I really feared the worst this week as Chicago traveled to Texas in a battle of 2-1 teams. I had an inkling the Bears would win, but I had a sinking feeling I would have to knock out a 2000 word monster of an article breaking down numerous sacks. Thankfully that wasn't the case.
Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is a better football player than Green Bay's Clay Matthews, and he terrorized left tackle J'Marcus Webb and the Bears pass protection schemes a couple weeks ago. This game had the potential to get ugly. Imagine my surprise when Mike Tice provided the occasional chip block or kept a tight end in to help block. I loved his use of screens, draws, and short passes. And I especially loved him running the ball. The solid mix of play calling is done to keep the pass rushers guessing, and the game plan was brilliant, as Kay Paradiso so eloquently pointed out yesterday.
The Bears only gave up 2 sacks to the Dallas Cowboys and they kept Jay Cutler off the turf the entire first half. Here are the Sackwatch numbers so far.
Sackwatch after 4 games
2010 - 18
2011 - 15
2012 - 13
I like the way the Sackwatch is trending.
J'Marcus Webb does his job on this play. He pushes DeMarcus Ware (94) past his QB, giving Cutler time to throw, only Cutler decides to take nearly 4 seconds. When ever you see a QB complete his drop back, then pitter patter his feet looking for somewhere to throw, he's taking too long.
Ware was lined up far to Webb's left, in the ever popular wide 9 technique. Webb starts off with a good kick step, but the speed of Ware is simply not fair. Webb has to immediately throw his technique out the window and chase Ware down. With the rest of the pocket collapsing, Jay didn't have a lot of options. Credit the Dallas secondary for covering the three Bears receivers. Technically Webb gave up the sack once Ware stripped the ball, but this sack is on Jay.
This sack Cutler basically took a dive because it was late in the game, and Jay didn't want to try anything risky. The sack allowed stat goes to right guard Lance Louis who was bull-rushed and stood up by Dallas DT Josh Brent (92), but it was the pressure from Ware that caused Jay to think about bailing on the play. And it was the blitz on the opposite side from LB Victor Butler (57) that stopped him from escaping.
The play design makes me believe this was set to be a roll out to Cutler's right. A nice safe play with a run/pass option that would keep the clock running. Kellen Davis, lined up on the line of scrimmage next to RT Cabe Carimi, runs out a few yards, pivots, then darts to the sideline. Davis was probably going to be Jay's primary receiver.
Let's take a look at the actual sack.
First I'll address Louis. He lost the hand fight against Brent, and allowed Brent to get under his right arm. Louis tried anchoring his feet instead of sliding with his pass block and that caused his upper body to be pushed upright. Once a DT gets under a guard, it's over.
Over on the far right side, Butler hesitated before coming at Bears TE Matt Speath, who motioned from left to right before the snap. It was the hesitation from Butler that messed with the timing of the play. Speath was supposed to entice the upfield rush, and had Butler blitzed immediately, he would have pushed him right over the top of the rolling out QB. Butler waited and the roll out lane was closed.
At right tackle, Carimi did a nice job walling of his defender giving Cutler a lane to roll right had the play developed as designed.
This GIF really highlights just how fast DeMarcus Ware is. He's off and across the line before any other defenders are even engaged. The Bears had LT J'Marcus Webb in a 2 point stance, which makes it near impossible to get to his block on the speedy edge rushing Ware, so the Bears had running back Kahlil Bell stay in to help. There was a play action fake to be made, but with Bell's eyes on the Dallas D, his first priority should be to block. Bell took a bad angle, either because he was worried about the ball fake, or because he was expecting Ware to put an inside move on Webb. Either way, Ware flew past both Bears blocks and harassed Cutler.
It was a good all around game plan on Monday night against the Cowboys. I'd expect the offense to build off their success, handle their business on Sunday in Jacksonville, and go into their bye week riding high.