The Chicago Bears’ Sackwatch is not trending in the right way. This makes it two weeks in a row that they’ve allowed four sacks on rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. I talked about it a little bit in my snap counts article on Monday, but the predictability of the play calling isn’t doing the pass protection any favors.
The Bears are getting caught in too many third and long situations, because they are stubbornly running into eight and nine man boxes on first and second downs. The Bears can get teams out of the heavy box with the occasional quick three step drop on first down — A SLANT WOULD BE NICE — or a play action pass.
They can slow a third down pass rush with the occasional draw or screen play. A draw on third and twelve may have a low success rate, but if the Bears can pop just one for a big gain, it gives the pass rushers something to think about. A successful screen has a tendency to slow down a pass rush too. Fans may get frustrated seeing the Bears go screen or draw on third down, but it’s important to give defenses different looks from time to time.
Sackwatch after 7 games
2010 - 31 Martz
2011 - 21 Martz
2012 - 25 Tice
2013 -11 Trestman
2014 - 17 Trestman
2015 - 13 Gase
2016 - 13 Loggains
2017 - 17 Loggains
Sack 14 - First Quarter :04 - Captain Munnerlyn
The Panthers only rushed five, and the Bears kept six blockers in to protect Trubisky. Since the Bears were in field goal range, they couldn’t afford to lose yardage. But they did, and the 52-yard field goal try by Connor Barth was blocked.
Carolina blitzed the nickleback (#41 Captain Munnerlyn) off of Chicago’s right side, and they ran a T-E stunt (defensive Tackle goes first, with the defensive End coming around him) on that same side. The Bears picked everything up, although right guard Kyle Long was a little high, which caused him to get pushed back too quick. But in my opinion, he stayed in front of his man long enough.
Jordan Howard stayed in to pick up Munnerlyn, he stopped him, then he pushed him outside the pocket and made himself available as a receiving option. Munnerlyn kept working and he picked up the sack.
But now I want you to watch Trubisky. He takes the snap. Drops back three steps. Scans the field. Drifts back and to his left. Then tries to tuck it and run away from the pressure. Trubisky could have shoveled it to Howard, in what would have been a very Rodgersesque play. But take a look at tight end Zach Miller on the return route. He’s the inside receiver at the top of the GIF.
Here’s a better look via Twitter.
Trubisky missed his man. I just hope he wasn’t afraid to uncork the pass in that situation.
This sack is on the rookie quarterback.
Sack 15 - Third Quarter 6:08 - Kyle Love
Oh look, a play action pass!
The Panthers rushed five on this play too, and Chicago picked up the blitzing linebacker off the left side. On the right side, Julius Peppers (#90) was frozen for a split second, but he still beat a coming-across-the-formation Zach Miller and the weak attempt at a cut block. Peppers’ pressure affected Trubisky.
Defensive tackle Kyle Love (#93), was working against center Cody Whitehair, and he beat him with a rip move to the left A-Gap. Whitehair was caught with his weight too far forward, and the quick rip by Love caused him to lose leverage and fall off the block.
If Miller’s aim point is at Peppers’ thigh, then maybe Love’s penetration doesn’t get to Trubisky, but since I can’t know that for sure, I’m splitting this sack allowed between Miller and Whitehair.
Sack 16 - Fourth Quarter 11:59 - Kawann Short
The Panthers blitzed the nickleback again, and the Bears had a sixth blocker in to pick it up. Carolina ran the exact same blitz as the first sack above, only on Chicago’s left side this time. It was a nickle blitz with a T-E stunt.
Fullback Michael Burton came in front of Trubisky to get the blitzing Munnerlyn, but Charles Leno Jr. was walked back by Kawann Short. Left guard Josh Sitton gave ground up too quickly on this as well, but it was Leno’s man that picked up the sack, so this one is on Leno.
EDIT: To clarify, it’s not just because Leno was bullrushed on this play, it’s because he gave up the inside gap. Look at Bobby Massie on the right side. He gives ground, but he keeps his body between the defender and his quarterback. If Leno forces Short to the outside, his block is good enough.
Sack 17 - Fourth Quarter 4:46 - Mario Addison
Sitton is walked back much too quickly on this pass rush too. That’s former Chicago Bear, Mario Addison, abusing him again on this play. Addison’s bull rush is so fast, that he goes past Trubisky and has to come back for the sack.
I do think Trubisky holds the ball just a tick too long on this play, but I also think that given the game situation, he didn’t want to risk an incomplete pass to stop the clock. Taking the sack is the OK play here, but I can’t let Sitton off the hook.
Individual Sackwatch through 7 games
Sacks Happen - 5
Charles Leno - 3.5
Mike Glennon - 2
Bobby Massie - 1.5
Mitchell Trubisky - 1
Josh Sitton - 1
Bradley Sowell - 1
Zach Miller - .5
Cody Whitehair - .5
Kyle Long - .5
Jordan Howard - .5
This is where I find things interesting with how Pro Football Focus had the sacks allowed this week.
Both Bears offensive tackles were clean in pass protection. Neither LT Charles Leno nor RT Bobby Massie allowed pressure on 14 pass blocking snaps, earning 74.9 and 76.4 overall grades in the process. Each of the team's three interior starters were credited with a sack.
I split the Whitehair sack with Miller, and I gave Sitton one, but did they really pin the first sack on Long? And they didn’t think Leno was at fault with the third sack? I think PFF does great work, but if you think they’re the gospel, you’re mistaken.
Back in the day, the fantastic David Taylor designed my Sackwatch logos, but his company, Cheeky Monkey Art, has taken him away from the land of WCG these days, so I’m left without a logo.
Here’s what I had the last couple years.
Here’s the original.
And here’s a special one he designed for me when I flipped the script and broke down the Bears’ sacks.
I’d like a new logo, so this goes out to all you graphic designers out there. Come up with something fresh and unique and share it in the comment section. You guys can rec the ones you like best, but ultimately, the choice will be mine!
Ken sent along this one that he found,
... but I’d like to open it up to you guys before going with the Biscuit Sack.