A Rookie QB Is Leading the NFL … in Sacks

Justin Fields has gotten sacked 14.4% of the time he's tried to pass this season

Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears looks to avoid a sack by Myles Garrett
Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears looks to avoid a sack by Myles Garrett.
Emilee Chinn/Getty

Through seven weeks of play (excluding Monday Night Football this evening), no quarterback in the National Football League has been sacked more than Chicago Bears rookie signal-caller Justin Fields.

Even though he’s 30th in the NFL with just 131 pass attempts, Fields has been sacked 22 times thus far this season, including four on Sunday in a 38-3 loss to Tampa Bay, the second straight week the former Ohio State QB has gone down in the backfield four times. This season while passing, the 22-year-old has gotten sacked 14.4% of the time he tries to pass; no other QB in the NFL is even at 10%, per ProFootballTalk.

Fields, who has thrown just two touchdowns and has already turned the ball over eight times this season (including five on Sunday), has not been done any favors by his teammates. The Bears’ offensive line is not playing well, though Fields has also had difficulty recognizing the pass rush and getting rid of the ball quickly in his five starts. A mobile quarterback, Fields tries to make plays with his legs too often due to the lack of talented pass-catchers he has to throw the ball to.

“I’ve never been in this position, where I’m losing,” Fields said after Sunday’s loss. “So, I don’t know how to feel. Like, my only reaction to this is just to keep working. I’m not angry at all. At the end of the day, it happened. We have bad days. Y’all have bad days. And y’all can either get depressed or y’all can get up the next day and go to work. And I think that’s what our team is going to do. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not angry at all. Just, shit happens.”

To go along with the 22 sacks, the rookie’s cumulative numbers this season — a 57.3 completion percentage, 816 passing yards and a 61.8 passer rating — are not good.

If things are going to improve for Fields, it will have to happen (at least temporarily) without the assistance of Bears coach Matt Nagy, who has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. The Bears also currently have four players on the COVID-19 reserve list.

The Bears (3-4), meanwhile, will return home to Chicago, where they’ll play host to the 49ers (2-4) in Week 8.

Fun tidbit for those asking something along the lines of “But I thought he was supposed to be mobile and evasive!”: Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson was sacked 347 times in his first eight NFL seasons, the most of any player except two since the merger. The two players sacked more than Wilson through eight seasons? Randall Cunningham and Neil Lomax.

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