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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2019: Week 17 vs. the Minnesota Vikings

Lester breaks down all 4 of the sacks the Bears allowed against the Vikings.

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

“I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that the my 2019 Sackwatch will be my smallest one yet.”

That was the final sentence in my Sackwatch from a year ago and it was apparently just the first in a string of bad predictions I made about the 2019 Chicago Bears season. Players more comfortable in a scheme and coaches more familiar with their players should have led to a more efficient offense, but the overall pass protection this season gave me flashbacks to the Mike Tice era of offensive football.

Here’s how I had the individual tally for 2012 when Tice was the offensive coordinator:

Jay Cutler - 11
Gabe Carimi - 7
J’Marcus Webb - 5
Sacks Happen - 3
Chilo Rachal - 3
James Brown - 3
Kellen Davis - 2
Roberto Garza - 2
Matt Forte - 2
Lance Louis - 2
Chris Spencer - 2
Micheal Bush - 1
Matt Spaeth - 1
Jonathan Scott - 1

The Bears managed to go 10-6 in what turned out to be head coach Lovie Smith’s last in Chicago in 2012, and Tice’s offense put up a 28th ranked 310.6 yards per game. In 2019 Matt Nagy’s offense put up a 29th ranked 296.8 yards each game.

The Bears allowed a sack percentage of 8.3 in 2012 with Cutler getting sacked 8.1% of the time. In 2019 the Bears took a sack 7.2% of the time with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going down 6.9% of his pass attempts.

The pass protection, which includes the quarterback’s awareness, must improve in 2020 if the Bears expect their offense to bounce back from this awful season.

Sackwatch after 16 games:

2010 - 56 Mike Martz
2011 - 49 Mike Martz
2012 - 45 Mike Tice
2013 - 30 Marc Trestman
2014 - 41 Marc Trestman
2015 - 33 Adam Gase
2016 - 27 Dowell Loggains
2017 - 39 Dowell Loggains
2018 - 33 Matt Nagy
2019 - 45 Matt Nagy

And now let’s break down the four sacks the Bears allowed against the Minnesota Vikings.

Sack 42 - First Quarter 1:28 - Stephen Weatherly and Kentrell Brothers
It looks like center Cody Whitehair called out the linebacker to the left as the Mike (middle linebacker) to set the protection and with running back Tarik Cohen immediately darting out to the flat that tells me that this is a straight five man protection form the Bears, meaning the offensive line is at the very least responsible for the four down defensive linemen from the Vikings.

If the Mike would have blitzed he would have been picked up by left guard James Daniels. A blitz from the right would be the responsibility of the QB, but for some reason right tackle Cornelius Lucas comes off the defensive end to his right (#91 Stephen Weatherly) and squeezes down to stop the blitzer (#40 Kentrell Brothers), but he really didn’t do much of anything though.

I don’t know if Trubisky would have been prepared for the blitz or not because Lucas opened the door for Weatherly to fly off the edge so quickly. This sack allowed is on Lucas.

EDIT: Then again, thanks to former Bears great and current NBC Sports analyst, Olin Kreutz, who Tweeted me his thoughts, I’ll change this one to Sacks Happen because the Bears got out-schemed.

I still think it’s a poor decision by Lucas, but if his rule is protect the inside gap first and he deemed the linebacker a more dangerous threat, then I can’t fault him to for checking inside. I just think with the timing of the play and how the Vikings played it, the bigger threat was the defensive end.

Sack 43 - Second Quarter 8:27 - Eric Wilson
I’m a big fan of a first and ten play action, but I’m not a fan of the effort here from right guard Ted Larsen. By Larsen whiffing on his assignment, that put running back David Montgomery in a situation where he had to help Larsen out. Had Larsen stayed with his man, Montgomery would have been there to pick up the blitzing Eric Wilson.

I really like the design by the Vikes against Chicago’s left side as they blitzed safety Andrew Sendejo off the edge which forced their left tackle and guard to fan out, which made the center have to come to his left as well, which in turn opened the hole for the blitzing Wilson to come through. But had Larsen stuck with his man, Montgomery would have been there for the blitz, so I have to place blame for this one on Larsen.

Sack 44 - Fourth Quarter 6:53 - Armon Watts
Another play action pass and another poor effort by the Bears pass protection. This time it’s center Cody Whitehair that gets caught with his head out too far over his feet and is in no position to stop Armon Watts from getting to his QB. Trubisky tries to step up away from the sack, and he actually evades it, but the ball was knocked loose which makes this a strip sack.

This play is a good representation of a lot of Chicago’s offensive line woes this season. Everyone does their job fairly well except one person, and that one person’s error leads to a negative play.

Sack 45 - Fourth Quarter 6:25 - Ifeadi Odenigbo
On the very next play the Vikings get another strip-sack, but this time they recover the fumble, and just like the last play the Bears did a decent across the board except for one player.

Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. tried to push defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo past the pocket, but he didn’t get him deep enough. Leno should have gave a little more resistance to the edge rush and kicked him another yard out before letting him around. He just didn’t move his feet quick enough to stay with the pass rush and on the close up replay you can see the long step where he lost leverage. This sack allowed is on Leno.

Final 2019 Individual Sackwatch:

Mitchell Trubisky - 15
Sacks Happen - 9
Charles Leno Jr. - 5.5
Cody Whitehair - 3
Chase Daniel - 2.5
Bobby Massie - 2.5
Kyle Long - 2
Ted Larsen - 2
Cornelius Lucas - 1.5
Rashaad Coward - 1
James Daniels - 1

For comparisons sake, here’s how I had it in 2018:

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

And here’s the final individual Sackwatch for 2017:

Sacks Happen - 13
Mitchell Trubisky - 4
Charles Leno Jr. - 3.5
Bobby Massie - 3.5
Bradley Sowell - 3.5
Hroniss Grasu - 2.5
Mike Glennon - 2
Josh Sitton - 2
Jordan Howard - 1.5
Kyle Long - 1
Cody Whitehair - 1
Benny Cunningham - 1
Zach Miller - .5