This small change helped Justin Fields immensely
It felt like it should have been obvious, but the Chicago Bears leaving their tackles on an island to block Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney went horribly. What was even more puzzling is that the Bears are paying Jimmy Graham and Jesse James in addition to the draft pick Cole Kmet to potentially ease the load on the pass rush.
So, while Justin Fields played like a rookie in his debut, the team failing him was the biggest storyline. The Bears adjusted by changing play-callers, but also you could see adjustments that had to be made during the week.
It is a small tweak, but Jimmy Graham and J.P. Holtz each played their most snaps of the season. Holtz was mostly used due to the team having a lead late and goal-line rush attempts. However, the other tight ends were not. Cole Kmet went from blocking on 6% of pass attempts to staying into block on 25% of pass attempts. Graham went from 0 to 10% of the pass attempts.
This is not a revolutionary change and is rather minor, but the extra second or two that it buys the rookie quarterback goes a long way. The play linked here is an example of how it can buy Fields time.
What is so funny is that the team did not do this against Garrett and Clowney, but when they face the Lions pass rush duo of Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris, they felt they needed to help their tackles.
Still, it shows that this was not a gameplan-specific thing, either, but rather a strong implementation from the coaching staff. They realized how ridiculous they were to leave their tackles alone without help, and realized that no matter the opponent they are better off with the extra tight ends giving a chip block for their rookie quarterback.
Of course, with any Chicago Bears related we assume this means they will keep helping their line, but that does not always mean it will be the case. We will Sunday because Yannick Ngauke and Maxx Crosby are much more fierce on the edge than Harris and Okwara.