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Sweat makes Bears debut after inking new deal

Bears defensive end Montez Sweat
Bears defensive end Montez Sweat

NEW ORLEANS – Acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Commanders, defensive end Montez Sweat made his Bears debut in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Saints.

"He looked good," said coach Matt Eberflus. "I thought he had a couple good pressures. He's getting his feet wet. Different style of defense, a little bit different terminology, so for him to come in and play that many plays, it was cool."

Wearing No. 98, Sweat played in his first game with the Bears one day after signing a four-year contract extension through the 2027 season.

"Ryan [Poles] and his staff did an awesome job of getting that done in a timely fashion," Eberflus said. "We're excited. When you add a pass rusher to your defense and to your franchise, that's a big deal for us going into the future."

Fields update: The Bears have a short week, hosting the Panthers Thursday night at Soldier Field, but they're not ruling out starting Justin Fields against Carolina. The third-year pro was inactive for the third straight game Sunday with a dislocated right thumb he sustained Oct. 15 versus the Vikings.

"He's day-to-day," Eberflus said. "We'll find out more [Monday] and we'll see where he is. He started throwing [Friday], which is a positive, and we'll see where it is in terms of his functionality."

On the run: Quarterback Tyson Bagent rushed for 70 yards on eight carries Sunday in New Orleans, including 60 yards on six attempts in the first half.

"He had some really nice plays," Eberflus said. "It wasn't just the quarterback scrambles. There was a disconnect from the runner a couple times where it kept the ball [on read options], and that was cool to see him on the edge there."

Bagent had a 20-yard scramble in the first quarter and ran for 12 yards on third-and-12 from the Saints' 21 in the second period, sustaining a drive that resulted in a touchdown that put the Bears ahead 14-7.

On his 12-yard run, Bagent was initially ruled short of the first down and the Bears sent their field-goal team out on the field. But Eberflus challenged the call, and after a replay review, the Bears were awarded a first down.

Welcome back: Left tackle Braxton Jones returned to start after missing the previous six games with a neck injury he sustained in a Week 2 loss in Tampa. The second-year pro was activated off injured reserve Saturday.

With Jones joining left guard Cody Whitehair, center Lucas Patrick, right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Darnell Wright, the Bears started their seventh different offensive line combination in nine games this season.

On the shelf: In addition to Fields, other Bears who were unable to play Sunday were right guard Nate Davis (ankle), middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (knee), cornerback Terell Smith (illness) and safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion). Defensive end Dominique Robinson was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

Fullback Khari Blasingame exited Sunday's contest early in the second quarter after sustaining a concussion while blocking on a D'Onta Foreman run.

"We'll see where this goes for this week," Eberflus said, "but obviously it's going to be tough to get back there for [Blasingame to play Thursday night against the Panthers]. I just hope he's OK and he's doing fine."

Tale of two halves: After allowing the Saints to convert 6-of-7 third downs in the first half, the Bears held New Orleans to 1-of-7 on third down in the second half.

"[In the first half], we were playing the run great, we were tackling good," Eberflus said. "We were doing all of those things well. The only thing they had on the plus-side was the third downs. That's what we needed to get corrected, and we made the adjustment and they did a nice job."

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