The St. Louis Rams have one of the more ferocious defensive lines in all of football, and the Chicago Bears did a decent job in slowing down their pass rush in their 37-13 win. Sure the Bears allowed 2 sacks, but before Sunday, the Rams were averaging 3.4 sacks a game. On the season the Rams have the 3rd most sacks with 29, so going into the game I really expected them to get after the Bears reshuffled offensive line.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase had a great game plan and Jay Cutler executed it superbly. In total the Rams hit Cutler seven times, and Pro Football Focus gave the Rams 5 QB hurries, but I thought Cutler's pocket awareness gave him clean throwing lanes most of the day.
But let's get down to the nitty gritty...
Sackwatch after 9 games
2010 - 34 Martz
2011 - 23 Martz
2012 - 28 Tice
2013 - 14 Trestman
2014 - 24 Trestman
2015 - 16 Gase
As you can see, Gase's offense is still comparable with the first year of Marc Trestman's West Coast Offense in the 2013 season. And just as a FYI, Trestman, who is currently the O.C. in Baltimore, has the Ravens' offense sitting at 15 sacks allowed so far this year.
Sack 15 - Second Quarter 2:22 William Hayes and Aaron Donald
Before I get into the breakdown, let me say that Ram DT Aaron Donald is a fun player to watch. This half a sack was one of the easier ones he'll get in his career, but his overall get-off, his hustle and his hand usage are really, really good.
But as for this sack, I'm putting it in the sacks happen category. The Bears tried to get #10 Marquess Wilson, who was split out wide to the left, coming back for a slip screen. The Ram defensive back either reads it, or has flat responsibility. Either way, he puts himself in between Cutler and his target.
As for the blocking, it was a screen pass, so there wasn't really any blocking. Hayes and Donald both got incredible jumps off the snap, and neither were fooled much by the play action. I suppose If I wanted to nitpick, left tackle Charles Leno and center Matt Slauson could have both held their blocks for a tick longer, but if that Ram DB isn't in the way, Cutler probably unloads the ball.
Sack 16 - Third Quarter 7:25 Aaron Donald
The Rams only rush three on this play, with a 4th defender spying Cutler. Since it was a 3rd and 14, Cutler needed a bit of extra time for his receivers to get downfield, but Aaron Donald made sure he didn't have any.
Donald is working on Slauson and he shows real good hands by getting inside Slauson's punch, then slapping away his left arm. Once Donald frees himself of Slauson's arm, he just has to keep hustling to pick up the sack. Slauson, sensing Donald is trying to work around his left side, should have shuffled his feet in that direction. Slauson's left leg stops and Donald gets by him. So... I'm giving this sack allowed to Slauson.
But that's not to say he was the only Bear offensive lineman that made a mistake.
Left guard Vladimir Ducasse has no one to block so he correctly gets his head on a swivel and starts to get in position to help out, but then for some inexplicable reason he turns his attention to defensive end Robert Quinn (#94) working against his left tackle.
Leno has Quinn a good 3 yards away from Ducasse, so there's really no reason to be concerned with that. But to Ducasse's right, he should be aware that the dangerous Donald is working against his center. If Ducasse squeezes the gap between he and Slauson instead of drifting back, he's in position to help on Donald.
Right guard Patrick Omameh sets up the same as Ducasse, but with no one to block he stays tighter to his center. Had Donald worked to Slauson's right, Omameh would have been in position to help out.
Take a peek at Chicago's tackles. Right tackle Kyle Long mirrors his man perfectly and LT Leno may have got away with a pull down. But I actually like what Leno did on the play. It looks like he has Quinn's arm trapped while Quinn starts to lose his balance, so Leno just helps him to the ground.
No harm no foul right?
Here's how I have the Sackwatch after 9 games.
Sacks Happen - 4
Kyle Long - 3.34
Vlad Ducasse - 2.33
Charles Leno Jr. - 2.33
Matt Slauson - 1.5
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Hroniss Grasu - .5
Matt Forte - .5
Jay Cutler - .5
What are your thoughts on the Sackwatch this week?