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Rapid Recap: Several young Bears step up vs. Colts

Bears rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent
Bears rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent

INDIANAPOLIS – With the Bears resting their starters, many of their young reserves had plenty of opportunities to impress in Saturday night's preseason game in Indianapolis.

Those who made the most of their chances in a 24-17 loss to the Colts included quarterback Tyson Bagent, running back Roschon Johnson, defensive end Terrell Lewis, linebacker Micah Baskerville, safety Kendall Williamson, quarterback Nathan Peterman and receiver Daurice Fountain.

An undrafted free agent from Shepherd University, Bagent played two series in the second quarter, completing 9 of 10 passes for 76 yards and a 98.3 passer rating while also running for a two-yard touchdown. 

"First of all, he's very smart," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He can whip the plays, rip them off, and he knows it in and out. He can chunk in a lot of information. That's very important as a quarterback to be able to process that. I can see that in the classroom when I'm in there with the quarterbacks."

After replacing P.J. Walker at the outset of the second quarter, Bagent looked like a seasoned veteran on his first possession. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 61 yards before tying the score 7-7 on a 2-yard TD dash on third-and-goal.

Johnson rushed for 32 yards on seven carries and had an 11-yard reception on the 17-play, 92-yard drive that burned 9:25 off the clock.

"That's hard to do, especially in this league, to sustain a drive for that long," Johnson said. "Everybody knows [Bagent] is a confident guy and he's very well-prepared. We had confidence in him, the whole O-line kind of rallied behind him, me running, and we put a good string of plays together."

Lewis registered a strip-sack for the second straight week, racing around right end late in the first half and blindsiding quarterback Sam Ehlinger, forcing a fumble that the Colts recovered. Last Saturday Lewis sacked Titans quarterback Malik Willis, causing a fumble that defensive tackle Zacch Pickens recovered.

"Those are the game-changing plays," Lewis said. "I've been around a lot of great players. It's easy to get a sack, but then when you take it to the next level, I feel like sack/fumbles, those are the ways you impact the game and help your team win and flip the field."

Selected by the Rams in the third round of the 2020 draft out of Alabama, Lewis appeared in 30 games with seven starts over three seasons with Los Angeles, amassing 40 tackles, 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 6.0 sacks. After being waived by the Rams last December, he joined the Bears' practice squad.

Having produced impact plays in each of the first two preseason games, Lewis is seemingly making a strong push not only for a roster spot but for a regular role on defense.

"I think it's just steps," he said. "I don't try to blow it too much out of proportion. I know I've been a starter in this league before, so I just look at it as a preseason game and being able to just continue to work on my craft before we head into Week 1."

Baskerville, an undrafted rookie from LSU, tackled receiver Josh Downs at the Colts' 18 after a 14-yard return of the opening kickoff and later broke up a pass that safety A.J. Thomas nearly intercepted.

Williamson, a rookie seventh-round pick from Stanford, dropped running back Kenyan Drake for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at the Colts' 48 early in the third quarter. The Bears took advantage of the field position, taking a 10-7 lead on Cairo Santos' 50-yard field goal.

Williamson tied for the team lead with five tackles and also registered a tackle on special teams.

Early in the fourth quarter, Peterman rolled to his right and heaved a 35-yard touchdown pass to Fountain, who made a leaping catch over cornerback Darius Rush in the end zone to extend the Bears' lead to 17-7.

"Nate threw a beautiful ball," said Fountain, who led the Bears with five receptions for 86 yards. "I did a little stutter to stop the DB's feet. Nate just threw a beautiful ball right on the money, and I was just blessed to come down with it."

The moment was even sweeter for Fountain because he was selected by the Colts in the fifth round of the 2018 draft out of Northern Iowa and played in six games with Indianapolis over three seasons.

"It's kind of a surreal moment doing this versus my former team," Fountain said. "I still don't believe it. I feel I'm about to wake up and it's going to be a dream. It was just an amazing feeling."

Check out the on-field action as the Bears take on the Colts in Indianapolis during Week 2 of the preseason.

The Colts scored the last 17 points over the game's final 8:38 with two touchdowns and a field goal on their final three drives to turn a 17-7 deficit into a 24-17 win.

Indianapolis had taken a 7-0 lead on Gardner Minshew's 4-yard touchdown pass to receiver Juwann Winfree early in the second quarter. The pass went through rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson's hands in the end zone.

"It was a good ball, thrown pretty hard," Stevenson said. "[I've] just got to do a better effort on my part of shooting my hands up and closing my hands better."

With Justin Fields sitting out with the other first-teamers, Walker started at quarterback and completed 1 of 4 passes for six yards on two series.

After Bagent exited, Peterman connected on 10 of 18 passes for 115 yards with one TD and a 93.5 passer rating. He also rushed for 22 yards on four carries.

The Bears ran for 134 yards on 30 attempts, an average of 4.5 yards per carry. They were led by rookie Robert Burns, who gained 40 yards on eight rushes.

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