This was not a sack!
Last year I had so much fun dissecting the Bears pass protection that we had to bring this series back for 2012. Every week this season I'll take a peek at each sack the Bears give up, and try to determine who's to blame, and provide some analysis as to why the sack occurred. I'll also provide a running total for the Sackwatch as compared to the last two seasons under Mike Martz.
As an added bonus with Martzfense gone, I should have fewer sacks to look at while the Bears are working under the Mike Tice offense. That is the theory anyway. And for at least one week, the protection schemes looked better.
Sack 1 - First Quarter 14:56 Robert Mathis
It didn't take long for me to start scribbling in my notebook. The first play of the game for the Bears resulted in the 1st sack of the season. I'll admit my thoughts immediately went negative and I figured the season was doomed. Chicago went playaction on the first play, but the defense wasn't fooled. Indy linebacker Robert Mathis was lined up to the offense's left, outside tight end Kellen Davis. Before the snap he kicked inside a bit so he was head up on the Bears TE.
On the snap Chicago fullback Evan Rodriguez went left, and it appeared as though he was to help pass block, but he really didn't do much of anything. He ran to the line, touched Davis on the back, ran past a blitzing safety, then squared up with another defender 3 yards down field. No need to pass block past the line of scrimmage, and if he was to feign a block before releasing into the pattern, he didn't even turn to make himself available as a receiver. My guess is first game, first play confusion from the rookie.
But as for the the actual sack (click the link to see the sack), Kellen Davis was simply beat inside. The rest of the line held up pretty well, and Matt Forte picked up the blitzing safety that Rodriguez missed. There's no question on this sack as it's squarely on Davis because he failed to move his feet. As Mathis worked his way inside, Davis had cement feet and he overextended with his upper body. I think he wanted to ride Mathis down the line, which would have been fine, but next time he has to get his feet chopping. Poor technique by the big TE.
Sack 2 - Third Quarter 3:13 Robert Mathis
It was a 3rd and 13 when Cutler was dropped for the 2nd and final time of the day, and once again it was Mathis that picked up the sack. The Bears were in a shotgun with 2 wide outs to the right, 1 to the left with an inline TE, and a running back to Cutler's left. Even though Mathis received credit for the sack, it could have went to a few other Colts. The Bears had no chance on the play.
Indy rushed 5 guys, and Mathis beat Chicago right tackle Gabe Carimi around the edge. Gabe tried pushing Mathis past the pocket, but he was able to get his hand of Cutler and be credited with the sack. But with the pressure surrounding Cutler he smartly took a dive. Defensive end Cory Redding, who was in a 2 point stance, faked as if he were dropping into zone coverage before rushing past Chicago right guard Lance Louis. I don't know if Louis was expecting help from his center, but either way the technique was poor. He gave Redding a half-hearted shove as the DE split the gap. This was the first pressure Cutler saw and he went down because of it.
The Colts also ran a delayed blitz stunt back to the Bears right side that saw a free defender get through. Kellen Davis also struggled with his defender of the Bears left side.
This play could have been saved had the initial pressure not come up the middle. If Louis doesn't allow pressure, Cutler could have avoided Mathis, but as it officially stands it was Carimi's man that got the sack (click the link to see the sack). Carimi could have done better staying engaged with Mathis, but even if he had the Bears would have allowed the sack.
Sackwatch After Week 1:
2010 Sacks - 4
2011 Sacks - 5
2012 Sacks - 2
One Sackwatch in the books, and nary a mention of a certain left tackle or his nation...