Before I write my Sackwatch each week I always scroll back through the WCG archives to get the historical sack allowed numbers to make sure my running totals are easily comparable. I’m usually irritated by some of the high sack allowed totals from years past, but this week I was irritated by something else entirely.
If you’re one of those Chicago Bears fans that get all fired up if anyone dare say a disparaging word about Mitchell Trubisky, then consider this a spoiler alert and your cue to click away.
Trubisky took another unnecessary sack against the New York Giants.
Here’s another spoiler alert. If you’re the type of Bears fan that is mortified if anything Packer related is ever mentioned then skip over the next quote.
“Football is a game of inches and inches make the champion.” ~ Vince Lombardi
In a game where every inch matters, why hasn’t Trubisky mastered the art of chucking the ball out of bounds when he’s outside of the pocket?
He did it again on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.
“Obviously that can’t happen,” quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said Monday from Halas Hall. “Mitch got a little confused on the run where he was at on the field.”
Trubisky has done this his entire time as a professional and I would know, I’ve broke down every sack of his career and made accompanying GIFs for each week’s Sackwatch.
He even made this same blunder in a goal line drill during training camp in August.
“When you are on a scramble you have to throw the ball away,” head coach Matt Nagy said after practice that day. “He knows that. We told him that. Those are critical errors that we can’t have. He’s not going to do that again. He’s going to fix it and move on.”
There’s no reason a 26-year-old, 4-year veteran should be consistently making this mistake.
Now on to this week’s breakdown.
Sack 26 - Second Quarter 3:20 - Za’Darius Smith
This was the play where Mitch was face-masked a couple times before losing the ball, so this play never should have happened. If the Bears had a higher profile QB there would have been several flags thrown, but since the Bears are the Bears, no dice on the penalty.
Za’Darius Smith is lined up in the B-gap between left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and left guard Cody Whitehair, and on the snap he attacks Whitehair. He shows a token juke move, but he was bull-rushing all the way. With such quick up the middle pressure there’s no where for Trubisky to step up to as he feels some pressure from the right edge.
Right tackle Germain Ifedi didn’t take a good angle to cut off the edge, but he kept his body between his man and his quarterback.
Whitehair gave up too much ground, but center Sam Mustipher was sloppy in picking up the Green Bay defensive tackle when right guard Alex Bars passed him off. Mustipher didn’t get his body in front of the defender and once he lunged he was beat, but since it was Whitehair that got beat first, this sack is on him.
Sack 27 - Third Quarter 13:26 - Kamal Martin
Trubisky takes the snap from under center on this 2nd and 4 play, he drops back while scanning the field, but then starts to drift to the right (Why?) before ultimately deciding to run out of bounds for a three yard loss.
Rookie 5th-round draft pick Kamal Martin was happy with Trubisky’s decision, because as the Packer closest to Mitch he was credited with the first sack of his career.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, in a 27 to 10 game that the Bears had no chance on winning, running out of bounds to make it 3rd and 7 instead of throwing it away to keep it 3rd and 4 may not seem like a big deal, but this type of shit has been happening for four years now.
Sack 28 - Third Quarter 13:10 - Preston Smith
And then on the very next play the Bears allowed an actual sack. Preston Smith was working on left tackle Leno and this was another bull-rush that got home. Trubisky tried to step up to avoid the pressure, but Smith was able to grab him as he tried to evade the pressure.
This one is on Leno, but before we move on take a look at Mustipher and Whitehair block the Packer stunt. Green Bay brings the linebacker (Za’Darius Smith) all the way from Chicago’s right B-Gap across to Whitehair, while Whitehair’s man (Kenny Clark) tries to work back past Mustipher.
I also like right guard Alex Bars taking a moment to squeeze down in case Smith was going to work against him, before shuffling out to get a shot in on Rashan Gary, who was working on right tackle Germain Ifedi.
Here’s how many sacks the Bears have allowed through week 12 going all the way back to the Mike Martz coordinated offenses.
2010 - 41 Martz
2011 - 27 Martz
2012 - 35 Tice
2013 - 17 Trestman
2014 - 27 Trestman
2015 - 19 Gase
2016 - 22 Loggains
2017 - 27 Loggains
2018 - 23 Nagy
2019 - 32 Nagy
2020 - 28 Nagy
Chicago’s sacks allowed is better than last years pace, but if Trubisky continues to start these remaining games they could catch up. Mitch’s sack percentage last year was 6.9%, this season it’s at 7.0%, but the unathletic and statuesque Nick Foles is at 5.5% in the eight games he’s played this year.
Then again, if the Bears are able to run the ball more consistently with the revamped offensive line, that would cut down of how much they need to throw and keep those sack numbers down. In 2018, when the Bears had more balance, Trubisky’s sack percentage was a career best 5.2.
Here’s the 2020 individual Sackwatch after 11 games:
Rashaad Coward - 4
Bobby Massie - 3⅓
Mitchell Trubisky - 3
Sacks Happen - 3
Cody Whitehair - 3
Charles Leno Jr. - 2
Nick Foles - 2
Jason Spriggs - 2
Alex Bars - 1.5
Jimmy Graham - 1.5
Germain Ifedi - 1⅓
Cole Kmet - .5
James Daniels - .5
Sam Mustipher - ⅓