The ridiculous nine sacks that the Chicago Bears gave up in week three against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns is going to keep this season’s Sackwatch skewed for some time. The Bears aren’t allowing the most sacks this year — so far they’re tied for second at 18 with the Jets — but no team has been sacked at a higher rate than the Bears have this season at 12.9%.
For a little perspective, last season’s sack percentage was 5.5, which was the lowest the Bears have had since 2016 when it was 4.8%, and this year’s percentage is higher than the 10.7 the Bears allowed in Mike Martz’s first year as the offensive coordinator.
Now that the Bears have committed to rookie Justin Fields as the starting quarterback it also appears that they’ve committed to a run heavy game plan. The Bears are only one of three teams that have run the ball more than they’ve passed this season, and no team has a higher run/pass ratio than the Bears the last two weeks.
Here’s where the Sackwatch has been after 5 games:
2010 - 21 Martz
2011 - 18 Martz
2012 - 14 Tice
2013 - 9 Trestman
2014 - 12 Trestman
2015 - 11 Gase
2016 - 11 Loggains
2017 - 9 Loggains
2018 - 12 Nagy
2019 - 13 Nagy
2020 - 11 Nagy
2021 - 18 Nagy
And now lets get to what happened against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Sack 17 - 2nd Quarter 6:39 - Yannick Ngakoue
This one was tough to watch live, it was even tougher to watch on the CBS replay, so I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it again in GIF form, but here we go.
I don’t like how right tackle Germain Ifedi gave up his inside gap so quickly, but luckily running back Kahlil Herbert was there to slow Yannick Ngakoue down. But then unluckily for Ifedi he lost his balance and was in no position to take advantage of Herbert’s help.
Fields felt the pressure and took off to his right, and he was poised to lob it to Herbert after he released upfield, but a heads up play from defensive tackle Darius Philon (#96) took away Fields’ passing lane. Fields had already turned his body to throw, so he was in no position to escape the hard charging Ngakoue.
Ifedi losing to the inside was a bad start, then his stumble really opened the door to the pressure, so I’m pinning this one on him. Fields was out of the pocket and a simple chuck out of bounds could have saved the Bears the sack and the loss of yards, but when he pulled the ball back down to avoid Philon he was in too awkward a position to set and throw again.
Sack 18 - 2nd Quarter :13 - Yannick Ngakoue
The Bears were out of timeouts, so they only had time for a quick hitter to the sidelines to get in position for a long field goal. They lined up with trips right, and appeared to have schemed tight end Jimmy Graham open on an out route to give Cairo Santos a shot at a 55 yarder. I’m not sure how Fields was coached on this play, or what he was thinking, but it looks to me like he took too many steps on his drop. The timing of Graham’s break should coincide with the drop back, so the ball should be on the way out as Graham breaks to the sideline.
A three step drop, instead of the five he took, could have given him the time to fire the ball to Graham. A three step drop also puts him in front of the “S” in RAIDERS, which would mean that Ngakoue would have been pushed behind him.
The only play that makes any sense in this situation is the quick strike to the sideline, so based on the timing of Graham’s route, the time left on the clock, and where Jason Peters pushed Ngakoue, I’m going to give this one to the rookie QB.
Here’s the individual 2021 Sackwatch tally after 5 weeks:
Jason Peters - 4
Justin Fields - 4
Germain Ifedi - 3
Sacks happen - 2.5
Cody Whitehair - 2
James Daniels - 1.5
Sam Mustipher - .5
Cole Kmet - .5