Just last week the Chicago Bears were on pace to allow the fewest sacks since their Super Bowl season of 2006, but with three sacks allowed against the Washington Redskins, they jumped back in front of the 2013 pace. For a closer look at the offensive line play from last game, be sure to check out my grades article.
The Bears are tied for 7th in total sacks allowed this season, and 8th in sack percentage (5.0%). That sack percentage number gives a truer sense of where the Bears' pass protection is with Adam Gase calling plays, because they are definitely more committed to running the ball in 2015. They are 22nd in passing attempts this year and 4th in rushing attempts.
Chicago's sack percentage was 4.9 during the 2013 season, so the Bears are real close to that pace. For some perspective, here are the sack percentages from the other Sackwatch seasons; 2014 (6.3%), 2012 (8.3%), 2011 (9.4%) and 2010 (10.7%)
And the totals so far this season,
Sackwatch after 13 games
2010 - 47
2011 - 38
2012 - 38
2013 - 22
2014 - 30
2015 - 23
And now on to the breakdowns...
Sack 21 - First quarter 5:19 Terrance Knighton
Right after this play happened the Twitterverse started to blame rookie center Hroniss Grasu for Knighton's sack. That was actually my initial thought as well, until I saw the replay.
In my opinion this sack is on right guard Patrick Omameh. Even if Grasu was responsible for the right side A gap (which I don't think he is), Omameh just allows Knighton to shoot past him with nothing more than a token hand punch. If Omameh simply gets in Knighton's way, Jay Cutler probably has enough time to find a receiver.
It really looks to me that the Bears were sliding protection to the left, leaving Kyle Long on an island with Ryan Kerrigan (#91). The Redskins have four men on the line of scrimmage, but three of them are from inside right guard Omameh through left tackle Charles Leno. Grasu does his job by picking up the defensive tackle (#92) after he engages Chicago left guard Matt Slauson then works into the other A gap.
Sack 22 - Second quarter 9:54 Trent Murphy
This sack is on right tackle Kyle Long. Anyone disagree?
I honestly have no idea what Long was doing on this play. Maybe he was guessing that Murphy was going to go inside after seeing the play fake, so when Murphy hesitated then went around the edge, Long wasn't ready.
This is one of those plays that Long will think of when he's working out this offseason.
Sack 23 - Third quarter 14:22 Ryan Kerrigan
I initially was going to place all the blame of this sack on Long as well, but the more I think about it, the more I want to give Cutler half of the blame too.
First off, Long gives the edge up way to quickly on this play. If his intention was to push Kerrigan past the pocket, he has to take a better angle. Look at the hash mark next to Long, now watch Long's kick step. He's moving straight back, and by doing that, he's not taking the angle away from Kerrigan. Once Kerrigan starts to attack he just has to tightly turn the corner to get the QB.
EDIT: As luck would have it, I came across this clip on Twitter today that explains exactly the angle I'm talking about.
Listen to the feet. Pass pro has a distinct sound when it's correct. The drive/catch phase is difficult to learn. pic.twitter.com/KZqlLa4use— LeCharles Bentley (@OLineWorld65) December 17, 2015
But with that being said, there was no play action taking Cutler's eyes away from the right side (like that last sack), so he should have been aware of the rush. He also drifts a little after his initial set, so that tells me that the ball should have come out quicker. Maybe it was good coverage by the Redskins downfield, but regardless I'm giving half the blame to Jay.
Here's how I have the Sackwatch after 13 games.
Kyle Long - 4.84
Sacks Happen - 4.5
Charles Leno Jr. - 4.33
Vlad Ducasse - 2.33
Patrick Omameh - 2
Jay Cutler - 1.5
Matt Slauson - 1.5
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Hroniss Grasu - .5
Matt Forte - .5
What are your thoughts on the Sackwatch this week?