The Chicago Bears are slightly under last year’s pace in the Sackwatch, but considering the Bears are throwing it at a higher rate than in 2019, the pass protection has been better this year. In fact, when you go by sack percentage, this year’s pass protection is the best it’s been since the 2016 season.
Here are the historical total sacks allowed plus the year end sack percentages.
2010 - 47 Martz (10.7%)
2011 - 38 Martz (9.4%)
2012 - 38 Tice (8.3%)
2013 - 22 Trestman (4.9%)
2014 - 30 Trestman (6.3%)
2015 - 23 Gase (5.9%)
2016 - 24 Loggains (4.8%)
2017 - 31 Loggains (7.6%)
2018 - 29 Nagy (6.1%)
2019 - 35 Nagy (7.2%)
2020 - 33 Nagy (6.0% so far)
Part of this year’s improvement has to do with Nick Foles’ getting the ball out a bit quicker (his sack percentage is 5.5), but we’ve also seen improvement the last three weeks from Mitchell Trubisky. Since getting back into the lineup, Trubisky has been sacked at a 6.6% clip, which is lower than the 7.5% he was sacked at in the first three weeks.
Considering all the changes the Bears have made to their offensive line this year, it’s surprising to see them in the middle of the pack at 17th overall in sack percentage.
This Tweet about a team’s sack rate came across my timeline today, so since it was timely to this article, I wanted to throw it in here.
I know it's still not mainstream to understand how much a QB controls his sack rate. Yes, there are some plays where all QBs would get sacked. But in general, the QB is hugely responsible for his sack rate.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 16, 2020
Or the 5 oldest starting QBs in the NFL have the best 5 best OLs lol pic.twitter.com/oUWmknc2ND
Sack 31 - First Quarter 7:30 - Eric Murray
This was a 3rd and 8 for the Bears on Houston’s 39 yard line, and the Texans had a well designed play on. They sent defensive back Eric Murray, who was lined up over the number two receiver (Anthony Miller) as a fourth pass rusher attacking the Bears’ left side. Houston occupied Bears’ center Sam Mustipher, left guard Cody Whitehair, and left tackle Charles Leno Jr., which left Murray with a free rush. Normally this would be the responsibility of the quarterback, but running back David Montgomery either saw it all the way and jumped across the formation to pick him up, or this was his rule given the look the defense gave him.
Montgomery just misses Murray, who has a five yard head start on him, This is a really tough block to ask Montgomery to make, but with no hot receivers available to Trubisky’s left, it’s a block he has to make.
The Bears needed 8 yards, so they all mostly ran past the sticks, meaning there’s no one ready for a quick pass in case of a blitz. This was a nice design by Houston, but since Montgomery was in position to make the block, he gets the blame for missing it.
Sack 32 - Second Quarter 1:08 - Tyrell Adams
This wasn’t the best play by Montgomery on this one either, as he let A.J. Moore Jr. (#33) knock him back into Trubisky’s lap. Montgomery should have been closer to the line of scrimmage when he contacted the Texan DB.
Trubisky probably wanted to hit tight end Cole Kmet coming across the field, but Houston dropped linebacker Jacob Martin (#54) off the line to spy, and as luck would have it he was right in Cole’s path.
Adams didn’t get the sack on this, but his quick pressure had Trubisky ducking right into the waiting arms of Tyrell Adams (#50). Adams, who is lined up in Chicago’s right B-gap runs a stunt with Charles Omenihu (#94), who is lined up on the nose. Right guard Alex Bars picked up Omenihu coming to him, but center Sam Mustipher stayed with his man too long and wasn’t in position to get Adams coming back to him.
I’m gonna split the sack allowed on this between Montgomery and Mustipher, and with Mustipher previously on the hook for just a third of a sack, this means I need to add fractions with different denominators for his Sackwatch total.
Sack 33 - Fourth Quarter 5:16 - Eric Murray
This was another nice design by the Texans as they sent Murray on this third and 11 play, thinking the Bears wouldn’t have anyone short for Trubisky to throw to. But had running back Ryan Nall not looked to immediately help out on J.J. Watt, who was working on tight end Cole Kmet, Nall would have been in position to pick up Murray. Nall did see Murray late and he tried to come back for the block, but he wasn’t quick enough.
Trubisky first wanted to scramble to his right, but Watt was waiting for him, which led to the spin move. At this point he was too deep in the pocket and had no where to go but down.
I’m gonna give this one to Nall, but I can’t be 100% certain he wasn’t instructed to immediately help on the dangerous Watt.
Here’s the 2020 individual Sackwatch after 13 games:
Rashaad Coward - 4
Bobby Massie - 3⅓
Mitchell Trubisky - 3
Sacks Happen - 3
Cody Whitehair - 3
Charles Leno Jr. - 3
Germain Ifedi - 2⅓
Nick Foles - 2
Jason Spriggs - 2
David Montgomery - 1.5
Alex Bars - 1.5
Jimmy Graham - 1.5
Ryan Nall - 1
Sam Mustipher - 5⁄6
Cole Kmet - .5
James Daniels - .5