Four more sacks allowed by the Chicago Bears on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, which increases their league leading number to 30 this season. Those four sacks also means the Bears are holding steady in allowing a sack on 12.6% of all their pass attempts, which also leads the league.
Bears rookie Justin Fields has been dropped 26 times through Chicago’s first 8 games, so I don’t think he’ll get close to the most sacked ever record of 76 in a season held by David Carr, but there is a chance he ends up being sacked more than any Chicago QB in one season. The current record is 52 by Jay Cutler in 2010, and with the new 17 game season Fields and Chicago’s offense could get there.
Here’s how the Sackwatch has gone historically after 8 games:
2010 - 32 Martz
2011 - 21 Martz
2012 - 28 Tice
2013 - 12 Trestman
2014 - 20 Trestman
2015 - 14 Gase
2016 - 14 Loggains
2017 - 19 Loggains
2018 - 17 Nagy
2019 - 22 Nagy
2020 - 20 Nagy
2021 - 30 Nagy
This 2021 season is trying to keep pace with that Mike Martz sackfest in 2010 and that makes me sad...
But now let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
Sack 27 - 2nd Quarter 3:35 - Nick Bosa
As I was going over the play by play list of this game to pull the timestamps of all the sacks, I immediately remembered this one based solely on this;
1-10-SF 30 (3:35) A.Bars reported in as eligible. J.Fields sacked at SF 41 for -11 yards (N.Bosa). Penalty on CHI-A.Bars, Offensive Holding, declined.
Alex Bars only played one snap as a sixth offensive lineman this week, and maybe this was the reason why.
Nick Bosa is one of the best pass rushers in the game today, so I just assumed he’d get home at some point against Chicago’s pass protection. He beat Bars off the snap as he shot inside, and if you look at the action in the backfield — a fake to Ryan Nall to the left side — you would have thought that Bars should have expected Bosa to work in that direction.
The entire offensive line stepped left to sell the run, and had Bars stepped with them he could have cut Bosa off. He still may be been beat, but he would have forced Bosa to either power through him, or try to work back to the outside. This wasn’t a bootleg back to the right off the fake, it was a straight drop back, so Bars could have either induced Bosa to the outside or drove him down the line towards the fake.
To make matters worse, Bars got caught holding on the play, but he didn’t even do that well. Once he was beat, and once he decided to hold, he should have just pulled Bosa down to save his QB the hit.
Sack 28 - 3rd Quarter 2:54 - Nick Bosa
Bosa again on this one, and this time it was his hustle that got him the sack. He starts off on Chicago’s right side, lined up across from rookie right tackle Larry Borom, and he’s able to slip inside the rookie’s block. This was a mini-hump move by Bosa in knocking Borom up field and off-balance before sneaking back under. Fields seemingly feels that pressure and tries to step up, but his pocket was a bit congested.
Right guard James Daniels lost leverage as D.J. Jones (#93) worked to the inside gap, and he may have expected to pass Jones off to center Sam Mustipher, but Mustipher popped out to the right to pick up the blizting Marcell Harris (#36). Jones then bounced off left guard Cody Whitehair and nearly brought Fields down as the QB tried to run up through the middle.
This was a nicely designed play by San Francisco with Harris blitzing through the b-gap after they showed Fred Warner (#54) mugged up at the line of scrimmage. Warner engages with Mustipher before dropping into coverage while spying Fields, and Mustipher makes a heady play to go out to pick up Harris.
Blame on this one is tough as Fields was working his progressions form the left to the right, so he didn’t see Damiere Byrd hook up open at five yards from the right slot. Since I’m not sure exactly how Fields is coached when facing this look, I’ll assume he was on point. Bosa’s pressure started this, so I have to ding Borom a bit, but good coverage, a nice blitz, and ‘Niner hustle also helped get Fields down.
I’m scoring this half on Borom and half on sacks happen.
But overall I had Borom down for a solid game in his first ever NFL start. I talked more about his afternoon on our latest Bear & Balanced Podcast, and I graded him out at an 85.7%. He won more pass rush reps than he lost and he was decent in the run game too.
Before we move on to the next sack, more on Bosa’s daily double...
Sack 29 - 4th Quarter 14:05 - Marcell Harris
On this play Harris seemed to be playing a QB spy technique or he was responsible for Fields if he ran a bootleg back to the right. There’s a decent pocket here as tight end Jesse James, who starts off on the left, comes across the formation to simulate a split zone run play, and he ends up helping Cole Kmet out on Bosa. Once Fields sets he really has no where to go, so he decides to make a play with his feet.
At this point it’s tough for the o-line to stay with their guys because they can’t see where the QB is scrambling. When Fields drifts right Borom loses leverage, as does Mustipher. Fields navigates through the pocket, but both Harris and Emmanuel Moseley (#4) are waiting for him, and Harris trips him up.
Nice play by Harris here, so this one is a sacks happen.
Sack 30 - 4th Quarter 5:06 - Samson Ebukam
This was the play that FOX analyst Greg Olsen mentioned how tough it was to pass off a stunt when the tackle and guard are on different levels, so my initial thought was it would probably be a sacks happen. But then on the replay I noticed Khalil Herbert’s attempt at a chip and that changed my thinking.
When a back or tight end gives chip help on an edge rusher, the tackle shouldn’t set up outside as much as Jason Peters does on this play. Even though the chip didn’t land, this appears to be what Chicago’s plan was, so Peters should have anticipated Samson Ebukam (#56) not being able to get around the edge so easily. If Peters isn’t setting so wide, he’s probably in a better position to stay with Ebukam, and he might not have bothered with the pass off.
This is another tough one, because the E-T stunt helped in getting DE Ebukam free, but Whitehair’s guy was was coming from the opposite a-gap. There’s no reason for Whitehair to get more depth on his set with DT Arden Key (#98) coming across his face. And with no depth there’s no feasible way for him to be in position to get Peters’ guy on the pass off.
Peters should realize his left guard isn't in position here, and he seemed to overset anyway, so I’m giving this one to him.
Here’s the individual 2021 Sackwatch tally after 8 weeks:
Justin Fields - 6
Sacks happen - 5.5
Jason Peters - 5
Cody Whitehair - 3.5
Germain Ifedi - 3
Lachavious Simmons - 2
James Daniels - 1.5
Alex Bars - 1
Khalil Herbert - 1
Sam Mustipher - .5
Cole Kmet - .5
Larry Borom - .5