For the first time this season, the Chicago Bears not only had less than 4 sacks in a game, but they were shutout completely in that category. Frankly, they rarely got close to Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler at all.
There are a few reasons for this. Whether you believe that it’s because of the heat (which is certainly plausible), or it was Khalil Mack’s ankle injury (around the 8-minute mark of the 1st quarter), or perhaps it was Vic Fangio’s game-planning, or possibly even the way that Adam Gase and the Dolphins planned to stop the Bears, but in reality, it was all of those things.
Based on the fact that the Bears missed 14 of 19 tackles in the second half certainly speaks to the heat argument. However, I found that the 3rd quarter was the best from a pass rushing perspective. That doesn’t tell the whole story though. The Bears utilized their blitz packages more in the 3rd quarter, and were frankly, more effective when they blitzed.
I felt that Fangio missed opportunities. When he dialed up the blitz, it rattled Osweiler and with the way the secondary played and the poor tackling, this should have been the game plan in the second half. Once Mack had his ankle grabbed/rolled on (it isn’t clear what exactly happened but Frank Gore goes low and Mack takes a few steps, looks back, and is limping), Fangio should have looked at alternative ways to get more pass rush.
This was especially exacerbated by the fact that Gase called a lot of quick passes. There was one other thing that you will notice below, he kept either a tight end or wide receiver (almost always Danny Amendola) in the slot, tight to the formation. Most of the time, there would be a chip to the outside linebacker there, who was also forced to play from a wider alignment. Once Mack was slowed down, they were able to focus on double-teaming other players as Mack was clearly affected by this injury.
Either way you slice it, this was not a great performance. I took the most interesting clips from the game that I could find that involved rushing the passer. They are in chronological order but otherwise, just a hodgepodge. There is a mix of close calls, blitzes, missed opportunities, confusion, and penalties that weren’t called. Without further adieu, here is the Week 6 Rush Report!
Week 6 at the Dolphins
There were some solid rushes in here but you can tell that Mack wasn’t the same guy after the ankle injury. I thought that Hicks was most consistent individual rusher, but there were a few missed hands to the face in there as well. All in all, this was a sloppy performance that started with a poor game plan and was made worse by factors out of the Bears control.
I will be curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on these clips, so please don’t forget to comment below.