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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2021: Week 12 vs Detroit Lions

Only one sack allowed to break down this week!

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

For only the second time this season the Chicago Bears only allowed a single sack in a game, but considering the other time was also against the Detroit Lions way back in week 4, I think that says more about Detroit than it does the Bears. But I did think Chicago’s overall pass protection was solid throughout the entire afternoon in Detroit. Back in week 4 the Bears started Justin Fields at quarterback, and he was responsible for that sack allowed, but Fields’ pocket awareness and internal clock has sped his last few games. I’m looking forward to seeing him get back out there once he’s healthy.

But not before his ribs are fully healed.

While Andy Dalton doesn’t get anyone excited, he is a serviceable pro, and the Bears should be extra cautious with Fields. If he has any lingering discomfort then keep him inactive for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Of course I’d much rather watch Fields play, but if he’s not 100%, then Dalton can get another start.

The first injury report will be out later today so stay tuned...

And now let’s get to the lone sack allowed this week!

Sack 37 - 4th Quarter 13:49 - Levi Onwuzurike
The Bears tried to go with a play action pass here on second down, but the stagnant curl routes didn’t fool anyone. Dalton made his fake, got to the top of his drop, and then had no one open. Would it kill the Bears to do a whip route with Darnell Mooney where he presses up field, turns to curl inside, then darts out to the sideline? Or how about a true option route where the receiver threatens vertical then cuts in or out depending on the leverage of the defensive back? I’m not watching the All-22 film as intently as some others, so I defer to the film grinders out there to tell me if the Bears obsession with the curl route is real, or if it just seems that way.

Here’s the sack from the sideline view.

In a prefect world when Dalton sets his feet he’d be ready to fire the ball, but he has no one to throw the ball to. There are two underneath defenders zoning up to take away the curls around the hashmarks, and that makes it a tight window to hit tight end Cole Kmet. Mooney’s curl on the right is near the numbers, but the corner is right with him. The slot receiver, Jakeem Grant, runs a wheel route, but then doesn’t take it up the sideline. And the receiver to the left, Damiere Byrd, probably has the speed to outrun his guy, but the single high safety is roaming too close.

Here’s the end zone view.

Dalton looks to Mooney for his first read (covered), then comes back to Kmet for for his second (covered), and then the pressure leaks through before he can work to his third read. Lion defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike pushed right guard James Daniels back too quickly, but it’s possible Daniels was expecting some help from right tackle Larry Borom, who looked confused on this play.

Borom should have continued working down the line, but he stops when he sees the linebacker shoot up to fill the hole. The linebacker is the responsibility of the running back, David Montgomery, who picks him up after the fake. Left guard Cody Whitehair is pulling to the right to pick up the edge defender outside of Borom, so Borom likely forgot that Montgomery and Whitehair were both covering up anything to his right.

Daniels is beat, so he’s getting blame on this one, but I think it’s safe to say that if Borom does his job correctly then Onwuzurike isn’t getting to Dalton. I’m splitting this sack allowed between Daniels and Borom.

But I do want to point out that Dalton probably could have spun out the backdoor to the left when he felt the pressure in the pocket.

Here’s how many sacks the Bears have allowed through week 12 going back to the 2010 season.

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
2021 - 37 Nagy

And here’s the individual 2021 Sackwatch tally after 11 games:

Sacks happen - 8
Justin Fields - 7
Jason Peters - 6
Cody Whitehair - 3.5
Germain Ifedi - 3
James Daniels - 2.5
Lachavious Simmons - 2
Larry Borom - 1.5
Alex Bars - 1
Khalil Herbert - 1
Andy Dalton - .5
Sam Mustipher - .5
Cole Kmet - .5