The Chicago Bears have allowed a league high 27 sacks this season and a lot of the talk this week has been about whether or not the offensive line can handle the scheme Mike Martz has brought to town.
“That whole group is growing together and (offensive line coach Mike Tice) has done a remarkable job,” Martz said of the offensive line.
If that’s true, can you imagine what this group would have been like without the assistance of Tice?
So what are the Bears chances of being contenders while allowing their quarterback to be hit week after week? I did some research on that very question, and this is what I found.
My wonder came with this, the ultimate question that every team their fans should ask every season: Are we good enough to win the Super Bowl? I wondered how many teams have been in the top 10 in the NFL in the sacks allowed category and made the playoffs, or better yet, won the Super Bowl?
Let’s go all the way back in time to the year 2005.
In 2005 none of the teams in the top 10 in sacks allowed made the playoffs. In fact, only two (Minnesota and Dallas) had winning records.
In 2006 Seattle was tied for fourth with 49 sacks allowed and finished the year 9-7, winning the NFC West. They would eventually lose to our Chicago Bears in the Divisional Round. They were the only top 10 team in sacks allowed with a winning record.
In 2007 Pittsburgh went 10-6 and won the AFC North while allowing 47 sacks on the season (tied for 7th most). They would lose in the Wild Card Round. They were the only team with a winning record that season in the top 10 in sacks allowed.
In 2008 Minnesota went 10-6 winning the NFC North despite allowing the 7th most sacks in the NFL. New England went 11-5 while allowing the 5th most. Pittsburgh went 12-4, allowing 49 sacks on the year, 4th most in the NFL. These were the only teams in the top 10 who had records better than .500. Minnesota lost in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. New England missed the playoffs altogether. Pittsburgh would go on to win Super Bowl XLIII.
Last season only Green Bay made the playoffs while being in the top 10 in the sacks allowed category. They led the league with 51 allowed. The Packers went 11-5 on the season, one of two teams who finished above .500 despite their sack allowed totals (Pittsburgh the other at 50). Green Bay lost in the Wild Card Round to Arizona.
So, in the last five years there have been just five teams who have been in the top ten in the sacks allowed category and have gone on to the playoffs. Pittsburgh, with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, accounts for two of those and the most successful. The 2008 Patriots are an odd circumstance, missing the playoffs despite going 11-5.
Unless you believe that this Bears team is as talented as those Pittsburgh teams of the past you better hope that the line gets things together. History is not on their side if Cutler continues to hit the sloppy Soldier Field turf.