This was an odd week for Sackwatch because three of the four sacks the Chicago Bears allowed looked to come off of screen passes. There aren’t many options for a quarterback when a screen goes awry, so figuring out where to place blame is tricky.
What made these last two weeks of Sackwatch doubly frustrating is Chicago’s previous two opponents, the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, have two of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, yet the Bears allowed three to the Lions and then four sacks this week.
Chicago’s pass protection struggled against those two teams, so it may get ugly on Sunday against the Jets and their 32 sacks.
Here’s how I have this week’s sacks.
Sack 37 - 2nd Quarter 13:34 - Grady Jarrett
The FOX crew broke down the first sack the Bears allowed during the game, and I agreed with what they had. Atlanta ran a stunt against Chicago’s right side, and right guard Michael Schofield III missed the defender coming back to him. He stays engaged with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (#97) in the b-gap for too long, but it also looked like right tackle Riley Reiff wasn’t aware of a pass-off had there been one.
Reiff was focused on the wide edge defender (#9, Lorenzo Carter), so even if Schofield came off of Jarrett sooner, Reiff wasn’t in a position to accept him.
I’m splitting this sack allowed between both Schofield and Reiff.
Sack 38 - 3rd Quarter 15:00 - Abdullah Anderson
The Bears have their running backs do a crossing action in the backfield as Fields fakes it to David Montgomery, who then continues to the left flat for a screen pass. But does he overshoot his blockers? Did his blocker set up wrong?
This play is just painful to watch.
Three Chicago offensive linemen are clearly setting up for a screen, but the other two o-linemen, the tight end, and the fullback don’t seem to be.
Were the Bears hoping the defense would all flow to the screen to give Fields a chance to fire it downfield to one of his receivers?
I’m not sure what Luke Getsy calls this play, but I would suggest the word abomination be used in the terminology somewhere.
Sacks happen on this one because I have no idea who blew it.
Sack 39 - 3rd Quarter 6:52 - Lorenzo Carter
Here’s screen number two which ends up in a sack. On a screen pass the offensive line are supposed to block for a count or two to slow the defender, then release their guy and set up for the screen. It’s critical the timing is just right between everyone involved, but something is off here.
This empty set screen to running back Trestam Ebner to the right, but when the rookie isn’t available for the pass, Fields takes off and tries to make something happen. Ebner should block for a count, then settle back for the pass behind his blockers, but the timing is terrible, and the Falcons weren’t fooled at all.
Ebner may have gone too far upfield, or the line didn’t hold for the correct amount of time, and since I can’t pinpoint the main culprit, it’s everyone’s favorite sacks happen again!
Sack 40 - 3rd Quarter 6:12 - Arnold Ebiketie
The Bears call a screen on the next play, and they hit the screen-pass-fail trifecta. It’s again the rookie in at tailback, but this time Ebner looked to be in a good position for a pass. However, the timing was off here too. The o-linemen tasked with getting out in front of the ball carrier need to block for a split second, then release. I thought about going with sacks happen for a third time, but right guard Michael Schofield is looking directly at the sprinting free rusher, Arnold Ebiketie (#47).
Schofield releases to his left, but if he stayed on Ebiketie just a count longer, this screen probably happens. The problem with a timing-based play is that it requires a lot of practice reps, and Chicago’s o-line had been shuffled around all year.
Here’s the individual Sackwatch tally after 11 games:
Justin Fields - 11
Sacks Happen - 10.5
Braxton Jones - 6.5
Larry Borom - 4
Lucas Patrick - 2
Sam Mustipher - 1.5
Michael Schofield III - 1.5
Riley Reiff - 1
Teven Jenkins - 1
David Montgomery - .5
Khalil Herbert - .5
Fields missing a few games may be all that keeps him from getting the record for most sacks taken in Bears history.
Here’s the historical Sackwatch after 11 games:
2010 - 41 Martz
2011 - 27 Martz
2012 - 35 Tice
2013 - 17 Trestman
2014 - 27 Trestman
2015 - 19 Gase
2016 - 22 Loggains
2017 - 27 Loggains
2018 - 23 Nagy
2019 - 32 Nagy
2020 - 28 Nagy
2021 - 37 Nagy
2022 - 40 Getsy
Thanks to all of you guys that check out Sackwatch each week!