Here's a fun fact--every time Matt Stafford has been sacked this season, he's been in the shotgun. It defies odds, really.
The Bears are coming off the bye week with what looks to be a rejuvenated defensive line. The Lions aren't where they thought they would be, but still maintain an offense that could become potent at any time. Except, of course for when the following things happen.
Let's take a look at each of the sacks Stafford has taken so far, and get some analysis of the techniques used to bring him down. (Warning -- this is an very .gif-heavy post.)
#1 - Tap him on the shoulder.
See #76 for the Lions? That's Jeff Backus. You might remember him from GETTING ABSOLUTELY PUNKED by Julius Peppers in 2010, which resulted in Stafford's injury.
He'll probably be the Bears best friend on Sunday, and with good reason. Look at this performance by him. The tight end gives a shove, and he kicks back to pick him up like he's supposed to, but the end is so fast that by the time Backus even puts a hand on him, he's halfway to Sacktown. And I'm not talking Sacramento.
#2 - Wait Him Out
Here's a fun fact about Stafford, he'll hold the ball too long, and can get shaken in the pocket. The Bears have fast defends ends who can shed a block.
On this play the RT kicks the end out and behind Stafford. However, Stafford hops in the pocket too long, and the end is able to leave the RT (who it seems assumed the ball was gone), and gets to him.
#3 - Kill 'Em With The Interior Pass Rush
Here we go. Empty backfield, two tight ends. The 49ers defensive tackles push up field, forcing matthew to step up in the pocket. The RT again looks like he assumes the play is out of his hands, and when Stafford step up into the pocket, the ends are able to shake lose and get to him before he gets to the LOS.
One thing you'll notice across a lot of these--Stafford can make some incredibly odd decisions about where to flee to when the pocket collapses. In this case his only choice was to step up, but instead of trying to run behind Backus (who, btw, actually blocked his guy the whole time) he turns and runs directly into the other defensive end.
#4 - Blitz Off The Edge And Run at Him Untouched
Here you'll see the Titans give a little more of a hybrid 3-4 look. 3 lineman, with a linebacker nearly at the LOS standing upright. (A possible sighting for the roaming Shea McClellin?)
The tight end gets almost a complete release, and instead of quickly dumping it to him at the LOS (and possibly risking the interception to the interior linebacker) Stafford keeps it. Problem is, that standing linebacker comes untouched. The tackle and guard line up to double team the end. Guard #66 (Stephen Peterman) recognizes what's happening, but nearly with enough time to keep Stafford from getting wrapped up.
#5 - Just Beast Past Jeff Backus
This one is just funny. Backus has no answer for Jared Allen whatsoever on this play, and Stafford sensing some pressure runs right up into the defensive tackle, because as we mentioned before, sometimes he's not really sure where to run.
#6 - Cover the Wide Receivers For A Second--Stafford Will Do The Rest
On this play action pass, the Vikings send four guys. The Lions actually do a pretty good job containing originally. Stafford, seeing nothing and sensing some pressure coming as the tackle kicks the end around, proceeds to step into the Pocket and wander around Drunken Master-style.
Except, instead of kicking ass, he trips himself and gets sacked.
#7 - Send All the Players
4th and 5, from the 8 yard line, it's a clear passing situation for the Lions. Now, this isn't something the Bears tend to do, as they'll usually sit and force you underneath. However, the Vikings take advantage of knowing what's going to happen, and go on a backfield rampage against Stafford. Two ends come untouched to converge on him, and he doesn't even know what hit him on the blindside.
#8 - Seriously, Again?
Collapse the ends, he'll run directly into a defensive tackle.
#9 - Paging Shea McClellin
Stafford, again with no options because the Vikings only send four, leaves the pocket quickly on this empty backfield play. The linemen shed their blocks and immediately chase him down for an easy sack.
Not a sack, because of a penalty, but...Stafford running directly into a defensive lineman again.
Now, we jest a bit, as the Lions have clearly proven their offense capable of putting up some points when needed. But they haven't faced a line like the Bears yet this season, and Soldier Field should be rocking. I expect the Bears to come out swinging, and hopefully get a lead on the Lions early. Also, I hope that the Lions have cloned Backus five times and line him up all the way across the line.