Besides the four new starters on the offensive line, the Chicago Bears pass protection is much improved because of the schemes from head coach and play caller Marc Trestman, and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
The biggest thing is getting the ball out quicker, but there's also a rhythm to the play calls that make it difficult to determine if a run or pass is coming. Obviously on 3rd and long, Marc Trestman will be dialing up a pass play, and on those occasions the line is holding up more so than in the past. Just like in previous years, the line is getting help with an occasional chip from the backs, and also from the tight ends.
So far so good, and three weeks in where do we stand...
Sackwatch after 3 games
2010 - 8 (Martzfense)
2011 - 14 (Martzfense)
2012 - 11 (Mike Tice O)
2013 - 3 (Trest Coast Offense)
There will be a jailbreak type of day coming at some point, but through three games only the Detroit Lions (2) have allowed fewer sacks than the Chicago Bears.
Something may give this Sunday.
Sack 2 - Second Quarter 12:09 Brett Keisel
The defensive ends in Pittsburgh's 3-4 front aren't known for getting to the quarterback, but Brett Keisel showed a good motor, and good technique on this sack. He beat Chicago left guard Matt Slauson for the sack with a textbook rip move.
This was a 1st and 10, so Keisel doesn't come out of his stance looking to rush the passer. The Bears were in an I formation, Cutler faked a hand-off to Matt Forte, and then dropped back to throw. Keisel locks onto Slauson, reads pass, then rips his left arm through and past the Bears guard.
Slauson gets a little overextended when Keisel hits the rip move, and he can't recover. When Keisel turns his shoulders, it's Slauson's job to punch and settle back between his man and his quarterback. Jay did have time to look over his options, he even stepped up in the pocket, but this sack is on Slauson.
See for yourself...
Sack 3 - Third Quarter 4:02 LaMarr Woodley
This was the 2nd and 10 play that the Bears were called for an illegal shift on. Alshon Jeffery motioned from right to left, giving the Bears a trips (3WRs) right look. They had Michael Bush as the lone back behind Cutler, and tight end Martellus Bennett next to the right tackle Jordan Mills.
The Steelers only had two down linemen on the field so you figured they would bring some heat, and they in fact rushed five. They blitzed Lawrence Timmons at Jordan Mills, leaving LaMarr Woodley either one on one with Bennett, or free to rush the passer had Martellus released. They also ran a stunt with the two interior linemen. It was a good play design by Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
The Bears did keep tight end Martellus Bennett in on the right side to help with the blitz, and LaMarr Woodley flat out beat him around the edge. He not only beat Bennett, who just seemed slow out of his stance, but he also beat the half-assed attempt of a block from Bush.
Maybe the confusion with the late shift, and impending flag caused both Bennett and Bush to be lax, but either way it was a bad play, and I'm pinning the sack on Bennett.
Notice on the defensive line stunt that Cameron Heyward (#97), comes around and just pushes Slauson into Jay's lap. That was actually the first pressure that Cutler sensed, then he turned into Woodley.
The Bears have done a good job so far by not allowing pressure to leak though from multiple areas, but this was not one of those good plays.
What do you guys think of the pass protection through three games? Do you expect it to hold up in Detroit?
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- Chicago Bears Playbook - The Trestman Philosophy by the Numbers
- The Bears Den: September 26, 2013 - Week 4 news and notes
- Pleased to Meet You: Week 4, Detroit Lions
- Chicago Bears Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, Unsung Monster Of The Midway
- Bears-Steelers Analysis: Debunking the double-teamed Julius Peppers myth