Last year the Chicago Bears week 10 match up was against the Houston Texans and they held them without a sack. This week the Bears pass protection was nowhere near as good. Only two sacks allowed, but 11 big quarterback hits from the Detroit Lions.
One of the reasons the pass protection was as bad as it's been in a long time, was the lack of mobility from Jay Cutler. Pass pro is more than just the offensive line. It's the backs, tight ends, play calling, and the escapability of the quarterback. Cutler was a stationary target for his time in the game, and the Detroit Lions hit him every chance they got.
Even with their poor performance on Sunday, the Bears are still way out in front of the pace set the last few years.
Sackwatch after 9 games
2010 - 34 (Martzfense)
2011 - 23 (Martzfense)
2012 - 28 (Mike Tice O)
2013 - 14 (TCO)
Jay Cutler has already been ruled out for the Baltimore Ravens game, giving Josh McCown his second start of the season. Having a healthy and mobile QB is a good thing, since the Ravens are 3rd in the NFL with 32 sacks.
Sack 13 - First Quarter 5:07 Ndamukong Suh
Chicago left guard Matt Slauson was simply overpowered on this play. Ndamukong Suh is agruably the best defensive tackle in the game today, and he's a tough match up for any offensive guard. Slauson sets up in good position, he throws his hands well, he just gets pushed back and knocked off balance. This sack is squarely on Slauson, and the only thing that may have helped him would have been to get a little lower when he anchored, but even that may not have stopped Suh.
Had Suh spun back to the inside, Bears center Roberto Garza could have helped, but Suh was smart and spun away from Slauson's help. Check out the GIF below.
Over on the right side, Chicago right tackle Jordan Mills allows his guy to get the edge, but he does a good enough job of pushing the Lion past the pocket. Cutler may have felt that pressure, but with no room to step up he was a sitting duck.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod also allows himself to get turned around by his man when his defender spun back inside. Check out right guard Kyle Long, who did a fine job on the play. He got his hands inside Nick Fairley, stonewalled the pass rush, and mirrored him for the duration of the play.
Sack 14 - Fourth Quarter 2:07 Nick Fairley
The Lions again only rushed four on this sack, and it was Fairley that applied the late pressure. As soon as McCown set he felt the pressure from his right. Both Detroit defenders on that side bull rushed their way through, and left tackle Bushrod rode his man across the formation to that side as well.
Fairley, who was credited with the sack, was working against Slauson, but should Slauson get the sack allowed?
I'm putting this one in the Sacks Happen category. See for yourself, and you decide.
Matt Forte's responsibility on the play was to check for any pressure, then release through the line. He's actually open on the play, but McCown was already in scramble mode. As you probably ascertained, it was Forte that actually bumped Fairley free.
Did Forte disrupt the block? Yeah. Was it enough to stop Slauson from coming back to get his man? I'd like to think not, but with things happening so fast in the trenches, it's a tough situation for him.
I'll wager a guess on what was running through Slauson's mind when Forte engaged Fairley. You see him look inside when Forte hits Fairley, so he may have thought that Forte was helping him so he could pass his man off.
Often times when a guard feels help from his outside, it's happening so he can pass his man off to a teammate. He might have thought it was Bushrod stepping in, so his reaction is to check inside with his man handled. Forte obviously didn't stay on Fairley, but at that point it was too late to pick him back up.
Slauson initially does the best job of stalling the pass rush, but it's his man that makes the play. I've said it before, sometimes sacks just happen.
Curiosity caused me to peek at who Pro Football Focus pinned the two sacks on, and they gave one to Slauson, and one to Mills. I can see Mills allowing two pressures on these plays, but I don't see a sack being on him.
What did you guys think about the pass protection this week?
Sackwatch Totals after 9 Games
Sacks Happen - 4
Jay Cutler - 2
Matt Slauson - 2
Kyle Long - 1.25
Jordan Mills - 1.25
Matt Forte - 1
Martellus Bennett - 1
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Roberto Garza - .25
Josh McCown - .25
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