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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2017: Week 1 vs Atlanta Falcons

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Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

This is probably my favorite, and my least favorite, weekly feature that I do here at Windy City Gridiron. I love it, because it’s fun to take a magnifying glass to the pass protection, in particular the offensive line. But I hate it because the longer my column gets, the more the Bears’ quarterbacks are getting smacked around, and that usually leads to a loss.

I’d be completely content in finding other way’s to get my Xs&Os fix on every week, so hopefully their pass protection finds a way to start shutting out pass rushers.

Here’s how things have looked through the years...

Sackwatch After Week 1:

2010 Sacks - 4 (Martz)
2011 Sacks - 5 (Martz)
2012 Sacks - 2 (Tice)
2013 Sacks - 0 (Trestman)
2014 Sacks - 2 (Trestman)
2015 Sacks - 2 (Gase)
2016 Sacks - 5 (Loggains)
2017 Sacks - 4 (Loggains)

And now let’s get down to the nitty gritty...

Sack 1 - First Quarter :04 - Vic Beasley
Let’s forget for a second that Beasley was available when the Bears took wide out Kevin White with the seventh pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Damn...

OK.

Bears’ quarterback Mike Glennon gets to the top of his drop on this third and eight play, and has to wait for a receiver. He then starts to drift forward, even though he still had a clean pocket. Had he stayed near the top of his drop, Falcon defensive end Vic Beasley, who began the play lined up in a nine-technique on Chicago’s right side, probably wouldn’t have been able to pick up the sack.

Beasley takes a little chuck from Bear tight end Zach Miller, then runs into right tackle Bobby Massie, before deciding to loop back behind the defensive tackle.

Then Glennon moves right into the sack.

The Falcons rushed four, and the Bears’ offensive line all did their jobs. Pay close attention to the right side. Watch as Massie and right guard Josh Sitton work in tandem on the two guys rushing at them. Beasley runs away from Massie, so Massie moves to pick up Sitton’s man, while Sitton feels Massie, and eyes Beasley coming around to the inside. Sitton passes his man to Massie, then steps between where he believes his quarterback is, and the defender is.

There was a little pressure from #97, Grady Jarrett, but center Cody Whitehair was there to help his left guard, Tom Compton.

This sack is on Glennon.

Sack 2 - Second Quarter 13:16 - Brooks Reed
Brooks Reed, who was lined up off of Chicago’s right side, comes unblocked, and that’s by design. It’s on Glennon to quickly execute the fake on the stretch play, boot back the other way, then find a receiver. It wasn’t a bad fake, but neither Reed, nor the edge rusher on the other side were fooled.

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (#14) was lined up flexed off the line of scrimmage to the right, and I believe he was supposed to run a return route. A return route is when the receiver darts inside, pivots, then heads outside. Keep in mind, I don’t know exactly what the route is supposed to be (I’m not in the huddle), but on a quick hitting play like this, the receiver usually doesn't round off his route. Here’s an example (at the :14 second mark) of what I think Thompson should have done.

I can’t put this sack on the pass protection, because it wasn’t really their fault. Charles Leno gave up the edge a bit too quickly, but his man didn’t give a damn about the fake, he was selling out on the pass rush. Running back Jordan Howard was there after the play fake to help as well. His block wasn’t a strong one, but this should have been a a quick hitting play.

I can’t put this on Glennon, because he had no where to go with the ball.

Now this is where some of you guys say, ‘He shoudla chucked it out of bounds!’ To which I reply, he wasn’t out of the pocket, therefore, he would have been called for intentional grounding. Go back up to the GIF and check, I’ll wait.

See.

His fake took him to the left, then back to the right, but he didn’t get past where his right tackle was lined up. He can’t just throw it low at his players feet, because then he risks it hitting Brooks, who was in his face, and we’ve all seen the funny bounces a football takes. If Glennon tries to go low, then it hits Brooks, it bounces up in the air, interception. Sometimes a QB has to just eat the sack, and sometimes sacks happen.

Sack 3 - Third Quarter 13:07 - Brian Poole
The Falcons blitz two players directly at right guard Josh Sitton. Massie (RT) was occupied by the edge rusher Beasley, and he again did his job, leaving Sitton a choice. He correctly took the inside rusher, but that left Brian Poole (#34) a free lane to pick up the sack.

This was a good play design by Atlanta, but I am curious if Tarik Cohen, who was in at running back, was supposed to stay in and check for a blitzer before leaking out through the line. If Cohen was suposed to check, he would have darted in front of Glennon, and picked up Poole. Glennon pumped as if he was going to throw to Cohen, but with him not out of his break yet, he elected to eat another sack.

Should he have just thrown it to Cohen? Probably. But this is week one, and trust takes time to build between a quarterback and receiver. A better athlete maybe makes a play, but sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the D when they make a good play. This is another in the sacks happen category.

Sack 4 - Fourth Quarter :08 - Brooks Reed
There was an issue in getting this last GIF, so I found the play on Twitter. Vive la France!

Watching live, I thought the same thing most of you thought, this sack was on Bobby Massie.

But upon further review...

Massie did his job. Neither the Tribune’s Brad Biggs, nor Pro Football Focus, nor former Bears’ right tackle James “Big Cat” Williams, gave this sack to Massie.

He pushed his guy (Brooks) past where his quarterback was supposed to be setting up. Only Glennon was forced to back up because the bull rush on left tackle Leno drove him straight back. Glennon had no where to go but backwards because Sitton gave up too much depth as well. And that was the ballgame.

With the Falcons dropping seven into coverage, Glennon had no where to go with the ball.

Look at both of the Bears’ tight ends. They both run a stick route at the goal line, but they are both too close to each other. The Atlanta safety steps up between both Bears, negating the routes.

I could split this sack, but in going over the play I keep going back to Leno. If he doesn’t get put on roller skates, Massie pushes Brooks past the pocket, and Glennon has time to look to the right where his two wide outs were.

Atlanta made a good defensive call, and this last sack allowed is going to Leno.

Individual Sackwatch through 1 game

Sacks Happen - 2
Mike Glennon - 1
Charles Leno - 1