While the total output wasn’t huge at just 2 sacks, this was quite possibly the most impressive the Bears pass rush has been all season. There were pressures and hits from the beginning of the game through the end. At no point—outside of some garbage time at the end of the game—was Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins comfortable in the pocket against this Bears defense.
The Bears have really turned it on since 2 odd showings versus the Dolphins and Patriots, and it all starts up front. Make no mistake, the Bears penchant for making quarterbacks uncomfortable is directly responsible for the secondary leading the NFL in interceptions. We are watching excellent team defense right now, but let’s get to the sacks, shall we?
Week 11 vs the Vikings
Sack 1 - Third quarter 1:52 (1st & 10) - Khalil Mack
This was just a simple tackle-end twist by Khalil Mack and Bilal Nichols. Nichols does a great job of giving himself up and occupying both offensive lineman on the left side, allowing Mack a clean look at Cousins. The first thing to notice is how Mack always goes for the ball first, knowing that he has the sack in his back pocket. This is as easy as they come, thanks to our friend Bilal Nichols.
Sack 2 - Fourth quarter 12:33 (3rd & 2) - Akiem Hicks
This was another pretty easy sack. The Vikings are zone blocking and slid the protection to the left side. The Bears have Mack and Danny Trevathan in on that side along with strong safety Adrian Amos in the box. This causes the center to turn to his left to account for a blitz, should one come. Akiem Hicks takes a hop-step to the right, which leaves the right guard to double-team Leonard Floyd along with the right tackle. Before anyone can realize where Hicks is, he has thrown 330 pounds of beef onto Cousins. Hicks gives a cursory swim here, but it wasn’t really necessary.
Pressure of the Week
Second quarter 13:24 (3rd & 9) - Khalil Mack
There were a lot of other plays that I considered here. Hicks’ phantom roughing the passer or Floyd forcing the interception to Amos, but this play is impressive and had Cousins held the ball just a hair longer, this is yet another strip-sack from Mack. The other thing is that this came on a 3rd down and forced a punt. I love what Vic Fangio is doing right now and this Bears defense is really playing with an attitude.
Here’s how I have the individual* Rush Report after week 11.
Khalil Mack - 7
Roquan Smith - 3
Team Sacks - 3
Akiem Hicks - 3
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.