Justin Fields Sacked 9 Times in 1st Career Start as Myles Garrett, Browns Crush Bears

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 26, 2021

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrates a sack during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
AP Photo/David Dermer

The Cleveland Browns spoiled Justin Fields' first NFL start with a 26-6 win over the Chicago Bears.

The rookie was under pressure all game long as the Browns (2-1) totaled nine sacks in the win, including 4.5 by Myles Garrett. It helped keep Fields in check as he replaced the injured Andy Dalton, leading to a road loss at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.

The Browns had a 418-47 advantage in total yards over the Bears (1-2), with Chicago finishing with just one net passing yard.

Kareem Hunt carried the Cleveland offense in Week 3, helping the squad pull away with a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter:


Kareem Hunt finds his way for SIX. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“±: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/W2MXBTbRZd">pic.twitter.com/W2MXBTbRZd</a>

It led to Cleveland's second straight win to keep pace in the competitive AFC North.

Notable Performances

Justin Fields, QB, CHI: 6-of-20, 68 passing yards, 12 rushing yards

David Montgomery, RB, CHI: 34 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards

Allen Robinson, WR, CHI: 2 catches, 27 receiving yards

Baker Mayfield, QB, CLE: 19-of-31, 246 passing yards, 1 TD

Nick Chubb, RB, CLE: 84 rushing yards

Kareem Hunt, RB, CLE: 81 rushing yards, 74 receiving yards, 1 TD

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, CLE: 5 catches, 77 receiving yards

Justin Fields Can't Handle Pressure in First Start

Bears fans have been calling for Fields to start at quarterback since the moment he was drafted, but the excitement waned in Week 3.

The main problem was a lack of protection, as the Bears offensive line was abused throughout the game:

Ben Linsey @PFF_Linsey

Justin Fields in the first half:<br>4 pass attempts<br>4 sacks taken<br><br>The Bears haven't been able to get into any kind of rhythm on offense. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a>

Jacob Infante @jacobinfante24

Justin Fields is just getting obliterated out there, man.<br><br>I shouldn't expect Jason Peters at 39 to be able to stop Myles Garrett by himself, but still. This <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bears</a> pass protection isn't looking good, and Matt Nagy isn't doing anything to script Fields out of the pocket.

John Tuohy @John_Tuohy

Maybe there’s a reason Nagy was reluctant to start Fields. He’d prefer to keep him alive. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bears</a>

Bonta Hill @BontaHill

Justin Fields has no shot behind this offensive line.

Myles Garrett was a one-man wrecking crew for the Browns on Sunday:


Myles Garrett has 2.5 sacks in the first half alone. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“±: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/G0GHeQ4h8A">pic.twitter.com/G0GHeQ4h8A</a>

Cleveland Browns @Browns

That's a franchise record for sacks in a game for <a href="https://twitter.com/Flash_Garrett?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Flash_Garrett</a>.<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“²: Browns mobile app <a href="https://t.co/nEl2Qn8kLJ">pic.twitter.com/nEl2Qn8kLJ</a>

It prevented Fields from getting into an early rhythm or even getting opportunities to throw the ball.

It wasn't any better in the second half as the quarterback struggled with his accuracy, completing only 30 percent of his passes in the game.

This likely wasn't what Fields or the Bears faithful were expecting, but the team must make serious adjustments before the next game. 

Run Game Carries Browns to Victory

Baker Mayfield had the offense rolling throughout, throwing a key touchdown pass to Austin Hooper before the end of the half:

Cleveland Browns @Browns

Throw it up to <a href="https://twitter.com/AustinHooper18?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustinHooper18</a>!<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“²: Browns mobile app <a href="https://t.co/0OIk6WSFfp">pic.twitter.com/0OIk6WSFfp</a>

It was still the rushing attack that did most of the damage for Cleveland, totaling 215 yards at 5.1 per carry. 

Hunt was especially impressive, totaling 155 yards from scrimmage in the win. 

Andrew Hawkins @Hawk

There might not be 5 running backs in the NFL better than Kareem Hunt.

The return of Odell Beckham Jr. also gives the team another weapon in the passing attack.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

OBJ makes his first catch of the season πŸ‘<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/yLBgYVqflg">pic.twitter.com/yLBgYVqflg</a>

Beckham had 77 receiving yards on five catches in his first game back since suffering a torn ACL last season, providing hope for the rest of the season as he gets back to full strength.

The overall production helped the Browns continually move the chains, as they picked up 26 first downs with seven drives that lasted at least seven plays.

There is still room to improve, especially in terms of finishing drives. The Browns began the game with two failed fourth-down conversions on the first two possessions.

Chicago Bears @ChicagoBears

Defense bringin' the πŸ”₯ early!<br><br>Quinn &amp; Blackson combine for the sack.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DaBears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DaBears</a> <a href="https://t.co/XUaNRU00F6">pic.twitter.com/XUaNRU00F6</a>

Chicago Bears @ChicagoBears

.<a href="https://twitter.com/FiftyDeuce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FiftyDeuce</a> getting in on the fun. 😏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsCLE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsCLE</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DaBears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DaBears</a> <a href="https://t.co/P3rFwkaYdj">pic.twitter.com/P3rFwkaYdj</a>

When the Browns weren't stopped on fourth down, they were forced to settle for field goals.

It led to a low-scoring affair that was much closer than it should have been in the fourth quarter. If Cleveland wants to take the next step toward Super Bowl contention, the offense must get into the end zone at a much higher rate.

There is still little reason to complain after what turned out to be an easy win.

What's Next?

The Browns will have another NFC North matchup next Sunday with a road game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears will return home in Week 4 for a divisional battle against the Detroit Lions.