The Chicago Bears were facing a very good Minnesota Vikings pass rush on Sunday with a re-tooled offensive line, and they only allowed 1 quarterback sack. Sure, the offensive gameplan was designed with some quick stuff thrown in there, and yes, Jay Cutler was elusive in the pocket again, but overall the pass protection was solid.
Starting running back Matt Forte has been criticized in the past about his pass protection, but he's clearly a better option over rookie running back Jeremy Langford. With Langford pressed into starting duty while Forte rests his ailing knee, the Bears may need to get creative in their pass pro schemes.
This week the Bears face a San Diego Chargers defense that has picked up 15 sacks in 8 games, which is tied for 18th.
Here's where the Bears stand in Sackwatch so far this season...
Sackwatch after 7 games
2010 - 31 Martz
2011 - 21 Martz
2012 - 25 Tice
2013 -11 Trestman
2014 - 17 Trestman
2015 - 13 Gase
Sack 13 - First Quarter 4:27 Danielle Hunter
This was 4 Viking pass rushers vs 6 Bear pass protectors and Chicago had three players get beat on the play. It was right tackle Kyle Long's man that ended up getting the sack, but I don't feel right about giving him 100% of the blame. Take a peek at the GIF before I get into the breakdown.
I'll start with Long. He has to know he has Matt Forte ready to chip on his way out of the backfield, so Long has to be ready for Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter (#99) to work back inside his block. Long turns his shoulders too far to the right, then the quick dip back inside by Hunter is too hard to recover from. Cutler does step up into the sack, but I'd like to see Long stay more perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, especially with Forte's help to his right. If Long stays square, he prevents Hunter from crossing his face.
Over on the left side, tackle Charles Leno Jr. was also beat, but he was just manhandled by Everson Griffen (#97). Griffen aggressively wins the hand-fight battle by popping up under Leno's elbow, leaving Leno off balance and unable to stop Griffen from working under the block. Leno needs to get stronger and keep moving his feet. Griffen quickly took the edge and Cutler was spooked in less than 2 seconds.
Cutler tried to work up the pocket, but left guard Vladimir Ducasse lost his block even quicker than Leno did his. Ducasse just stands up and catches the Viking defensive tackle (#92 Tom Johnson). Johnson quickly throws his hands, he pushes Vlad back, then he rips under with his left arm to get in Cutler's face.
This is the rare sack I'm splitting three ways, and since it was Long's man that got home, I'll give him the .34 of the 3 way split.
Here's how I have the Sackwatch after 7 games.
Kyle Long - 3.34
Sacks Happen - 3
Vlad Ducasse - 2.33
Charles Leno Jr. - 1.33
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Matt Slauson - .5
Hroniss Grasu - .5
Matt Forte - .5
Jay Cutler - .5
What are your thoughts on the Sackwatch this week?