X-and-O Show: Lions vs. Bears

Jeremy Stoltz goes to the film room to break down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Chicago Bears from Sunday's bizarre 19-14 victory over the Lions at Soldier Field.

Bears on Offense: Goal-Line Ineptitude
Fourth quarter. 4th and 1 at the Detroit 1-yard line. The Bears line up in a goal-line set, with three tackles and three tight ends. QB Jay Cutler is under center and RB Matt Forte is stacked behind TE Brandon Manumaleuna, who is in the fullback position. On the right edge is TE Kellen Davis. On the back edge is TE Greg Olsen. The Lions line up with all but three defenders on the line of scrimmage. Six down linemen are supported by three linebackers and bookended on the right side by backup linebacker Isaiah Ekejiube.

At the snap, Cutler turns and hands the ball off to Forte running off-tackle right. C Olin Kreutz, LG Roberto Garza and LT Chris Williams all use chop blocks on the backside, only Kreutz fails to take down DT Corey Williams. This forces Manumaleuna to cut inside and pick up Williams on the lead block. RT Frank Omiyale blocks down on DT Ndamukong Suh, as RG Lance Louis swings behind and kicks out DE Turk McBride. On the backside, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch breaks down the line toward play side, and Olsen just touches him as he goes by. At the point of attack, Davis steps up to block Ekejiube, yet he just stands there with his hands on the defenders' shoulder pads. Forte rushes into the off-tackle hole, and Ekejiube sheds the block of Davis and stonewalls the runner. Vanden Bosch then grabs Forte from behind, and LB Zack Follett finishes off the tackle. The play goes for no gain, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Questioning coach Lovie Smith's decision to go for it on fourth down, when a field goal would have given Chicago the lead is valid, as like questioning why a QB sneak wasn't called on any of the four plays from the 1-yard line, yet the fact of the matter is had any Bear decided to make a block, Forte could have scored. Kreutz was unable to cut down his man, thus occupying the lead blocker, and Olsen watched his defender go by and make the tackle all the way from the opposite side of the field. And then there is Davis, a 6-7, 262-pound blocking tight end who couldn't even get in the way of a third-string linebacker. Had any of these three executed, Forte would have been able to score the go-ahead touchdown. This play didn't fail because the Lions out-schemed the Bears. It failed because the Detroit players just flat-out wanted it more – that seemed to be the case for Chicago's offense all game.


DE Mark Anderson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Bears on Defense: Anderson Against the Run
Second quarter. 2nd and 8 at the Detroit 10-yard line. The Lions line up in a two-receiver, two-tight end set, with QB Matthew Stafford under center. RB Jahvid Best is alone in the backfield, while TEs Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler are both on the left edge of the line. One wide receiver is split to either side. The Bears counter with a base 4-3. The four down linemen have three linebackers behind them. The corners are playing tight to the receivers, with the safeties in two-deep coverage. No one is showing blitz.

At the snap, Stafford turns and hands the ball off to Best running off-tackle right. RT Gosder Cherilus puts a solid block on DE Julius Peppers, while NT Anthony Adams is also driven off the line, opening up a gap on the right side. On the backside, LB Lance Briggs blitzes off the left edge and is picked up by Scheffler. At the same time, DE Mark Anderson flies straight down the line, shedding the block of Pettigrew with ease. DT Tommie Harris also holds his position and slides down toward play side. Best receives the handoff, and Anderson makes the tackle in the backfield almost immediately. The play results in a 3-yard loss.

Anderson has always been known for his pass-rushing skills, yet his run-stopping ability has always been in question. If he can demonstrate consistently this type of athleticism against the run, the defensive line could turn out to be one of the best in the league. And for as much flak as the Bears have taken in the day and a half after this first win, the reality is this defense, sans the final drive, played extremely well. They gave up 20 rushing yards on the game, and only 168 yards total – more than a third of which came on the final drive. They also forced three turnovers. Obviously, they weren't facing the New Orleans Saints, but putting up those types of numbers against any NFL team, no matter the skill level of the opposing offense, justifies the braggadocio the defensive players showed after the game.


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Jeremy Stoltz is the editor-in-chief of The Business Ledger, the business newspaper for suburban Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.


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