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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2012: Week 3 vs. St. Louis Rams

Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2012: Week 3 vs. St. Louis Rams

US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Sackwatchcutler_medium That was better... The Bears only surrendered a couple sacks against the St. Louis Rams, but there were still some protection issues. It wasn't as bad as I originally thought however. Watching the game live I was a little frustrated with the time Jay had to throw, but my second viewing not so much. Chicago chipped and helped a bit more than last week, and that's perfectly fine. The two sacks allowed this week weren't of the OMG variety, they were more along the SMH variety. Sometimes sacks just happen.

Let's see where the Bears stand thus far;

Sackwatch after 3 games
2010 - 8
2011 - 14
2012 - 11

Sack 10 - First Quarter 5:17 Chris Long

The Bears came out in a shotgun on 2nd and 15 and the Rams rushed 6 defenders. Chicago went with a draw fake to hopefully freeze Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis (55), but he was keying on Bears tailback Michael Bush the whole way. Bush stayed in and picked up the blitzing Laurinaitis, but the Bears pass protection was overwhelmed nonetheless. Usual whipping boy J'Marcus Webb does a good job on his man pushing him past the pocket. He does overextend a bit at the end, but he did his job.

Over at right tackle, Gabe Carimi, who technically will get the sack allowed stat, gave up a little too much ground while trying to push Rams DE Chris Long past the pocket. Carimi did keep his body between where Cutler was dropping and Long, but he had no way of knowing that Jay would step up like he did. Cutler stepped up and it was a 'look what I found' sack for Long.

Cutler had a running lane to his left, but I can understand why he wouldn't think to run that direction. #JWEBBNATION

Sack 11 - Third Quarter 11:32 Chris Long

It was a 3rd and 8 from the Bears 45 and Long got to Cutler again. This time he beat the block of running back Michael Bush who stepped inside first then had to recover to get the edge rusher. Watching this play develop you have to remember two pass protection rules that coaches usually preach.

1) Protect the inside gap first. The quickest path for a defender to take to a QB is to your inside gap.

2) Big on big.

Regarding the first rule; With the Rams showing blitz with both Laurinaitis and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (58), the Bears right side of the o-line had to stay put. Ideally you'd want RT Carimi to fan out and pick up Long, while RG Lance Louis fans out to pick up Kendall Langford (98), leaving the back to pick up a linebacker. Both LBs dropped into coverage, but once Carimi commits to Langford the Bears have to deal with their decision.

There may have been some miscommunication on the protection scheme. Since Louis and Carimi were both staying put, Bush should have immediately gone to block Long. And that leads me to rule number two; you usually don't want your tailback left one on one with a defensive lineman. Even if you have your "big" back in the game. Long still outweighs Bush by 30 pounds. O-line blocks d-line, running backs block linebackers. With the Rams having the left side of their defensive line aligned so wide, the Bears had to make a protection adjustment.

My guess is someone missed a call on the play. Either Bush was to protect the edge or the line should have fanned out. Since both Louis and Carimi stayed put, I'm guessing it was Bush that erred. He tried to cut Long off, but there was too much speed and size coming at him. Long attacked the block, got underneath Bush and out-leveraged him to the QB.

Next week the Bears will need to tighten up their scheme as they face the always dangerous DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas Cowboys.