Defense: Finley's Third TD
Fourth quarter. 3rd and 9 at the Chicago 11-yard line. The Packers line up in a four-receiver set with QB Aaron Rodgers in shotgun. To the right, TE Jermichael Finley is out wide and WR Jordy Nelson is in the slot. The Bears counter with a nickel package. LB Lance Briggs is across from Nelson and CB Tim Jennings is three yards in front of Finley. The two safeties, Craig Steltz and Brandon Meriweather, are both standing near the goal line, each covering the deep half. Before the snap, RB James Starks motions from the backfield into the right flat. No Bears defender follows him, indicating zone coverage.
At the snap, Rodgers drops back to pass. The Bears rush just the front four and do not get any pressure. Starks runs a quick out and is picked up by Briggs. Nelson runs a six-yard hitch and has LB Brian Urlacher near him. On the outside, Finley stutter steps off the line then swims past Jennings, who lets the receiver go by him. Yet Steltz does not roll over the top to Finley's side. The tight end is wide open at the goal line. Rodgers hits him for his third touchdown of the afternoon, putting the Packers up by an insurmountable 17 points.
Steltz said after the game he'd have to watch the tape to find out what went wrong on this play. Well, it doesn't seem to be too difficult to figure out. The two inside receivers ran short routes and were covered underneath by the linebackers. Steltz did not have to worry about either player. Meriweather had the other half of the field covered, so Steltz didn't have to worry about that either. No, all Steltz had to do was make sure no player caught a pass in the end zone on his half of the field. Instead, he stays in the middle of the field and watches as Jennings passes Finley, who had already scored two touchdowns in the game and had established himself as Green Bay's most-dangerous weapon, into a wide-open area for the touchdown. Honestly, Steltz might as well have not been on the field during this play. This score put the game out of reach for the Bears.
Offense: Burnett's Interception
S Morgan Burnett
First quarter. 1st and 10 at the Chicago 32-yard line. The Bears line up in a two-receiver set with QB Jay Cutler under center. TE Kellen Davis is on the left edge of the line and TE Matt Spaeth is behind in him in the wing spot. RB Matt Forte is off-set right and WR Roy Williams is split right. WR Devin Hester is wide left. The Packers counter with a base 3-4. All four linebackers are up on the line of scrimmage showing blitz. CB Tramon Williams is giving Roy Williams an eight-yard cushion. S Morgan Burnett is the only deep player, as S Charlie Peprah is playing a few yards off the line of scrimmage.
At the snap, three of the four Packers linebackers blitz. Only Desmond Bishop drops back in coverage. Cutler drops back to pass. The offensive line does a great job of picking up the six rushers. Spaeth and Davis stay in to help block and lock up the remaining defenders coming off the left edge. A nice pocket forms for Cutler. At the same time Roy Williams runs a 10-yard hitch and go. Tramon Williams bites on the initial move and Roy Williams flies right by him. Cutler sends a lofted ball to William's inside shoulder. Burnett, who had slid over to that side of the field on Cutler's pump fake, slides under the ball. Williams sees the ball but doesn't make a play on it. Instead, Burnett is able to go up basically untouched and pull down the interception.
Three things went wrong on this play. First off, it was a great play call that had Tramon Williams totally fooled. The double move left him five yards behind the receiver. Yet Cutler did not need the pump fake. Devin Hester was running a streak down the left side of the field. If Cutler pump fakes left instead of right, Burnett would have taken a false step left and would have never gotten to a ball on the right side of the field. Second, Cutler should have fired that pass with authority instead of floating it deep and to the inside. By laying it up there, he gave the safety plenty of time to get underneath the pass. Third, Williams should have made a play on the ball. Once he saw the pass was inside and that Burnett was coming his way, he decided not to make any effort at the ball. He watched Burnett make the interception, instead of going up and fighting for it. At the very least, he could have tried to break up the pass. I've been saying it since training camp: Williams is no different a receiver than he was in Dallas.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.