Bears vs. Jets — What to Watch 4

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams leads a pass rush that is fourth in the NFL in sacks (32) and second in quarterback hits (81) — including 17 sacks and 24 quarterback hits in the last three games.

SHARE Bears vs. Jets — What to Watch 4
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (left) combined with teammate John Franklin-Myers (right) to sack Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson (middle) in the Jets’ 40-17 victory over the Dolphins on Oct. 9 at MetLife Stadium.

Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images

Key matchup

Three years after he was the third overall pick in the draft, Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is having a breakout season with eight sacks and 18 quarterback hits.

Williams has a half-sack or more in eight of the last nine games. He heads a pass rush that is fourth in the NFL in sacks (32) and second in quarterback hits (81) — including 17 sacks and 24 QB hits in the last three games.

As productive as the Bears’ running game has been, their pass protection has been shaky, including last week when the Grady Jarrett-led Falcons sacked Justin Fields four times.

The Bears figure to get a boost with right guard Teven Jenkins’ likely return from a hip injury, but the interior line — left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher and presumably Jenkins — will have to be better than they’ve been regardless of whether Fields or Trevor Siemian starts at quarterback.

Trending

The last four quarterbacks to face the Bears have had 100-plus passer ratings with a combined seven touchdowns and one interception — Dak Prescott (114.5), Tua Tagovailoa (135.7), Jared Goff (113.6) and Marcus Mariota (100.2).

Now the withering defense — without corner Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker, who are in concussion protocol — faces Jets backup Mike White, who will start after 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson was benched this week.

White had a 75.1 passer rating (five touchdowns, eight interceptions) in four games in place of Wilson last season. But that’s deceiving. He had a spectacular debut as a starter, throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns (with two interceptions) in a 34-31 upset of the Bengals. And he was on his way to a similar performance the following week — against Matt Eberflus’ Colts defense (7-for-11, 95 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, 121.4 rating) — before leaving with a forearm injury in the first quarter of a 7-7 game.

Player to watch

The Bears will start a banged-up Justin Fields or a rusty Trevor Siemian at quarterback.

Fields separated his left shoulder on the final drive against the Falcons last week. Except for a token appearance against the Cowboys in Week 8,

Siemian hasn’t played since a relief appearance with the Saints last season in Week 17. He threw two touchdown passes in a 30-20 victory over the Falcons. He hasn’t started since last Thanksgiving, a 31-6 loss to the Bills.

X-factor

The Jets have improved significantly in Robert Saleh’s second season as coach — from 4-13 to 6-4; from 32nd in scoring defense to ninth through 11 games.

But they had some internal strife after a 10-3 loss to the Patriots last week, with Wilson irking some teammates by dismissing accountability for the loss.

Wilson has since apologized, but it’s possible that turning to White — a locker-room favorite — could energize an up-and-coming team.

The Latest
The man, 21, was driving a motorcycle when he ran a red light and ran into a Jeep SUV, police said.
Roughly 60% percent of the state’s 102 counties do not have a full-time public defender. That needs to change for Illinois to meet its legal obligation to provide criminal defendants with legal counsel.
His wife doesn’t mind his marijuana use but wishes he’d stop lying about it.
Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.
Expanded weekend services, including road tests and written tests, will be offered June 1 through Aug. 31, historically the busiest season for teens looking to get behind the wheel.