If you caught my guest spot of Jeff and EJ’s fantastic Bears Over Beers Podcast last week, you would have heard me say that I’m getting sick and tired of writing Sackwatch. It’s not that I don’t enjoy breaking down some film from time to time, but if I’m being honest, it’s the idiotic sacks that piss me off each week.
- When the quarterback leaves the pocket when there’s no pressure, which nine times out of ten leads to the offensive tackle losing leverage on the defender.
- When the quarterback is flushed from the pocket and instead of throwing it out of bounds (to save the loss in yards), he takes the sack, or even more maddening, he runs out of bounds.
- And lastly, the zero yard scramble that the NFL counts as a sack instead of a zero yard run.
If these types of sacks are kept to a minimum this season then I’ll be good.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, the players, and the quarterback himself, Mitchell Trubisky, have all talked about how Mitch’s pocket presence has improved this offseason. More comfort in the pocket will go a long way in eliminating that first one up there, but he’ll need to show some more situational awareness to eliminate that second one.
That third one is just a dumb-ass rule that the NFL needs to address.
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
Sack 1 - 4th Quarter 9:23 - Trey Flowers
This strip sack could have been much worse as the Bears were in the midst of their 4th quarter comeback, but thanks to some hustle from Charles Leno Jr., the Bears got the ball back for a 4th and 41 instead of Detroit recovering the ball in scoring position.
Here’s how it looked as we all watched it on TV.
This #Bears play resulted in a FOURTH AND FORTY ONE! Not great, Mitch Trubisky. (Nice play by Trey Flowers, though). #Lions pic.twitter.com/fPMisXBORH— Jonathan Deutsch (@JonathanD_TV) September 13, 2020
My initial thought was that Trubisky never should have tried the spin around and run backwards move that Russell Wilson has mastered, but then on a second viewing — thanks to the super late All-22 (thanks NFL) — he probably should just have hit Tarik Cohen who slipped through the line after checking on his pass block responsibility.
Mitch even pumps and pulls it back down, which could have been from him seeing his tight end, Jimmy Graham, collide with the Lion linebacker, but the play design with Graham crossing with wide out Darnell Mooney, who came from the left to the right, helped clear both defenders allowing Cohen to sit down for what could have been an easy catch.
The only other receiver that was in a throwing window was Anthony Miller, who comes across the top of the above GIF, but Trubisky would have had to hold in the pocket for another split second while taking a gather step backwards.
Once he does pull it down to scramble, he should have darted to his right, which was the direction Miller was headed.
Since his o-line holds the pocket, and since there were two viable other options on the play, I gotta pin this sack on Trubisky.
Flowers, Detroit’s right defensive end that was working on Leno, was held in check on the play, but Trubisky’s backwards scramble caused Leno to lose leverage. Flowers kept hustling and he poked the ball out getting credit for the sack.
But I don’t want this one play to make it look like I’m piling on Mitch.
After re-watching the game I thought he was better with his decision making in the first three quarters than I originally thought. His accuracy could be cleaned up a bit, which would be helped out on some throws by settling down with his mechanics, but overall there’s something to build off for him and the coaches.
I even shared a clip of him that I thought showed some growth and comfort in what he’s seeing from the defense.
Nice play by Trubisky here. His right tackle had to block down as the blitzer was the most dangerous rusher, but that left the defensive end free. Mitch had to recognize the free rusher, make a move, and deliver the pass. #Bears pic.twitter.com/F2ior1Ojtr— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) September 15, 2020
Now granted, this was against the Lions and their stubborn to a fault head coach Matt Patricia, so let’s see how Trubisky does this Sunday against the New York Giants.
But only 1 sack allowed is a heck of a start to the Sackwatch this year!
Bears’ sacks allowed through Week 1 going back to the Mike Martz era:
2010 Sacks - 4 (Martz)
2011 Sacks - 5 (Martz)
2012 Sacks - 2 (Tice)
2013 Sacks - 0 (Trestman)
2014 Sacks - 2 (Trestman)
2015 Sacks - 2 (Gase)
2016 Sacks - 5 (Loggains)
2017 Sacks - 4 (Loggains)
2018 Sacks - 4 (Nagy)
2019 Sacks - 5 (Nagy)
2020 Sacks - 1 (Nagy)