The Chicago Bears pass protection was fairly clean most of the afternoon, and when it did get leaky, Justin Fields was able to maneuver out of harm's way. The Bears rolled him out, they utilized play action, and he was shifty when in the pocket. He picked up 50 yards on his four scrambles but was sacked twice in the fourth quarter.
Before we get to the two sacks, can we look at his nice 39-yard touchdown pass from Fields to DJ Moore?
My favorite part of this play isn't the way Justin Fields steps up in the pocket or the dime he drops to Moore, or the route that Moore runs to streak open. My favorite thing about this play is the awareness and effort left guard Teven Jenkins gives to help his left tackle Larry Borom out after Borom whiffed.
Also, check out the job that right tackle Darnell Wright does on Aiden Hutchinson.
Our friends at Zebra Sports, the people behind Next Gen Stats, shared an interesting nugget about this TD pass earlier today.
D.J. Moore’s late 3rd quarter TD had a completion probability of just 26.6% as Justin Fields dropped his pass in the proverbial bucket. The Bears win probability rose from 37.3% to 56.9% as a result of the TD (+19.6% win probability added). Moore was Fields’ primary target this week, holding an avg. targeted air yards mark of 16.2 (6th) and a 55.2% share of the Bears air yards (3rd). He caught 7 of 9 targets for 96 yards and a TD.
They also had some positive data on Fields' overall game in Detroit.
Justin Fields had a strong 1st game back from injury despite a stunning Bears collapse. While taking the 2nd longest avg. time to throw (3.42 seconds), he had the 2nd highest avg. intended air yards (12) and 3rd highest avg. completed air yards (8) among QBs. Despite 21.7% of his pass attempts being aggressive, he finished the day with a league leading +15.5 CPOE.
CPOE is completion percentage over expected.
I have one more Next Gen Stats nugget to share, but this one isn't quite as favorable for Chicago, so we'll get to it in a bit.
Sack 31 - 4th Quarter 7:33 - Alim McNeill
This was a second and six with the Bears holding onto a nine-point lead, and in the moment watching live, I was fine with Fields taking the sack here. Game situation will occasionally dictate the smart play is just going down. Some up-the-gut pressure comes late from Alim McNeill after a spin against right guard Nate Davis, and Fields was caught in mid step-up, so bailing to escape the pocket to either side was off the table.
But then I got my hands on the All-22, and I saw Fields not taking advantage of some open windows.
He's reading everything to the right, and there appears to be a window for the WR1 (Moore) on the deep in, or even for WR3 (Equanimeous St. Brown) on the corner, or even the check down to his running back in the flat (Roschon Johnson). The passing windows weren't completely clean, so maybe he didn't want to risk it considering the time and score.
They did keep the drive alive and get another Cairo Santos field goal a few plays later, but this sack is on Fields.
Sack 32 - 4th Quarter :29 - Aiden Hutchinson
This one hurt. Rookie right tackle Darnell Wright had done a nice job all game long against Aiden Hutchinson, but Hutchinson got him on this last play. Nothing fancy, just a quick speed rush around the edge.
You'd like Fields to be more aware and hold on to the ball, but this sack came really fast, and with only 29 seconds left in the game, he was looking for a big chunk on first down to the three-receiver side of the field.
Maybe Fields dropped too deep on this play, and Wright was just taking Hutchinson around where he thought Fields' drop would take him, but since I don't know that for sure, I'll give this one to the rookie.
Here's that final Next Gen Stat...
Aidan Hutchinson scored the fastest sack of the week, taking down Justin Fields in just 2.94 seconds.
Here's the individual Sackwatch tally after eleven games:
Justin Fields - 10
Sacks Happen - 7
Darnell Wright - 4.5
Cody Whitehair - 2
Ja'Tyre Carter - 2
Braxton Jones - 2
Larry Borom - 2
Khari Blasingame - 1
Teven Jenkins - 1
Cole Kmet - .5
As I've often said, the breakdowns are based on my best guesses on what is happening in each play. Only the Bears know the specifics and where the blame truly lies for each sack allowed.
Historical Sackwatch after eleven 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
2023 - 32 Getsy
Thanks to all of you guys who check out Sackwatch each week!