Last year the Chicago Bears also played the Dallas Cowboys during week 14, but the results were much different. The Bears walloped the Cowboys 45-28 last season, in part because of the good pass protection they received all evening. Chicago only allowed one sack against the Cowboys last year, but this year the pass protection was even better.
Zero sacks allowed last Thursday night, which keeps the Sackwatch at 30 this year. In all of 2013 the Bears allowed just 30 sacks, so if the Bears can hold the next three teams sackless, they'll tie their mark from a year ago. Let's take a look at the numbers so far.
Sackwatch after 13 games
2010 - 47
2011 - 38
2012 - 38
2013 - 22
2014 - 30
The only other time the Bears held a team without a sack this season was during their week 11 game against the Minnesota Vikings. I thought the pass protection in that game was really helped along by the play calling and Jay Cutler's ability to evade the rush. During the Vikings game Cutler got rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less on 64% of the time. Even though Jay was throwing so quick that game, the pass rush was still getting to him.
This week head coach Marc Trestman did call some quick developing pass plays, but I also thought the blocking was much better. In fact I graded the offensive line against the Cowboys yesterday, so if you missed that one, you can find it here.
So far this season, Cutler is throwing the ball at 2.5 seconds or less on 53.8% of the time. Against Dallas they were again above average at 59.6% of the time.
I would expect the quick passing game to be a big part of the game plan against the New Orleans Saints this Monday Night, but if Trestman trusts his pass protection after their solid game against Dallas, I could see him taking a few more deep shots downfield. The Saints aren't quite as bad as the Cowboys (28th in sacks) when it comes to rushing the passer, but they are still in the bottom 3rd of the league (25th).
What were your thoughts on the pass pro against the Cowboys and how do you think they'll fare against the Saints?
Here's where I lay the responsibility for each sack allowed after 13 games.
Jordan Mills - 5.5
Jermon Bushrod - 4.5
Matt Forte - 4
Brian de la Puente - 3.5
Michael Ola - 3.5
Sacks Happen - 3
Matt Slauson - 2
Dante Rosario - 2
Jay Cutler - 1.5
Eben Britton - .5