The Chicago Bears were facing an Oakland Raiders team with multiple pass rushers and I thought they did a good job on their overall pass protection. Yes three sacks were too many, but the Raiders were facing a hobbled Jay Cutler that was obviously not looking to run. Cutler did a great job buying time in the pocket, but I sensed he had no intention to tuck it and take off full speed.
Whether by order from head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase or head trainer Nate Breske, Jay Cutler wasn't going to put any added stress on his ailing hamstring.
Here's where the 2015 Bears stand on the Sackwatch so far in comparison to years past.
Sackwatch after 4 games
2010 - 18 Martz
2011 - 15 Martz
2012 - 13 Tice
2013 - 6 Trestman
2014 - 8 Trestman
2015 - 9 Gase
Those Martz years were scary.
Sack 7 - First Quarter 1:06 Justin Tuck
The Bears were trying to quicken the pace with some no huddle on this 3rd and 7 play, but Oakland was able to close the door and force the Bears to punt. The Raiders only rushed four and the Bears kept tight end Martellus Bennett in on the left side and they even chipped with running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Maybe a healthy Cutler can escape the pocket, but I can't assume this.
The pressure that first spooks Jay comes up the middle off the block of left guard Patrick Omameh. Even though Omameh allows his man to turn his shoulders and go under his block, he actually does a decent job in giving the defender a big push past his QB.
Cutler has a crease to work up the pocket, but as he's dancing up, Justin Tuck finds his way to the sack. Tuck shoots the gap between center Matt Slauson and right guard Vladimir Ducasse, but I don't think it's fair to blame them for Tuck making this play.
Cutler looks to have wide out Eddie Royal settling down to his right, but right guard Kyle Long was pushed back to quickly, so Jay might not have felt he had a safe throwing window.
I really don't see enough wrong on this play to place a specific blame. Besides Royal flashing open, the Raiders had good coverage, so I'm sticking this sack allowed in the sacks happen category.
Sack 8 - Second Quarter :21 Aldon Smith
The Bears were trying to work into field goal range in the waning seconds of the half, but this sack squashed all that. Right tackle Kyle Long takes a bad angle in cutting of Khalil Mack, but he's athletic enough to run him past his quarterback. Had Mack got a hand on Cutler I would have given Long some of the blame on this one, but since he didn't, Long is in the clear.
But this is two sacks in a row that Long had poor technique on. That first one, better hand placement probably jolts his guy enough to slow down the bullrush. On this one he takes too deep of an angle and he's waiting for Mack to come to him. Mack is just to fast getting to the edge and Long is leaning over to far to deliver a strong punch.
On the left side, Aldon Smith beats Charles Leno Jr. back to the inside after initially having his bullrush thwarted. Leno is off balance just enough that he can't mirror Smith as he works back inside. I'm giving this sack allowed to Leno, but I was really close to splitting blame between the two tackles.
Sack 9 - Fourth Quarter 2:00 Kahlil Mack
If you just watch just Mack vs Long, this play looks exactly like the sack above. This GIF has a better angle to see how Long is opening the edge to Mack. Look how perpendicular his feet are to the line of scrimmage. Long is nearly in a side shuffle, with no angle towards Mack. This puts Long in position where he's forced to lunge at his defender.
Jay Cutler does a good job in evading the pressure, but he clearly doesn't want to outrace the defense to the sideline. He doesn't have the faith in his hammy to just go, so he tries to cut back, but a hustling Mack gets up and makes the sack. I'm putting this one in the sacks happen category as well.
Here's how I have the Sackwatch after 4 games.
Kyle Long - 3*
Sacks Happen - 2
Charles Leno Jr. - 1
Vlad Ducasse - 1
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Matt Forte - .5
Jay Cutler - .5
Even though Kyle Long continues to struggle with technique, I do see improvement. He's faced a very tough group of defenders these first 4 weeks, and that will only do him good in the long run. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. looked lost at right tackle during preseason, but he's clearly more comfortable playing on the left. A healthy Jermon Bushrod is still probably better than Leno, but these last two games has to make both the Bears and Leno happy.
What were your thoughts on the overall pass protection this game?