The Bears had an absolute explosion of pass rush against the Lions, and I am here for it! In addition to getting 6 sacks, the Bears were able to get a fair amount of pressure on a consistent basis, continually making quarterback Matthew Stafford uncomfortable in the pocket. What a difference a (Khalil) Mack makes, huh?
The better news is that we saw the same game plan that Vic Fangio has settled into. The Bears are playing almost exclusively nickel with what amounts to a 4-2-5 defense. The Bears have been playing really well from this look and that continued this past Sunday. With a few well-timed blitzes, the Bears have a defense that is attacking from every level and from every direction. This is the Bears defense I thought we had!
Week 10 vs the Lions
Sack 1 - First quarter 9:41 (1st & 5) - Bryce Callahan
This particular blitz has become a staple of the Bears defense. The 2 defensive lineman and 2 outside linebackers all slant to their left while Bryce Callahan comes free on the nickel blitz. Khalil Mack and Bilal Nichols are running a twist on backside of the play. Callahan gets a clean shot at Stafford while Nichols helps clean it up. I definitely give an assist to Nichols here but the sack belongs solely to Callahan.
Sack 2 - First quarter 6:02 (3rd & 9) - Roquan Smith
The Bears show another 4-man front here. Roquan Smith ends up rushing directly at the left guard. I am not sure if this was by design or not, but he ends up looping around Eddie Goldman and has a clear lane to take down Stafford. Akiem Hicks does an excellent job here of helping out Smith by beating his man and not allowing Stafford any room to move around the pocket. Whether by design or not, this was a great individual effort by Smith, who has proven to have a knack for blitzing.
Sack 3 - Third quarter 8:45 (1st & 10) - Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack is simply a destroyer of worlds. He gives a straight bull rush here against the right tackle, sheds him as he gets to Stafford, chops the arm—which almost causes a fumble—and takes down Stafford with ease. Mack has his big boy pants back on, and I am all a tickle! Watch Hicks though, he has another fine rush here and gets hogtied by the right guard. Bears seem to have a lot of non-called holdings this year...
Sack 4 - Third quarter 2:44 (1st & 10) - Leonard Floyd
FINALLY!!! The guttural scream at the end says it all. Floyd sets up a speed rush to the outside and gets the right tackle to over-commit. He then counters with a lightning quick spin move to the inside. I would have liked to see him actually bring Stafford to the ground, but it counts just the same. The right tackle wraps his arms around Floyd and doesn’t let go, so I will give him a pass on that, but great to see him finally notch that first one!
Sack 5 - Fourth quarter 14:25 (1st & 10) - Bilal Nichols
Both Nichols and Jonathan Bullard do a nice job on this play. Bullard pinches the end and creates a very tight pocket for Stafford. Nichols beats the left guard with a quick swim move and appears to trips and hits Stafford low. This could have been a penalty but perhaps the trip was obvious enough to keep the flag in the pocket. Either way, how impressive has Nichols been this season? I swear he’s flashed in every game this season.
Sack 6 - Fourth quarter 13:13 (3rd & 8) - Khalil Mack
I am not sure I have ever seen anything quite like this. Mack leaves not 1, but 2 blockers on the ground in his wake. Once again, he chops at Stafford’s arm, nearly causing another fumble but I’ll still take a sack. Mack sets up the tight end outside and swipes him away like a child, slightly off-balance, he recovers to engage the left tackle and push him back like a blocking sled. Seemingly in one motion, he engages, discards the blocking dummy, steps over him, and takes Stafford down, rolls over into a cartwheel. Simply amazing.
Pressure of the Week
Third quarter 3:39 (3rd & 5) - Leonard Floyd
In year’s past, one of Floyd’s signatures for getting sacks was on a twist, where he swings up the open middle. This is the first time this year that he has been successful at it. This was setup by Mack wrecking the double team and occupying both the right guard and tackle. Neither had any chance of getting to Floyd without Mack ruining their quarterback’s afternoon. Floyd takes advantage of this and gets Stafford in his grasp just before the throw. This was a great team rush to force an incompletion on a 3rd down.
Here’s how I have the individual* Rush Report after week 10.
Khalil Mack - 6
Roquan Smith - 3
Team Sacks - 3
Akiem Hicks - 2
SINO - 2
Roy Robertson-Harris - 2.5
Aaron Lynch - 2.5
Bryce Callahan - 2.5
Bilal Nichols - 1.5
Danny Trevathan - 1.5
Leonard Floyd - 1
Eddie Goldman - 1
Sherrick McManis - 1
Isiah Irving - 0.5
*These numbers do not reflect a players official statistics.