On Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears gave up seven sacks, which gave them the most through 16 games since I've been tracking them in Sackwatch. The seven sacks taken by Justin Fields now gives him 55 this year, which is a new single-season record for the Bears, surpassing the 52 that Jay Cutler took in 2010.
Chicago's 57 sacks allowed is third all-time in the team’s history behind last season’s 58 and 2004’s 66. Looking ahead, the Vikings are tied for 18th in the NFL with 37 sacks, and they are 24th in defensive sack percentage at 5.9.
Here's the historical Sackwatch after 16 games:
2010 - 56 Mike Martz
2011 - 49 Mike Martz
2012 - 45 Mike Tice
2013 - 30 Marc Trestman
2014 - 41 Marc Trestman
2015 - 33 Adam Gase
2016 - 27 Dowell Loggains
2017 - 39 Dowell Loggains
2018 - 33 Matt Nagy
2019 - 45 Matt Nagy
2020 - 36 Matt Nagy
2021 - 51 Nagy/Lazor
2022 - 57 Getsy
Here's how I have the Bears' sacks allowed this week.
Sack 51 - 1st Quarter 6:45 - John Cominsky
Running a play-action bootleg with no backside block on the edge requires an undisciplined defender to chase the fake, or it needs a receiver to come open quickly. On this play, rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (#97) stayed home to contain, and there was nowhere for Fields to throw.
Byron Pringle may have been the primary receiver after coming across from the left slot, but he was grabbed, and then he stopped working toward the flat. The play's timing was off, and since Fields wasn't out of the tackle box, he couldn't just chuck it out of bounds to save the sack. Good play by Hutchinson, and solid coverage downfield by Detroit, so this is a sacks happen.
Sack 52 - 1st Quarter 3:06 - Ifeatu Melifonwu and Aidan Hutchinson
This was a third and goal, so flipping the ball out of bounds to save the sack didn't matter since they were going to let Cairo Santos try a chipshot field goal anyway. It seems like Fields was reading this right to left, with his first read being fullback Khari Blasingame, who was covered, before coming back to eligible o-lineman Riley Reiff, who snuck out into the left flat.
They were both covered, as were tight end Cole Kmet and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, so Fields scrambled after some late pressure fought through a pile-up on the right.
This is going to be a rare instance where I'm not pinning a run-out-of-bounds sack on the quarterback. It was third down, and the kicker was coming on regardless if it was 4th down from the two or from the five-yard line. This is another sacks happen here.
Sack 53 - 2nd Quarter 11:14 - Josh Paschal
Both Chicago tackles (RT Riley Reiff and LT Braxton Jones) got worked back here, but Reiff did a better job staying between his man and his quarterback, so it was Jones' man, Josh Paschal (#93), that got credit for the sack.
Jones got bullied back while also giving up the edge, and the tenacity from Paschal paid off. Jones' feet got slow once he leaned on the defender, so you'd like to see him get better depth to take the outside angle away.
This was a rough day for Jones, which is unfortunate as it came off one of his better all-around performances last week against the Bills.
Sack 54 - 2nd Quarter 9:47 - James Houston
Just two plays after Jones gave up that last sack, he's again bulled back, but this time, rookie linebacker James Houston did the damage. Houston got low and drove Jones into his quarterback. Reiff was also beaten around the edge, but he took Hutchinson deep enough to give Fields a path to step up.
Jones threw his hands too high, allowing Houston to get into his body. It was almost like Jones wasn't sure what to do with his hands at that point, but he should have slammed them into Houston's back and put him into the turf. This was just an ugly sack.
Sack 55 - 2nd Quarter 3:02 - James Houston
This play has been circulating Bears' Twitter thanks to a screenshot from a local beat writer trying to drive home his usual negative narrative about Fields. But screenshot analysis is just as dumb as box score scouting.
Right as Fields would want to cock his arm and throw the ball to Dante Pettis, there's up-the-middle pressure from defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs (#96).
If right guard Dieter Eiselen can hold Buggs off a split second longer, then Fields likely has the confidence to fire the ball. But considering the leaky pass protection and the shaky receiver play he's received, Fields figured a scramble was the best option on this first down play. I'm giving the sack allowed to Eiselen, but Fields needs to do a better job on ball security.
Houston makes this play again, but this time it's his hustle that gets him this strip-sack.
Our All-22uesday streamer, Robert Schmitz, had some thoughts on this sack that I agree with, so here's his take.
This play is all over Twitter, here's what I see:— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) January 3, 2023
- Fields' eyes are working right to left
- Eiselen gets beat instantly, Fields sees it
- Fields (whose arm got hit mid-throw earlier) prioritizes the rusher, loses his chance
Can't turn it over, but it ain't just a Fields issue. pic.twitter.com/JOuVTrldEn
Sack 56 - 3rd Quarter 3:28 - James Houston
Houston hits the sack trifecta here, which gives him eight on the season in only six games. His speed and pursuit angle was too much for Fields to overcome.
Fields had a pocket, but no one was open. He reset, but no one was open. So he darted to the left and still had nowhere to go with the ball. On this first and ten play, Fields should have just chucked the ball out of bounds once he left the pocket. This sack is on the quarterback.
Sack 57 - 4th Quarter 6:57 - Josh Paschal
Both Chicago tackles were flagged for holding on this play, but since Paschal was able to trip up Fields for the sack, both penalties were declined.
The bullrush tormented Braxton Jones on this one again, which initially flushed Fields out of the pocket. Tight end Ryan Griffin stayed in to help right tackle Riley Reiff before leaking out into the right flat. Paschal does a nice job working to the outside while keeping an eye on Fields, and when Fields scrambles too close to him, he's able to make a play.
Fields ran himself into this one, and a deeper path could have allowed him the time to fire the ball downfield.
Here's the individual Sackwatch tally after 16 games:
Justin Fields - 13
Sacks Happen - 12.5
Braxton Jones - 10.5
Larry Borom - 4
Cody Whitehair - 3
Lucas Patrick - 2
Sam Mustipher - 2
Riley Reiff - 2
Michael Schofield III - 1.5
Teven Jenkins - 1.5
Dieter Eiselen - 1
Trevor Siemian - 1
Cole Kmet - 1
Alex Leatherwood - 1
David Montgomery - .5
Khalil Herbert - .5
Thanks to all of you guys that check out Sackwatch each week!