I find it remarkable how much better the pass protection has been for the Chicago Bears these last 4 weeks. The level of edge rushing talent has decreased a bit from the Texans (6th most sacks in the NFL) and Eagles (10th most), but Chicago’s offensive line has gelled and the play calling/scheme has helped out as well.
The Bears allowed more sacks and QB hits in the first two weeks of the season (8/18) than they have in the subsequent 4 games (4/17). On the season they’ve allowed the 12th fewest sacks, but they face a tough test the next two weeks. On Thursday night they’ll take on the Green Bay Packers, who have the 6th most sacks through week 6. And on Halloween night, they’ll travel to Minnesota to face a Vikings D that is tied for 3rd in sacks.
Sackwatch after 6 games
2010 - 27 Martz
2011 - 19 Martz
2012 - 19 Tice
2013 - 9 Trestman
2014 - 14 Trestman
2015 - 12 Gase
2016 - 12 Loggains
Sack 12 - Fourth Quarter 9:16 - Yannick Ngakoue
Not all sacks are the “fault” of the pass protection and not all sacks are a bad thing. Take this play for example, Brian Hoyer and the Bears face a 3rd and 7 and they are well within field goal range in a 6 point game. The chip shot field goal would make it a 2 score game, and mid 4th quarter, you feel pretty good about that. A touchdown would be better obviously, but the smart play in this situation is to at least make sure you come away with a shot at 3 points.
Hoyer takes the shotgun snap, he scans the defense, doesn’t feel 100% comfortable with what he sees, so he takes the sack. This sack is on Hoyer, but it’s also the correct thing to do. He does have running back Jordan Howard quickly to his left, but Howard was probably his last option. Howard’s job was to check for a blitz (you’ll notice the Jags are showing a double A Gap blitz) then swing out of the backfield if no one comes.
Ngakoue lines up over left tackle Charles Leno, but Leno holds him off long enough. Center Cody Whitehair loses his man after a chase, but Hoyer should have had the ball out. Josh Sitton (LG) stonewalls his man and Bobby Massie (RT) takes his man past the pocket.
Hoyer knew presnap that he was going to play it safe on this play, he was going to throw it to a wide open receiver, he was going to take off if he had a running lane, or he was going t take the sack. Hindsight tells us the Bears really could have used seven points, but at the time he did the right thing.
Here’s how I have the individual Sackwatch after six weeks.
Jay Cutler - 3
Brian Hoyer - 2
Bobbie Massie - 2
Cody Whitehair - 1.5
Logan Paulsen - 1
Charles Leno - 1
Sacks Happen - 1
Jeremy Langford - .5
What are your thoughts this week?