X-and-O Show: Seahawks 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 awful 23-20 defeat to the surprising Seahawks at Soldier Field.

Bears on Offense: Field-Goal Range No More
Third quarter. 3rd and 6 at the Seattle 30-yard line. The Bears line up in a three-receiver set, with QB Jay Cutler under center. The three receivers are on the right side of the formation, with TE Greg Olsen lined up on the left edge. RB Chester Taylor is alone in the backfield. The Seahawks counter with a dime package. Three down linemen are supported by only one linebacker. CB Marcus Trufant is lined up a yard across from the outside receiver, Johnny Knox. The other two corners are 10 yards across from the two inside receivers. S Lawyer Milloy is lined up deep yet, just before the snap, creeps up to the right edge of the line, just outside of DE Raheem Brock.

At the snap, Cutler drops back to pass. Brock stunts inside and sweeps around NT Craig Terrill. RT J'Marcus Webb sees Brock move inside and inexplicably follows him. RG Edwin Williams and C Olin Kreutz both pick up Terrill, yet they allow Brock to slide right behind and through the line. At the same time, Milloy blitzes off the edge. Because Webb had followed the defensive end inside, Milloy has a free run at the quarterback. He hits Cutler and hangs on long enough for Brock, who came through the line unblocked, to finish the tackle. The play goes for an 11-yard loss.

This play was crucial, as it knocked the Bears out of field-goal range. Had the play gone for any gain, or even no gain, Gould could have kicked a field goal. In a 23-20 loss, taking a sack here basically cost the team an opportunity for the win. Recently, much of the analysis in this column regarding the offensive line has been technique-based. But in this situation, it is assignment-based. This was the second time Webb allowed a blitzing defender to run right past him. For some reason, on both occasions he felt the need to follow the defensive end inside. Even though he's a rookie, Webb should know it is his job is to protect the edge. Additionally, LG Chris Williams did not notice Brock coming through on the stunt and left him a lane to the QB. When an offensive line is re-shuffled weekly, continuity can never develop, especially when players are lining up in positions of unfamiliarity. Until the coaching staff establishes an every-week front five, missed assignments like these will be the norm.

CB Zack Bowman
Scott Boehm/Getty

Bears on Defense: Bowman Gaffe
Third quarter. 3rd and 4 at the Chicago 44-yard line. The Seahawks line up in a four-wide set, with QB Matt Hasselbeck in the shotgun and RB Justin Forsett to his left. Two receivers are bunched just off the left edge of the line, with WR Deon Butler wide left. One receiver is split right. The Bears employ a nickel package. Four down linemen are supported by two linebackers. CB D.J. Moore and S Danieal Manning are up tight on the two bunched receivers, while CB Zack Bowman is a yard across from Butler. S Chris Harris is the only deep defender. Just before the snap, Butler motions until he is just outside of the two bunched receivers. Bowman follows him.

At the snap, Hasselbeck drops back to pass. The two bunched receivers both run inside patterns, taking Manning and Moore with them. Butler fakes as if he's running a crossing pattern, but then he turns and breaks to the outside. At the same time, Bowman continues running toward the middle of the field and gets caught up behind Moore. When Butler makes his break, Bowman is five yards down the field from the receiver. Hasselbeck hits the wide-open Butler at the 42-yard line. The receiver then breaks toward the sideline before Bowman finally catches up to him and pushes him out of bounds. The play goes for a 15-yard gain.

This was the only third-down play on a touchdown drive the Seahawks began at their own 8-yard line. A stop here keeps them out of field-goal range. Instead, Seattle converts the third down and goes on for the game-winning touchdown. Bowman needed to keep his eye on his man. Instead, he looks briefly across the field, apparently thinking Butler was going to motion completely to the other side. In the process, he loses sight of the receiver and ends up five yards deep and behind his own player. On a 3rd and 4, being caught that far off a receiver is just giving the opponent the first down. This was a well-designed play that just ate Bowman up. One has to wonder why Chicago's offense didn't run quick-hit plays like this in order to convert at least one of their 12 third-down attempts.

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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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