The way this game started out I feared I was going to be in for a busy week of breaking down sacks, but after allowing two in the first-quarter, Chicago’s pass protection settled in. Quarterback Justin Fields also showed his elusiveness and the rain kept it a run-heavy game affair, but regardless, Fields did have more time to pass as the game wore on.
Counting the 2 sacks and 4 scrambles from the QB1, the Bears called only 23 passing plays, but they still had a very respectable 88% pass-block win-rate, which is a Next Gen Stats, ESPN metric that measures if the pass protection is holding up.
Like always I’ll dive into a words and GIFs breakdown of the sacks the Chicago Bears allowed, but be sure to check out the new Sackwatch-inspired video at 2nd City Gridiron, where I’ll be giving a bonus breakdown of a good play the Bears made this week.
Once the video is produced and published (shout out to Robert Schmitz for the video skills) it’ll go right here (It’s ready!), but read on for my traditional Sackwatch breakdown...
Sack 1 - 1st Quarter 14:14 - Samson Ebukam
Ebukam, who rushed off the Bears’ left side, was just the first to get to Fields on this play. There was pressure from the edges, but Fields couldn’t step up because there was pressure up the gut too. Fields gets to the top of his drop and looks to his right where tight end Ryan Griffin had released, but he didn’t pull the trigger. Griffin was wide open, and if he had just a fraction of a second more this could have been an easy completion.
Maybe Fields didn’t have a solid grip on the football, or maybe he didn’t want to take a chance cocking his arm all the way to throw with the pressure on him, so he pulled it back and took the sack.
Since Ebukam was the first to get there, I’ll have to give this sack allowed to rookie left tackle Braxton Jones. We heard Jones, the coaches, and even his teammates talk about him learning to use an effective punch this season. He has the size, strength, and length, but he’s still honing his technique. On this play, his head and shoulders move with the punch instead of keeping a flat back on the strike. That causes him to lean into the block which affects his balance, which prevents him from shuffling to cut off the edge, which lets Ebukam rip under the block and keep working to Fields.
Right tackle Larry Borom does better with his punch on defensive end Nick Bosa, but Bosa’s bullrush combined with a forklift move keeps Borom on his heels. To Borom’s credit though, he stays between Bosa and his QB.
Right guard Teven Jenkins allows the pressure up the middle as the defensive tackle swipes him off the block. Jenkins got caught leaning too much into his man and the shuck pulled him off balance.
Sack 2 - 1st Quarter 2:51 - Nick Bosa
Last week Fields was asked about his rookie left tackle, Braxton Jones, facing one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, San Francisco’s Nick Bosa, and Fields had perfect perspective in his answer. “I hope none of you all expect him to win every rep,” Fields said. “He (Jones) knows he’s not going to win every rep.”
Bosa, a two time Pro Bowler, had 15.5 sacks last season, so him getting home for a sack shouldn't have been a surprise, nor should it be a surprise that it was the rookie Jones that gave up both sacks in his debut game.
This time Jones’ punch is too late, and Bosa is able to get inside him and bullrush him back. Bosa delivers the blow, he wins leverage, and Jones has no chance to anchor.
Just like in the preseason, Jones’ pass pro was up and down against the 49ers. The bullrush gave him fits then and he’s still working on that now. I, like my colleague Greg Gabriel, believe that Jones has the makings of a longtime NFL tackle, but we’re talking about a fifth-round pick from Southern Utah. He’s going to have some growing pains, and he’ll no doubt get some scheme help from time to time this season.
Here’s what Greg wrote in his article yesterday.
He has the natural physical skill-set to be a very good tackle in the League. Having to open vs Bosa was actually a good thing as he will seldom face an edge player that talented the rest of this season. The arrow is pointing up for Jones.
Here’s the individual Sackwatch tally after 1 week:
Braxton Jones - 2
And here are the total Bears’ sacks allowed on Week 1 going all the way back to the Mike Martz era:
2010 Sacks - 4 (Martz)
2011 Sacks - 5 (Martz)
2012 Sacks - 2 (Tice)
2013 Sacks - 0 (Trestman)
2014 Sacks - 2 (Trestman)
2015 Sacks - 2 (Gase)
2016 Sacks - 5 (Loggains)
2017 Sacks - 4 (Loggains)
2018 Sacks - 4 (Nagy)
2019 Sacks - 5 (Nagy)
2020 Sacks - 1 (Nagy)
2021 Sacks - 3 (Nagy)
2022 Sacks - 2 (Getsy)
In case you missed my preseason video debut of Sackwatch, you can peep that out right here.