Two weeks ago the Chicago Bears played their worst game of the season in a 38-17 thrashing by the Minnesota Vikings. It was a total team failure, but the pass protection was particularity poor in allowing 5 quarterback sacks. The pass pro was so poor that Jay Cutler threw an icy look in the direction of his right tackle Kyle Long after allowing a third quarter strip/sack.
After struggling though the last few weeks, Long may have had the best game of the year against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His pass protection was solid and his run blocking was very good. He was hit with a false start, but other than that, it was the kind of bounce-back game Long needed to build towards the 2016 season. A season where I expect him to remain at right tackle.
But as for the Sackwatch...
Even with that awful 5 sacks allowed in Minnesota, the Bears still have a shot at bettering the 2013 season when they totaled 30 sacks allowed. If the Bears can somehow hold the Detroit Lions sackless on Sunday (Detroit is tied for 9th this year with 38 sacks) they'll finish at 29. The last time the Bears were that low was 2008 with Kyle Orton getting 15 starts behind a line of LT John St. Clair, LG Josh Beekman, C Olin Kreutz, RG Roberto Garza and RT John Tait. Those five started all 16 games together that season, further proving the importance of continuity along the offensive line.
Here's how the Bears have fared going back to the Mike Martz years.
Sackwatch after 15 games
2010 - 50 Martz
2011 - 42 Martz
2012 - 43 Tice
2013 - 29 Trestman
2014 - 39 Trestman
2015 - 29 Gase
Sack 29 - Second quarter 3:50 Gerald McCoy
It's not enough that Gerald McCoy is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the entire NFL, but on this play the Buccaneers masterfully designed their front to match McCoy up one on one with the Bears worst pass blocker.
If you watched the game on Sunday you would have heard FOX color analyst Matt Millen brilliantly (yes, brilliantly) describe the sack allowed.
Check out the GIF.
The Bucs had enough threats on the line of scrimmage to ensure that center Hroniss Grasu would have to turn to his left. Grasu ends up taking the 1st down lineman to his left and left guard Matt Slauson and left tackle Charles Leno expertly pick up the blitzing stunt taking place in front of them.
With the center turning to his left, the Buccaneers knew that the Bears would block the two remaining down linemen with their right side, RG Vlad Ducasse and RT Kyle Long. The edge rusher would be picked up by Long, leaving McCoy one on one with Ducasse.
Deadfoot Ducasse didn't stand a chance.
Moving forward in the running game, Ducasse has shown decent quickness and aggression, but when setting up in pass protection his lumbering feet makes him look mismatched most of the time.
Take a look at Ducasse's feet.
Now take a look at Kyle Long's.
In the time it takes Ducasse to make two steps with his outside foot, Long has already retreated 4 yards back in his pass set.
By the time McCoy gets his hands on Ducasse, Ducasse is already beat around the edge because of his slow footwork and head being too far over his feet.
Here's how I have the Sackwatch after 15 games.
Kyle Long - 6.34
Sacks Happen - 4.5
Charles Leno Jr. - 4.33
Vlad Ducasse - 3.33
Patrick Omameh - 2.5
Matt Slauson - 2.5
Jay Cutler - 2.5
Matt Forte - 1.5
Jermon Bushrod - 1
Hroniss Grasu - .5
What are your thoughts on the Sackwatch this week?