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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2023: Week 15 vs Cleveland Browns

Three Bears sacks allowed to breakdown this week.

NFL: DEC 17 Bears at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bears knew going in that the Cleveland Browns had a ferocious pass rush led by Myles Garrett. They are a relentless group that attacks from different angles, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz can scheme up favorable matchups. On Sunday afternoon, they may have only had three sacks, but they were credited with seven QB hits, plus according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, 20 pressures.

"Justin Fields was pressured on 20 of 45 dropbacks (44%) by the Browns' defense (Myles Garrett w/ a team-high 6 pressures)," Cronin Tweeted on Sunday. "That's tied for the most he's faced in a game in his career, and it's the third time this season he's been pressured 20+ times, the most such games in the NFL."

We all remember what happened the last time Fields faced the Browns. It was his first-ever start, and he was dumped nine times in Chicago's 26 to 6 loss.

At least this game wasn't that bad, as Fields was able to avoid some of the pressure and make a few plays.

Courtney also shared the following regarding the pressure Fields dealt with on Sunday.

Justin Fields said there were times Sunday where he had receivers down field and was trying to anticipate where they were going to be because he literally could not see them given the pressure that he was consistently. Just because he was only sacked 3x, doesn’t mean that the Browns weren’t able to disrupt the timing of the throws he was trying to make.

That’s what Fields said happened on the incompletion to Mooney in the 1st half where Greg Newsome nearly had an INT.

Fields: “Inside release, he told me we ran the route earlier in the game and the outside release, but they’re main coverage, they have slightly outside leverage. So, he told me he was going to do the inside release, he beat them off the line bad and then I got to the back of my drop and tried to guess where he was. I knew he beat them off the line bad, but of course, it’s hard to complete the ball when you’re just guessing.”

Chicago's offensive line didn't have their best day in Cleveland, but as you've hopefully learned by Sackwatch, the blame for pressures and sacks can be attributed to the quarterback, the tight ends, the scheme, and the running backs.

The tape from the game was rough, and there's plenty of blame to go around, but here's how I saw the three sacks this week.

Sack 39 - 1st Quarter 2:56- Alex Wright
The Browns did a nice job in covering the Chicago receivers up, and the Bears pass protection holds as long as can be expected. Fields gets to the top of his drop, has time to pump, get to a second and possibly third read, but then is hesitant before taking off. There's a receiver in the middle of the field running across and another late check-down option to his left.

In our Keys to the Game article we did last week, I wrote that this game plan needed to be a quick 1-2 read, glance at the check-down, and then take off running. Cleveland's pass rush does not mess around.

This ball should have been out a couple of times, so this sack is on the quarterback.

Sack 40 - 4th Quarter 15:00 - Cameron Mitchell
While Fields did have the option to throw on this fourth down play, I thought he felt comfortable attacking the edge to get the first down himself. The Browns flowed left with the motion, the fake to running back D'Onta Foreman drew more defenders, and the bootleg should have allowed him to get one freaking yard.

But wideout Darnell Mooney barely got a piece of cornerback Cameron Mitchell, and Mitchell had the angle to tackle Fields for no gain.

This GIF shows that a quick pass to DJ Moore was there, but in the heat of the moment, Fields wanted to take what he perceived as the easy play to keep the chains moving.

Moore made an aggressive block before streaking downfield, but Mooney widened out too much, and there was too much space between him and Mitchell. All Mooney had to do was get Mitchell to break stride or force him to go outside the block, but he offered no resistance.

This might be a first for Sackwatch, as this sack allowed is on Mooney.

Sack 41 - 4th Quarter 6:56 - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
This was a two-man route off of play action, as Chicago kept a tight end, running back, and fullback in to block, but before either receiver could shake loose, Fields was sacked. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (#6) came flying off the right edge, and fullback Khari Blasingame couldn't slow him at all.

The Bears were selling a zone run left, so everyone stepped in that direction, but Blasingame moved too far inside to get the blitzing Owusu-Koramoah. As the edge defender to the boot side, I would have liked to see Blasingame be more aware of the possibility that Owusu-Koramoah would rush, but he wasn’t, and he wasn’t able to make the play.

Here's the individual Sackwatch tally after 14 games:

Justin Fields - 13
Sacks Happen - 9
Darnell Wright - 4.5
Cody Whitehair - 2
Ja'Tyre Carter - 2
Braxton Jones - 2
Larry Borom - 2
Teven Jenkins - 2
Khari Blasingame - 2
Roschon Johnson - 1
Darnell Mooney - 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.

Here are Chicago's historical total sacks allowed through 14 games (in the Sackwatch era).

2010 - 48 Martz
2011 - 42 Martz
2012 - 42 Tice
2013 - 24 Trestman
2014 - 37 Trestman
2015 - 28 Gase
2016 - 24 Loggains
2017 - 33 Loggains
2018 - 30 Nagy
2019 - 38 Nagy
2020 - 34 Nagy
2021 - 45 Nagy/Lazor
2022 - 48 Getsy
2023 - 41 Getsy

Thanks to all of you guys who check out Sackwatch each week!