Now that news Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat has had some time to get acclimated with his new team and is $98MM richer, Thursday night represented the first real opportunity for Bears fans to see the difference that he can have on the field.
Sweat did make his Bears’ debut on Sunday in their loss against the New Orleans and there were times when he certainly impacted the timing of Saints’ quarterback Derek Carr but he also had limitations being that he only had three practices with his new team.
On Thursday night, the Bears’ 16-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Sweat was a difference maker as he set up shop in the Panthers’ offensive backfield.
Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat proved on Thursday night that he can be the difference maker for the team.
The Bears, as a team, had 3 sacks on Thursday night against Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young, and Sweat accounted for 3 of the team’s 9 total quarterback hits.
There were two plays in particular where Sweat’s presence on the defensive line made a difference due to the attention that opposing offensive lines need to show him. In those two instances, Sweat occupied his blocker to the point where defensive tackle Justin Jones was able to break through the middle of the offensive line for an easy sack on Young. The other was where Sweat generated immediate pressure on Young to the point he evaded the former Washington Commander only to go right into the arms of defensive end Rasheem Green.
Thursday night was a near-perfect example of the impact that Sweat can have on the Bears’ defensive unit. For the first time this season, the Bears did not allow an offensive touchdown, and for all the shortcomings of Matt Eberflus in terms of being the team’s head coach, he has managed to turn the Bears’ defense into an ascending unit.