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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2011; Week 6 vs. Minnesota Vikings

I have a confession to make.  I cringe every time the Bears give up a sack, not only because I don't like seeing my favorite team getting sacked, but also because every sack they give up adds to my workload in formulating this Sackwatch series.  Don't get me wrong, I love breaking down the tape and dissecting the game, but after looking at 11 sacks in the first two weeks I was a little worried I wouldn't always have the time to schedule Sackwatch for my 11am Thursday slot.  Last year the Seattle Seahawks got to Jay Cutler 6 times in week 6, but this time the Bears protected Cutler much better, and I'm only looking at a single sack.  Whew...

As documented all week here on WCG, the game plan was much better for the Vikings game.  They chipped with backs and tight ends, they cut down on the 7 step drops, they ran more and subsequently their play action game was more deceptive, and they kept in enough players to block.  Many of us were worried going into the game, as even though the Vikes are bad, they do get after the quarterback.  Jared Allen is leading the league in sacks, and Minnesota is up among the team leaders in that category.

On the sack and strip by Viking DE Allen, I feared a big momentum swing.  It's understandable with the Bears playing as inconsistent as they have all season.  Then when they drove down for an Adrian Peterson TD, I was even more concerned.  But then they kicked off and allowed Devin Hester to touch the ball with room to run, and my uneasy feelings were over.  Now on to the sack.

Sackwatchcutler_medium Sack 19 - 3rd Quarter 12:54 - Jared Allen
The Bears only ran five 7 step drops on the night, and on one of them Allen got to Cutler.  This strip/sack is on Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb, but some of the blame has to go to Cutler for holding the ball a tick to long, and for not holding the ball with two hands while in the pocket.  This 7 step drop was of the parallel shoulder variety, with Cutler backpedaling straight back.  Webb was one on one with Allen and he started off great.  Allen went inside, then spun back outside, and Webb maintained contact with him throughout.  The mistake Webb made was after the spin, he stopped driving his feet.  With a hustle player like Allen you have to match his motor.  Easier said than done I know, but had Webb simply kept his feet moving, his shoulders wouldn't have got out in front of his feet and he would have had better balance to wall Allen off.  Cutler did have a late releasing Kellen Davis to his right that he could have hit, but he didn't see him.

With better protection, Cutler had another solid game.  He had a few poor throws, but going 21/31 for 267 yards and 2 TDs is fine by me.

Sackwatch after 6 games
2010 - 27
2011 - 19