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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2017: Week 3 vs Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Do you guys remember last year when there was a big variance in sacks allowed depending on who was at quarterback for the Chicago Bears?

Jay Cutler faced some good pass rushers, but he also held onto the ball a bit longer than he probably should have. Brian Hoyer was quick to check down because he was content to just take the short easy throw. Matt Barkley didn’t have the respect from defenses, so he was practically dared to beat them.

I wonder if we’ll see a similar variance if Mike Glennon ever gives way to the rookie, Mitchell Trubisky?

Glennon’s pocket awareness is, um, well, it hasn’t really shown up so far this season. His speed is, well, let’s just say he’s not the fleetest of foot. In my opinion, it seems like there are a few sacks that could have been avoided if Glennon wasn’t the quarterback.

But that’s not to say that Trubisky would have a clean jersey had he been in there. Young quarterbacks, young athletic quarterbacks in particular, tend to get sacked a lot. Not because they can’t avoid sacks, but because then occasionally keep plays alive longer than they should, which leads to sacks. It takes a QB a bit to learn the intricacies of the position.

So maybe Trubisky could have avoided a few of the sacks that Glennon has taken so far this year, but maybe Trubisky shuffles around in the pocket longer on some plays, leading to a few other sacks. For now it’s just something to speculate on, but I have a feeling we’ll see the rookie soon.

Let’s take a look at how the Dowell Loggians offense has done in pass protection so far compared to past seasons.

Sackwatch after 3 games

2010 - 8 (Martz)
2011 - 14 (Martz)
2012 - 11 (Tice)
2013 - 3 (Trestman)
2014 - 7 (Trestman)
2015 - 6 (Gase)
2016 - 9 (Loggains)
2017 - 7 (Loggains)

So far, there are 14 teams that have allowed more that seven sacks.

Sack 6 - Second Quarter 15:00 - Anthony Chickillo
First off, I love the design of this play. We saw something similar last week with Tarik Cohen lined up as a wingback, and he faked the rocket sweep after Mike Glennon handed the ball off to Jordan Howard. Getting both Howard and Cohen on the field at the same time is a must.

On this play the Bears faked to Howard, then faked to Cohen on the end around, but neither fake fooled Steeler linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who is unblocked by design. The fake is supposed to freeze him long enough for tight end Dion Sims to come down the line and pick him up.

Chickillo got a great jump at the snap and was across too quickly for Sims to even sniff him. This aggressiveness might be a reason the Bears were so successful with the counters and cutbacks all afternoon. Unfortunately, this time the Steelers got the best of it.

Could the first fake have been a little better. Sure. I suppose, but Chickillo was already five yards deep with his eyes on the end around. On the second fake, Glennon has his back to the line of scrimmage, so that’s more of a token fake anyway. Sims looks kind of comical chasing his man, but there’s nothing he could have done.

This is just one of those plays where sacks happen.

Sack 7 - Third Quarter 2:13 - Javon Hargrave
The Bears had Bradley Sowell, a tackle by trade, inside playing left guard due to injuries, and while he played good most of the day, on this play he did not.

Javon Hargrave got under his pads, stood Sowell up, then walked him back. Nothing fancy here, just raw power from the Steeler defensive lineman. The pass protection held up everywhere else, but Glennon didn’t have tome to do anything. Could he have unloaded the ball into the flat? Maybe. Could he have slipped the rush to the right? That looked like a possibility.

I’ll put this sack on Sowell, but I’d sure like to see what a different quarterback would have done in the same situation.

Individual Sackwatch through 3 games

Sacks Happen - 3
Bobby Massie - 1
Mike Glennon - 1
Charles Leno - 1
Bradley Sowell - 1

I also wanted to point out that the Bears’ offensive line was listed as one of the best of week three by analyst, and former NFL player, Shaun O'Hara.

4) Chicago Bears: In a weekend full of surprises across the league, nothing was more stunning than seeing the Bears run all over Pittsburgh's defense. It's remarkable that you can win a football game in 2017 with 84 net yards passing, but that's exactly what Chicago did in this 23-17 overtime triumph.

Despite an awful second half that included four punts, a fumble and an interception, the Bears squeaked out their first win of the season. With the dynamic efforts of second-year back Jordan Howard (23 rushes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner) and jitterbug rookie Tarik Cohen (12 rushes for 78 yards), Chicago finished with 220 yards rushing. Bears ball carriers averaged 3.9 yards per rush before contact -- the third-best mark in Week 3, according to Pro Football Focus. All in all, PFF ranked the O-line as the fourth-best run-blocking unit this week. And although Glennon didn't provide much in the aerial attack, don't blame the big boys up front -- the offensive line yielded one sack, but no other QB hits.

The O-line deserves credit for performing through a whole bunch of player shuffling in this one, too. With starting guard Josh Sitton inactive due to a rib injury, Cody Whitehair slid from center to guard and Hroniss Grasu got the start at the pivot. But Grasu went down in the first quarter, causing Whitehair to go back to center and Bradley Sowell to fill in at left guard. Kyle Long's return to action definitely helped matters. The offensive guard, who hadn't played in a game since suffering an ankle injury in Week 10 of last season, was a mauler in the run game.