Through three games, the Chicago Bears pass rush has six sacks. They are tied with three other teams for the fifth-fewest in the NFL. They are one of just three teams with as many or fewer sacks to still have a winning record. The others are the undefeated Miami Dolphins and the 2-1 New York Giants whom the Bears will travel to face in Week 4.
New York is coming off of a 23-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. More importantly for the Bears, they just allowed quarterback Daniel Jones to be sacked five times on the night.
Jones has been sacked 13 times on the season now – three more times that Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Is this the week we see the Bears’ pass rush have a breakout game?
The Chicago Bears’ Pass Rush Could Get Going in Week 4
Pressure Bursts Pipes
The Giants have kept Jones clean on roughly 48% of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus. When he has time, Jones has completed over 75% of his passes. But, when he is pressured, that number drops to 50%. Jones is better versus the blitz than he is when teams play coverage and force him to make the right read. Jones is completing 68.2% of his passes versus the blitz compared to just 62.9% against a simple four-man rush.
That should play right into the Bears’ plans.
They have blitzed just six times, per Pro-Football-Reference. That is the second-fewest in the NFL. It only ranks ahead of the Buffalo Bills and half as many times as the next most-frequent blitzing teams: the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
Even without sending an extra man on the rush, the Bears still rank third in pressure rate in the entire league. Jones could also be throwing to a set of pass-catchers that have been inconsistent and injury prone, to say the least. That could lead to him holding the ball even longer than usual.
Giants must get Kadarius Toney into a full-time role ASAP to have a chance offensively. WR room a disaster.
* Kenny Golladay (dust)
* Sterling Shepard (out for year)
* Wan'Dale Robinson (out, knee)
* Richie James
* David Sills
* Darius Slayton (ostracized)
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 27, 2022
If ever there was a week for the pass rush to come alive in terms of sacking the quarterback, this could be it.
Spotlight on Bears EDGE Rushers
PFF ranks the Bears’ pass rush 29th in the league. The Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers was their only game with a rush grade of at least 60. That also happened to be the worst effort put forth in coverage earning a 39.9. Their other two games were both in the mid-60s. And there is one player who has stood out for all the wrong reasons for at least the last two weeks.
Al-Quadin Muhammad has played over 60% of the defensive snaps. He currently has the lowest pass-rush grade on the team at just 52.1. But his run-stopping grade also tops the group at 58.2
Kingsley Jonathan is technically higher with a 67 grade but he has just four rush defense snaps.
Right behind Muhammad, however, is rookie Dominique Robinson who has earned a 58.0 grade while also posting the highest pass-rush grade among the Bears’ EDGE defenders. But, he has done so in a limited role. Robinson has seen the second-fewest rush snaps with just 37 – ahead of only Jonathan.
Again… The #Bears need to adjust their pass rush rotation. AQM has not cut it & frankly, has had pretty similar win rates throughout his career. Better depth piece than starting piece. https://t.co/Fli3UKuwcy
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) September 21, 2022
We might see a breakout from Muhammad (0 sacks) who spent time in Indianapolis with Bears head coach Matt Eberflus before we see the former wide receiver Robinson elevated to a more prominent role. He currently sits 0.5 sacks behind Trevis Gipson (2.0) for the lead on the team who has seen just a few more snaps himself.
One way or another, the Bears’ pass rush has to come alive. Especially if the defense is going to complement the running game as the team’s best hopes for winning right now.
This would seem to set up for a nice Robert Quinn (1.0 sacks) breakout game.
Fields vs Jones
Unlike Jones, Fields has been kept clean more than he has been pressured. Neither player has been blitzed very much. But, also unlike Jones, Fields has been bad when he is blitzed. He is completing just 11.1% of his passes. That is not a good omen against a Giants defense that blitzes at the seventh-highest rate.
Further, Fields has been far better on play-action passes and screens than anything else. This makes the Bears’ run-heavy approach make even more sense.
For what it is worth, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports that the front office is still sold on Fields as the quarterback of the future. That question has been asked since they went the bargain route at wide receiver and seemed to not have any faith in him before halftime against Houston.
The truth will play out as the season progresses but Fields can certainly be a lot better.