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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2018: Week 16 vs. San Francisco 49ers

NFL: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The pass protection wasn’t the cleanest for the Chicago Bears on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, but Mitchell Trubisky was still able to complete a career high 86.2% of his passes. According to Pro Football Focus, only one of his 4 incomplete passes came while he was under pressure. NFL Matchup on ESPN has Trubisky with the seventh highest passer rating while under pressure at 80.2. His growth in the offense has been a factor in that, but so has his athleticism and his comfort in scrambling with his eyes up.

Even though Trubisky was sacked three times against the ‘Niners, his 2018 sack percentage is still much lower than a year ago. As a rookie he was sacked 8.6% of the time, and this year it’s 5.6%. The Bears’ total this season is 6.4%. Trubisky’s percentage is 11th in the league, while the Bears’ total is 16th.

The tough defense of the Minnesota Vikings is up next for the Bears, but the last time they played (week 11) they only got to Mitch once. In fact, Trubisky’s first seven games this year his sack percentage was 6.3, but in his last six games that number has decreased to 4.5%.

Sackwatch after 15 games

2010 - 50 Martz
2011 - 42 Martz
2012 - 43 Tice
2013 - 29 Trestman
2014 - 39 Trestman
2015 - 29 Gase
2016 - 25 Loggains
2017 - 38 Loggains
2018 - 33 Nagy

Sack 31 - First Quarter 4:37 - Cassius Marsh
This sack came on a first and 15 following a Bobby Massie ineligible man downfield penalty. Getting into a hole on first down is usually a recipe for disaster. San Francisco’s Cassius Marsh was working against left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and it was a quick move back to the inside that freed him up to make the play.

I don’t think this was a designed stunt, but rather just Marsh reading the play in front of him and seeing an opening to shoot inside. Leno was in good position with his feet, but he wasn’t able to get any kind of punch on Marsh, who maintained some distance then made a quick swim after controlling Leno’s inside arm. Leno seems to have been surprised by the inside move because his feet were slow.

This one is on Leno.

Sack 32 - Second Quarter 5:49 - Cassius Marsh
Marsh picked up his second sack on a Trubisky scramble that got back to the line of scrimmage. The dreaded zero yard sack...

This time Marsh was working on right tackle Bobby Massie, and Massie does a good job mirroring him. Watch Massie’s feet and hands work in unison as Marsh first fakes inside, then tries to get around the edge. Now watch Trubisky as he decides to take off even though he has a clean pocket.

It was first and ten, so I’m not sure what prompted Trubisky to take off. It looked like he had a small window to hit the second receiver to his right, but the slot defender didn’t bite on the play action fake and kept dropping. There’s also the possibility that someone ran the wrong route with as quickly as he took off, but regardless, this sack is on the QB.

Sack 33 - Fourth Quarter 13:04 - DeForest Buckner
Buckner has been playing good football this year and he got to Trubisky for his 12th sack on the season. This was a hustle sack with Buckner working all the way from the Bears’ left B-gap through the right side A-gap. The Bears played it good with left guard James Daniels not chasing, center Cody Whitehair staying home, and running back Jordan Howard tracking the blitzer.

Whitehair did get a little too high, and I’d like to see right guard Bryan Witzmann look for some work and deliver a shot to Buckner, but the sack came after a scramble. Since it was Buckner’s initial pressure that got Trubisky off his spot, I feel like I should at least give Whitehair half the blame on this one. But then the ‘Niners cut off Trubisky’s escape route leading him back into the sack which was unfortunate.

I’ll go half to Whitehair and half to Sacks Happen for the 49ers making a nice play.

Individual Sackwatch through 15 games:

Sacks Happen - 12.5
Mitchell Trubisky - 6
Charles Leno Jr. - 4
Bobby Massie - 3
Kyle Long - 2
Chase Daniel - 2
Bryan Witzmann - 1.5
Cody Whitehair - 1
Dion Sims - .5
Eric Kush - .5