The struggles of the Detroit Lions' pass rush are well-known at this point. And the options to fix it are thin after the trade deadline, even though this week's addition of veteran Bruce Irvin should help. In a broad sense, facing the Chicago Bears in Week 11 will help the Detroit defense rebound after a rough outing in Week 10.
Bears quarterback Justin Field seemed close to returning from a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand in Week 10, and with extra time after a Thursday night game it has felt like a foregone conclusion he will play against the Lions in Week 11. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Wednesday morning, that is on track to happen.
On 97.1 The Ticket Tuesday morning, Lions head coach Dan Campbell set the expectation Fields will start on Sunday.
Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent led the Bears to a 2-2 record in the four games Fields missed since being injured in Week 6. Fields is clearly the more talented player and ostensibly an upgrade.
Return of Justin Fields for the Bears looks like great news for Detroit Lions pass rush
Fields was sacked a tied for league-high 55 times last season (14.7 percent of his dropbacks). He has been sacked 24 times in six games this season (less than six full games, truly). A marriage of his relying on his legs and struggles to recognize pressure and get the ball out of his hands has made the Bears' offensive line look worse than it might actually might be. NBC's Cris Collinsworth seemed to speak for the Bears' coaches on "Sunday Night Football" a couple weeks ago to openly laud Bagent's passing acumen.
Among 33 quarterbacks with enough dropbacks to qualify this season, Bagent has the lowest sack rate (3.4 percent). Fields is second-worst, at 12.9 percent.
"In 2022, Fields was sacked on 14.7 percent of his dropbacks. The other quarterbacks who played for the Bears last year (Trevor Siemian, Nathan Peterman and Tim Boyle) were collectively sacked on 4.8 percent of their dropbacks. In 2021, Fields’ rookie year, he was sacked on 11.8 percent of his dropbacks. The Bears’ other quarterbacks (Andy Dalton and Nick Foles) were collectively sacked on 7.5 percent of their dropbacks."
Despite hurry and pressure rates that are good, the Lions are in the lower portion of the league with 21 sacks this season. It looks worse when it's realized 18 of those sacks have come across three games.
The Bears' offense shouid be the elixir for what ails the Lions' defense after last week. From a pass rush perspective, Fields' likely return to action looks especially promising.