For the second week in a row, the Chicago Bears have allowed 4 sacks to an opponent, but the good news is that their league-leading sack percentage actually dropped this week! Justin Fields has been sacked on 16.3% of his passes, which is down from 16.6% after the Patriots game.
I know... Three-tenths of a percentage point isn't much, but when the sacks are piling up as often as they are in Chicago, I’ll take even the smallest improvement as a win for the team’s pass protection.
Fields has taken 31 sacks this season, and he’s on pace to be the most sacked quarterback in the history of the Bears’ franchise. Jay Cutler holds that dubious honor with 52 in 2010, so if Fields remains healthy, that record seems well within reach. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this is already a possible bet in the big sports betting sites.
Here's this week's Sackwatch.
Sack 28 - 2nd Quarter 10:21 - Osa Odighizuwa
The Dallas Cowboys are rushing four on this play with no stunts up front, so as long as no Bears lose a one-on-one matchup there should be time for Fields to get through his progressions.
Right guard Teven Jenkins is beat to the inside, and it’s possible he was expecting help from his center, but Sam Mustipher’s attention was on the Mike, #55 Leighton Vander Esch, lined up to his left. When Vander Esch dropped into pass coverage, Mustipher continued that direction thinking Jenkins was good with defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa (#97). Jenkins should have slid left to cut off the a-gap, but he lunged with his hands and had no leverage to slow Odighizuwa. This is the first sack allowed I have on Jenkins this season.
Before you move on, take a close look at Mustipher.
What got into #67?
There was a fifth “sack” that happened in the game, but two-point conversions go in the record books as either a make or a miss, so Fields’ sack that happened at 9:48 in the third quarter wasn’t a sack, it was a failed attempt.
Sack 29 - 3rd Quarter 6:51 - Dante Fowler Jr.
I must have replayed this play 20 times, and I still have no idea where the mistake was. The offensive line all block left like there should be a play-action fake to a back running in that direction, but David Montgomery is running right on the snap. Both Montgomery and fullback Khari Blasingame attacked safety Jayron Kearse (#27), who was blitzing off the right edge.
Tight end Trevon Wesco (#88) flows with the o-line to the left. Justin Fields opens for a fake with the ball in his left hand, so he was probably expecting a fake to Montgomery to the right side of the line. With no one there for a fake, Fields turns around and is sacked by unblocked defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.
Was Wesco supposed to stay for Fowler? Was Blasingame responsible for the defensive end? Did Montgomery assume his fullback had the first threat inside (Fowler), so he went for Kearse? Did Fields open the wrong way? Did Montgomery run the wrong way? Did all five o-lineman block left instead of right? I don’t like any play where a running back is responsible for a defensive lineman in pass pro, but I like it even less where a d-lineman is unblocked. If this was executed as drawn up, then offensive coordinator Luke Getsy should throw this play in the trash.
Because I have no idea, this is a sacks happen.
Sack 30 - 4th Quarter 8:34 - DeMarcus Lawrence
Sometimes when a player cuts a defender on a pass play, that’s an indication that the play was designed to be a quick hitter. David Montgomery fires into the legs of the Cowboy coming off the left edge (#33 Damone Clark), but Clark keeps his feet and hustles after Fields. This may have been designed to go to Blasingame in the left flat, but Fields didn't like that there was a defender shadowing him.
His next read would have been to the mesh crossing in front of him between Cole Kmet and N’Keal Harry, but Clark was in hot pursuit.
Which brings me back to Montgomery. If he was coached to cut on this, then it was a nice job by Clark to sprawl and stay on his feet. But if Montgomery should have squared up and blocked Clark, then that would have given Fields time to come back to the mesh. Kmet stopped his cross when he saw the defender zoned up in front of him, and a pass leading Kmet back to the middle of the field is probably the throw to make. But Fields had no time.
I’ll give half this sack allowed to D-Mo since it was his guy that blew things up. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence gets the sack after working around right tackle Riley Reiff, so Reiff gets the other half. Reiff started strong on this by taking Lawrence around the pocket, but once the defender got to the top of his arc, Reiff’s feet slowed and he lunged. If he kept moving he could have driven Lawrence further past the pocket.
Sack 31 - 4th Quarter 6:08 - Jayon Kearse
Another play action to no one with the o-line all flowing to the left. The Cowboys blitz a corner from Chicago’s right side and that was the perfect call against this play. It almost looks like it was being set up to be a throwback to tight end Kmet to the left, but the blitzer quickly got Fields into scramble mode. There was a receiver coming across the formation at about 10 yards that could have been another option, but there was just no time for Fields to fire the ball. Good call here by Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and this is another sacks happen.
This was a tough week to assign blame on these sacks, so be sure you guys let me know how you would have done it.
Here's the individual Sackwatch tally after 8 weeks:
Justin Fields - 9
Sacks Happen - 7.5
Braxton Jones - 4.5
Larry Borom - 4
Lucas Patrick - 2
Sam Mustipher - 1.5
Teven Jenkins - 1
David Montgomery - .5
Riley Reiff - .5
Khalil Herbert - .5
Historical Sackwatch 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
2022 - 31 Getsy
Thanks to all of you guys that check out Sackwatch each week!