Giving up no sacks a week ago was the annual anomaly from the Chicago Bears in the Matt Nagy era, so I wasn’t surprised that the Sackwatch would be busy again this week. In 2018 the Bears had one game with zero sacks allowed, and they duplicated that feat last year, so that may mean that last week’s Sackwatch is the lone game for the the 2020 season with no sacks allowed.
Donald may have had only a half a sack, but his fingerprints were all over this game. The Bears often had to slide protection to his side, and by knowing that the Rams were able to scheme blitzers free and confuse Chicago’s pass protection with zone blitzes.
The Rams managed to pressure Bears’ quarterback Nick Foles on 37.2% of his dropbacks, with Donald’s 8 pressures leading the way for L.A.
Sack 12 – 2nd Quarter 2:55 – Greg Gaines and Aaron Donald
What makes Donald such an incredible football player is more than athletic ability, film study, and technique, because there’s no one that plays with a higher motor than he does. Take this sack for example; he starts out lined up on Chicago’s right tackle Bobby Massie, then his first move takes him into right guard Germain Ifedi, but he quickly works down to center Cody Whitehair, before deciding to loop around fellow defensive tackle Greg Gains to get a piece of Foles.
This wasn’t a stunt, it was just Donald hustling and probing the pass protection until he found an opening. Foles steps up into the sack after coming off his first two reads, but it was the relentlessness from Donald that led to Foles going down. Gains gets half of this sack when left guard Rashaad Coward lost leverage, but you can’t fault Coward on this one as he kept his body between his man and the pocket. Once Foles steps up and had Donald in his face he has no choice but to go down.
But let’s go a little deeper into the play.
Foles took the snap, gathered his feet, then wanted to fire the ball to Allen Robinson, but he re-cocked his arm to go to Cordarrelle Patterson, but Patterson was settling down and the Ram defender was too close to risk the throw.
But what happened on the first read to A-Rob? I’ll let Robert Schmitz take the rest of this one.
Want to know what DBs think of the #Bears offense? Check out ARob’s matchup at the top of the screen, who lines up in off coverage and just doesn’t move. He knows ARob isn’t running a vertical.
This isn’t the look of an offense that puts anyone on their heels. Has to get better. pic.twitter.com/YE26KrX1Mt
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) October 27, 2020
That defensive back was just waiting to pounce on the curl, so Foles made the right decision to hold the ball.
Good coverage in the secondary and good hustle by L.A.’s pass rush puts this one in the Sacks Happen category.
Sack 13 – 2nd Quarter 2:00 – Leonard Floyd
I think we all knew that Floyd would have a big game against his former team, and with 2 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 6 pressures (per Next Gen Stats), he was all over the field for the Rams.
This one wasn’t even a fair fight against Massie.
Lining Floyd and his 4.6-forty-speed up in a wide 9 technique and letting him get some momentum built up before juking the slow footed Massie was too easy. This was a third and 10, so an obvious passing situation, and Floyd was in full attack mode. Floyd’s brief jump/hesitation move causes Massie to reach, and to borrow from some basketball slang, Floyd probably told him, ‘you reach, I teach,’ as he sprinted by. This sack allowed is on Massie.
Sack 14 – 4th Quarter 9:12 – Justin Hollins
This was a fourth and 4, so Foles had no choice but to stand in there and wait for a receiver to open up. He does a nice job of evading the rush from Donald, who split the center-right guard double team from Sam Mustipher and Ifedi, and another wide 9 rush from Floyd, but as he steps up he runs right into the waiting arms of Hollins, who started off like he was going to cover running back David Montgomery.
Left tackle Charles Leno would have picked Hollins up had he initially rushed, but with the linebacker dropping he then turned his attention inside. Coward also does his job on his pass set by stonewalling his man.
This was a nice play by the Rams, but it was the pressure from Donald and Floyd that made this sack happen, so blame for this will be the rare sack allowed trifecta with Massie, Ifedi, and Mustipher all taking a third of the culpability.
Sack 15 – 4th Quarter 1:42 – Leonard Floyd
As if the speed from Floyd and Donald weren’t enough to stress an offense on a normal pass rush, on this play the Rams use them on an E-T stunt with Floyd, who is lined up as their right end, dips inside as Donald, who is lined up as their left defensive tackle, loops around him.
The speed in which Floyd attacks his inside move causes Leno to quickly squeeze down, but he does a nice job in recovering to accept the stunting Donald. The ferocious bull rush by Floyd pushes Coward back too quickly and he’s able to slip the block to nab Foles for the sack. If Floyd didn’t get home first it would have been Donald on the sack, but since it was the ex-Bear, this sack allowed is on Coward.
2020 Individual Sackwatch after 7 games:
Historical Sackwatch after 7 games:
2010 – 31 Martz
2011 – 21 Martz
2012 – 25 Tice
2013 -11 Trestman
2014 – 17 Trestman
2015 – 13 Gase
2016 – 13 Loggains
2017 – 17 Loggains
2018 – 16 Nagy
2019 – 19 Nagy
2020 – 15 Nagy