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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2016: Week 17 vs Minnesota Vikings

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 Chicago Bears may have gone 3-13, but they won Sackwatch!

With only 27 sacks allowed on the season, the Bears have not only allowed their fewest sacks since I started tracking sacks on WCG, but they’ve allowed their fewest sacks since the Super Bowl season of 2006. That year they allowed only 25 sacks on their way to the NFC Championship.

Pass protection is much more than the offensive line, it’s running backs chipping and picking up blitzes, it’s the o-line sliding the correct way in unison, it’s tight ends staying to help or chip, it’s the quarterback getting the ball out on time, it’s the setting of the protection pre-snap and it’s the receivers getting open. So even though the sacks allowed stat was pretty good this year, I still think the Bears could upgrade at the tackle spots if an upgrade presents itself.

Right tackle Bobbie Massie settled in after a rough start and left tackle Charles Leno still has room to develop at 25 years old.

Massie still was a lumberer at times, but once he got his hands locked on, he was usually solid. I’d like to see him stay with his blocks a bit longer, but sometimes the scrambling quarterback makes that hard when he runs the defender off the block.

At times this season, Leno got in trouble when the angle on his kick step was off. If his feet weren’t picture perfect, he tended to lunge, and that led to him chasing edge rushers.

I still believe the Bears could win with a Massie / Leno tandem, and I’d have tackle far down my list of offseason needs.

Sackwatch after 16 games

2010 - 56 Mike Martz
2011 - 49 Mike Martz
2012 - 45 Mike Tice
2013 - 30 Marc Trestman
2014 - 41 Marc Trestman
2015 - 33 Adam Gase
2016 - 27 Dowell Loggains

Sack 26 - Fourth Quarter 10:04 - Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter
This play is a good example of the scramble running the defender off the block. Look at Massie at right tackle. He’s in position to wall the defender away from quarterback Matt Barkley, but when Barkley steps up, Massie loses any leverage he has. I would like to see Massie “feel” his man peeling off and use his own momentum against him by staying locked on and running through defensive end Danielle Hunter (#99), but that’s a tough task to stay on the athletic Hunter.

Center Cody Whitehair stonewalls his man too, but Barkley running up frees Linval Joseph (#98) to get a piece of the sack.

Barkley makes it to the top of his drop, he had no one downfield he felt comfortable throwing to, but he did have running back Jordan Howard to his right. The bullrush given up by right guard Ted Larsen made Barkley uncomfortable, but Larsen was able to turn his shoulders to stay between the pocket and his QB.

Maybe Barkley feared he wouldn’t get enough on a throw to the right flat with the congestion around him, but a quick flick of the wrist is all it would have taken to get the ball the 15 yards to his tailback.

While this initially felt like of those sacks that happen, I can’t take the blame off of Barkley. True the pocket was getting a bit tight, but know where your outlet is and get the ball to Howard. This one is on Barkley.

Sack 27 - Fourth Quarter 8:02 - Brian Robison and Linval Joseph
When a couple of defensive linemen run a stunt, the offensive lineman need to be on the same page and be ready to pass off or accept the defenders. Watch Larsen and Massie on the right side on this sack.

Larsen felt his man (DT Joseph) working off to his right and he saw the defensive end (Hunter) looping behind towards him. Massie saw his man going away, but he wasn’t in position to accept Larsen’s man as Larsen passed him to the outside. I’m not even sure Massie had an inkling that a stunt was happening in front of him, because his focus stays on Hunter.

I’d like to give Massie all the blame on this one for being unaware, but Larsen assumed that Massie would recognize the stunt, and one should never assume. Half a blame for each of them.

Here’s how I have the final individual Sackwatch this season.

Charles Leno - 5.5
Jay Cutler - 5
Sacks Happen - 3
Mike Adams - 2.5
Bobbie Massie - 2.5
Brian Hoyer - 2
Daniel Brown - 2*
Cody Whitehair - 1.5
Ted Larsen - 1.5
Matt Barkley - 1
Logan Paulsen - 1
Jeremy Langford - .5

What are your thoughts on the 2016 Sackwatch?