INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Bears opened Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers with a bang, as Tyson Bagent scored on a 41-yard strike from Darnell Mooney on the opening play.
The early explosive play moved the Bears into Chargers territory, but it could have been more had the referees not nullified the play when Mooney went down to secure the catch. As Mooney walked onto the turf, Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. passed without touching him. Mooney popped up and ran down the sideline, but the referees stopped play, signaling that Mooney had gone down through contact.
He had not.
“I didn’t think I was down. I felt like I could have scored on that play,” Mooney said afterward the Bears’ 30-13 loss at SoFi Stadium.
“I just made sure I had the ball. I felt like I was getting up quickly. Then I just turned around and started running and then I heard the whistle. I didn’t feel touched at all.” “
Mooney said he didn’t ask for an explanation for the call, but head coach Matt Eberflus said Mooney needed to do a better job of forcing the referees to take a look at the play by sprinting into the end zone to sell the score.
“I told Mooney that he had to stand up and convince,” said Eberflus after the defeat. “If he gets up, leave. That is
What I told Mooney later, he just needs to get up and deal with it and then let her make the decision. Don’t be indecisive. Definitely made a great catch and played really well. But again, I don’t know what the outcome is in terms of what they said.”
Nothing went right for the Bears after the opening explosion against Mooney.
The Bears allowed the Chargers to score on each of their first four possessions, and the offense couldn’t get any traction behind Bagent.
The Bears were sloppy, lacking execution and physicality and were no longer competitive from the second game onwards.
A week after a strong win over the Las Vegas Raiders, Bagent looked overwhelmed against a Chargers defense with NFL tape and how the Bears wanted him to run the offense.
A glaring example came in the second quarter when Bagent dropped back and threw a ball towards DJ Moore on the left sideline, which Ja’Sir Taylor easily intercepted. After the interception, Mooney and Moore spent some time on the sideline discussing what happened on the play.
Mooney explained that the routes he and Moore were supposed to run changed with the coverage. Bagent saw coverage of the snap, while he and Moore identified it as a different look. Bagent believed Moore was struggling, but the Chargers’ coverage encouraged Moore to work his way up.
“DJ saw the coverage, I saw the coverage,” Mooney said. “I guess we were the only ones who kind of saw what was going on. It was a little bit the other way around.”
Bagent confirmed Mooney’s diagnosis after the defeat.
“They have turned around. There was a little misunderstanding between me and you [Moore]said Bagent. “It’s totally up to me. I just have to get out there and continue my progress.”
Nothing went right for the Bears on Sunday in Los Angeles, starting with a bizarre opening play that failed and cost them a touchdown.
Things snowballed from there as Bagent and the Bears were brought back to reality by a humiliating defeat. Maybe Mooney’s goal in the opening game changes the result, maybe not. This would have at least allowed Bagent and the Bears to start from scratch, which would have made life easier for a developmental quarterback with some limitations.
But the referees screwed it up without Mooney protesting. That lack of fight was a portent for the next 60 minutes at SoFi.