The Detroit Lions went into their week 10 game with only 12 sacks, the second-fewest in the league, while the Chicago Bears are the most frequently sacked team in the NFL, so something had to give. Chicago's pass protection held up most of the game — they only allowed one sack through the first 58 minutes — but Detroit got him two more times after the two-minute warning.
One thing to keep in mind as the sacks pile up for the Bears this season, and in particular, as Fields ends up getting the blame for taking a sack, this is just who he is. He's going to hold the ball a bit longer because he's looking for a big play. Sometimes that's with his arm, but it's also with his legs. Fields is able to juke pass rushers and keep plays alive and do things that few quarterbacks can, and I'd imagine the good he does outweighs the bad.
Justin Fields may always be a QB that's responsible for taking more sacks because he's able to keep plays alive due to his incredible athleticism, but he's also a QB that will escape an inescapable situation and make big plays keeping the #Bears in games. pic.twitter.com/RC5vcN821H— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) November 16, 2022
Here's how I saw this week's sacks.
Sack 34 - 1st Quarter :41 - Julian Okwara
This is a play action, max protect from the Bears, with the tight end and both backs staying in to block. The Bears have two receivers to the left; Fields makes the play fake, then drops back and settles to throw, but there's no one open. He thinks about running to his left, then sees a lane up the middle and changes course.
Julian Okwara blitzes off the left after lining up over Darnell Mooney, who was in the slot. David Montgomery stops him initially, but Okwara's hustle gets him home for the sack.
I can't help but wonder if there's an option built into Mooney's route because once Okwara blitzes, Mooney should be hot where a curl or an out would be wide open.
D-Mo stonewalled the blitz, then once Fields ran up through the pocket, Okwara had a path for the sack. Snap to pressure is more than 3 seconds, so it's hard to blame the pass protection on this. If Fields had to do it again, he'd probably just try to beat the d-lineman around the left edge, and worst case scenario, a chuck out of bounds to save the sack.
Since I don't know if Mooney was able to change his route and failed to do so, I'll pin this one of Fields.
Sack 35 - 4th Quarter 1:40 - Aidan Hutchinson
This is one of the unluckiest sacks I can remember ever breaking down. The protection was decent, and Fields had a nice pocket to step into, but then defensive end Aidan Hutchinson shakes free from the block of right tackle Riley Reiff, and he gets the sack. And why did Hutchinson get loose?
Right guard Michael Schofield III was looking for work and saw an opportunity to hit the Lion rookie. But Hutchinson had a good base, and the Schofield hit boosted him around Reiff. I can't blame Reiff, and I can't really blame Schofield since he couldn't have known this would be the outcome. It was just unfortunate timing, and a sacks happen.
Sack 36 - 4th Quarter 1:12 - Julian Okwara
Chicago faced a fourth-and-eight, game on the line, and Fields had to make a play. He had some time but nowhere to go with the ball. Lion linebacker Alex Anzalone (#34) came off Chicago's left side, and he may have been blitzing with contain responsibility. His delay caused left tackle Braxton Jones to help out on the defensive end (Okwara), but that opened up a rushing lane that Anzalone shot through. His was the first sack that Fields evaded.
The next guy that got to Fields was Okwara, but Fields shook him off too.
Anzalone had another shot at the sack, but Fields ran through that tackle.
But then Okwara got back up to get his second sack on the day.
Fields had no receivers open, and there wasn't an opportunity to scramble for the first down. I really don't know why offensive coordinator Luke Getsy closed the day out with his entire two-minute package of pass plays keeping Fields in the pocket. I think a sprint out giving Fields an option to run made more sense, especially considering the Bears had all three of their timeouts.
As for where this sack allowed ends up... I'm torn between sacks happen, because Detroit's defense made a good play here, and Braxton Jones for opening up the door for the initial pressure.
I'm going with Jones.
He has Anzalone in front of him, so if he stays home, then Anzalone probably just keeps contain to make sure Fields can't run to the left. That would have given Fields another split second to make a play, and who knows what would have happened then.
Here's the individual Sackwatch tally after 10 weeks:
Justin Fields - 11
Sacks Happen - 8.5
Braxton Jones - 6.5
Larry Borom - 4
Lucas Patrick - 2
Sam Mustipher - 1.5
Teven Jenkins - 1
David Montgomery - .5
Riley Reiff - .5
Khalil Herbert - .5
Thanks to all of you guys that check out Sackwatch each week!
Historical Sackwatch after 10 games:
2010 - 37 Martz
2011 - 23 Martz
2012 - 34 Tice
2013 - 16 Trestman
2014 - 24 Trestman
2015 - 18 Gase
2016 - 22 Loggains
2017 - 25 Loggains
2018 - 19 Nagy
2019 - 30 Nagy
2020 - 25 Nagy
2021 - 36 Nagy
2022 - 36 Getsy