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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2014: Week 1 vs. Buffalo Bills

I thought the Chicago Bears' pass protection was solid throughout the game in their 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills even though they allowed two sacks. In this weekly series I'll examine what happened on every sack the Bears allow during the 2014 season.

Jonathan Daniel

If you're new to Windy City Gridiron and the Sackwatch I'll give you a little history on the series. Back in 2010 the Chicago Bears' offense was coordinated by the architect of the Greatest Show On Turf, Mike Martz. He was a Super Bowl winning play caller, but he also came in with a reputation of getting his quarterbacks creamed on a weekly basis. His reliance on deep drops, long developing plays, no audibles, leaving his offensive tackles on an island and employing tight ends as glorified tackles had many Bears fans worried.

The Chicago Bears went on to allow a league high and franchise worst 56 sacks in 2010.

They also won the NFC North and made it to the NFC title game, so Martz was obviously coming back for another season. The hope was with a second year in the offense, the pass protection would improve.

Before the 2011 season started, Kev floated the idea to me about charting the sacks the Bears allowed to see if there would be an improvement in the pass protection. I liked the idea, but I immediately regretted it as the Bears allowed five sack in week one. The Martzfence actually did improve a bit over the previous year, but 49 sacks is still way too many.

Kev isn't the only WCG'er to have a hand in the Sackwatch, because I owe my fantastic logo to our graphics guru David Taylor.


So now that the history lesson is out of the way, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

The Bears allowed two sacks to the Buffalo Bills, but I thought the pass pro was solid. Jay Cutler dropped back to pass 51 times and he put up 349 yards. Even with a couple of back up offensive linemen forced into action and one of his starting wide outs held out a big chunk of the game, Cutler was usually getting the ball out on time. Earlier this week head coach Marc Trestman blamed both sacks on the Bills' coverage, which I can see, but I'm still going to lay blame on each.

Sack 1 - First Quarter 4:30 Mario Williams
The Bears came out in an empty set on 3rd and 10 and the Bills only rushed four. There's not a lot to break down on this play as right tackle Jordan Mills is manhandled by Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams. You can see Cutler take the shotgun snap, drop and set, but he had no where to go with the ball.

Williams makes a very Reggie White-like move on Mills. He rushes to Mills' outside shoulder, then just throws him toward his own momentum. Mills quickly got his hands on Williams; he didn't seem to be too high or to overextend, he just got beat.

Mills wasn't the only Bear to get overpowered on this play however. Take a peek at left guard Matt Slauson. He allows Bills' defensive tackle Kyle Williams to get under his pads and bullrush him straight back

Sack 2 - Second quarter 3:20 - Brandon Spikes
Spikes picked up just the second sack of his career on Sunday as the Bills deployed him off Chicago's right side. The Bills were showing a four man rush, but they snuck a defensive back up late and the Bears picked it up. I didn't like how the Bears blocked this play because, to me, their right side should have fanned out with Mills taking Spikes and right guard Kyle Long taking the guy to his right.

As for the sack, it was just a power move by Spikes. He collides with Chicago's Dante Rosario and his uppercut forearm knocks Rosario upright. Once he has the leverage on the Bears tight end, he just drives him straight back. I do see how this sack was a result of good coverage, but Rosario was beaten so easily I'd give him the sack allowed.

Matt Forte, who had his pass blocking questioned last year, does a good job stonewalling the blitzing DB.

Here's how the Sackwatch has looked after one week going back to 2010.

Sackwatch After Week 1:
2010 Sacks - 4 (Martzfense)
2011 Sacks - 5 (Martzfense)
2012 Sacks - 2 (Mike Tice)
2013 Sacks - 0 (WCO)*
2014 Sacks - 2 (TCO)**

What were your thoughts on the two sacks allowed and on the pass protection as a whole on Sunday?

* Last year we were still refering to Marc Trestman's offense as the West Coast Offense
** But not any more... Trest Coast Offense is so a thing!