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Bears Rush Report 2018: Week 1 at the Packers

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Green Bay Press Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK

Here it is folks, the Rush Report is finally here...and it’s a doozy! The Chicago Bears invaded Lambeau Field on Sunday night and dominated the first half of football, really the first 3 quarters if you look at the scoreboard. We all saw the outcome, so no need to rehash that here. What I am excited about is the new-look Bears pass rush!

Since the pass rush was so dominant in the first half, I thought that it would be fun to look at more than just the sacks. This is, after all, the Rush Report, and not the Sack Report, right? A pass rush can affect the game in ways other than just bringing down quarterbacks. Hurries can lead to interceptions, errant throws, and holding penalties. All of these are positive plays for the defense. So, let’s celebrate our new toys, shall we?

Week 1 at the Packers

Holding Call 1 - First quarter 13:33 (3rd & 10) - Akiem Hicks

Akiem Hicks beats Packers guard Justin McCray from the snap. Hicks gets into McCray’s body with a strong punch, uses his length to push him back and get him off-balance. After the initial punch, Hicks uses a swim move which McCray simply had no answer for. The only thing McCray could do at that point was to hook Hicks and basically jump on his back. This outstanding individual effort results in Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball away on 3rd down.

Holding Call 2 - First quarter 5:38 (3rd & 13) - Akiem Hicks & Leonard Floyd

Hicks gets McCray again on another 3rd down. Watch the bull rush mixed with some excellent hand fighting from Hicks. McCray again has no choice but to hold. The more egregious call—at least visually—was Leonard Floyd taking on David Bakhtiari. Floyd sets Bakhtiari up with a speed rush outside, plants his outside foot, then tries to swim to the inside. Bakhtiari has no answer for this counter move and puts Floyd in a Bear hug. Is he allowed to do that?

Side note: The development of this inside counter move that Leonard Floyd showed several times on Sunday night is a huge development. He might start slowly with the club on his hand and switching to the opposite side because of Khalil Mack but watch out for Floyd this year. He is poised for big things!

Sack 1 - First quarter 7:11 (1st & 10) - Akiem Hicks

Poor Justin McCray. I laughed out loud when I saw this in real time. When Hicks got under McCray’s right arm, he was completely at Hicks’ mercy. Hicks gets underneath McCray’s pads immediately and simply pushes him out of the way. Zero finesse, this is simply one man completely overpowering another. At one point, there were three different Packers offensive lineman blocking Hicks, and he still couldn’t be slowed. Bonus points for the strip-sack here as well!

Sack 2 - Second quarter 9:22 (3rd & 9) - Roy Robertson-Harris

I talked RRH up in the preseason edition of the Rush Report, and he certainly did not disappoint in his first game of the 2018 season! RRH is lined up on right guard Lane Taylor. He runs a tackle-cross stunt with Eddie Goldman. After Taylor passes him off to center Corey Linsley, RRH throws him to the ground, gets up-field, and takes down Rodgers. Had RRH not gotten to Rodgers here, it is very possible that Khalil Mack would have gotten there anyway. This is still good to see and not the only time these two teamed up for trouble.

Sack 3 - Second quarter 3:07 (3rd & 9) - Khalil Mack

This is the second time in this game that I literally laughed out loud. Seeing a player take the ball from the quarterback like this, just makes me think of the old saying about taking candy from a baby. Mack’s initial responsibility is to get a piece of wide receiver Devante Adams before rushing the passer. Once he does that, he just gives Bryan Bulaga a shove, then DeShone Kizer kind of just runs into his area... and you don’t want to run into Khalil Mack’s area.

Sack 4 - Second quarter 1:04 (1st & 10) - Roquan Smith

There is a part of me that wants to put this in the SINO (Sack in Name Only) category but since this was Roquan Smith’s first play in the NFL, I am going to give this one to him. This was 95% on Mack, who beat Bulaga like a drum on this play, but Smith didn’t give up. After initially being stonewalled by Ty Montgomery on the blitz, he was able to bounce off and continue his rush. It pays off with a sack and his first tally on the stat sheet.

Pressure of the Week

Second quarter 0:50 (3rd & 19) - Roy Robertson-Harris

You didn’t really think I would leave this play out, did you? RRH really had a nice game against the Packers. With the Bears showing a 3-man rush, RRH immediately beats Linsley with a rip move. His quickness and length got on Kizer before there was even a remote chance of this play working. Mack is in perfect position to make the interception and take it to the house.

Here’s how I have the individual* Rush Report after week 1.

Akiem Hicks - 1

Roy Robertson-Harris - 1

Khalil Mack - 1

Roquan Smith - 1

*These numbers do not reflect a players official statistics.