday afternoon for the first time since dislocating the thumb on his right throwing hand during the Oct. 15 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Fields said at his locker after practice that his grip strength hadn’t fully returned and he was still in a little pain from participating in a limited capacity.
As he and the Bears consider when he can return, Fields said he needs to see “if I’m going to be able to make all the throws and take hits and stuff like that during the game.” Read more here.
Can Montez Sweat be an “eraser” for Bears?
It will take a lot of Montez Sweat to make the same impression that Khalil Mack had in his first game with the Bears and Julius Peppers before him.
But Ryan Poles dreamed big when he became the only general manager of a team with a losing record to act as a buyer at Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Poles is betting on Sweat to be a difference-maker in the coming seasons and used the term “eraser” when speaking Wednesday about the need to add elite players to the roster after Sweat passed his physical exam and traded a draft pick. 2024 second round picks had passed The Commanders were finalized. Read more here.
How to weigh the embarrassments against the triumphs
If there’s substance to what those in charge at Halas Hall are selling, perhaps the Chicago Bears really could be poised to move toward meaningful progress.
If coach Matt Eberflus, like Bears general manager Ryan Poles, is the right leader in this moment, a head-down grinder with high integrity and a knack for unity, then the Bears can come through another rocky week and emerge stronger emerge.
“I know it looks like we’re a long way away,” Poles said Wednesday. “But this guy comes in every day and just keeps giving.”
If so, November should be as defining as any other phase the Bears face. The halfway point of the season will officially be reached on halftime Sunday in the Superdome, and the Bears will end up there with as many departed assistant coaches from Eberflus’ staff (two) as they have wins. Read more here.
Did you miss anything this week? Catch up on all of our coverage.