Tales from the Tape: Offense

Chicago's offense was done in Monday by a lack of pass protection and countless mental mistakes. After hours in the film room, JS goes over what the tape reveals from the 24-13 loss to the Lions.

First quarter

-1st down. RB Matt Forte runs up the middle. DT Ndamukong Suh is lined up across from RG Lance Louis. At the snap, Louis pulls to his right. RT Frank Omiyale tries to trap down on Suh, yet he's too slow off the ball. Suh flies inside to the area vacated by Louis, forcing Forte to bounce outside, where he's taken down for no gain.

It was obvious coordinator Mike Martz's game plan was to trap Suh on running plays. On numerous runs, Louis pulled and Omiyale crashed down. Yet on nearly every play Suh was able to get penetration before Omiyale is able to get a body on him. Omiyale had an extremely rough night pass blocking – which we'll get to in a second – but he also struggled to open holes for the runners.

-2nd and 13. Cutler drops back to pass. DE Cliff Avril rushes from the right side. He drives Omiyale into the backfield, then sheds the blocker and tips Cutler's pass attempt.

On this play, Omiyale's technique completely broke down. In an effort to beat Avril to the edge, Omiyale forgot all about his kick step, instead turning his hips and crossing his inside leg over his outside leg. When Avril hits him, Omiyale cannot keep his balance, as he never established a solid, wide base. He goes flying into the backfield, allowing the defender to get in Cutler's face and tip the pass.

Second quarter

-1st down. Forte runs on a stretch play right. Omiyale pulls right, followed by C Roberto Garza. Omiyale takes out the cornerback and Garza does a god job of sidestepping the pile before turning up field and diving at the linebacker's legs. Forte is able to turn the corner and he picks up 15 yards.


C Roberto Garza
Scott Boehm/Getty

This was just an outstanding individual effort by Garza to step around the traffic, keep his feet and still have the presence of mind to clear out the linebacker.

-The next play, the Bears run a screen to Kellen Davis in the right flat. Louis and Garza are ahead of the play, yet both completely whiff on their blocks. The play goes for a loss of a yard.

Chicago's front five has struggled blocking defenders in space all season. This was just another example of not just one, but two blockers failing to find and lock on to a defender.

-2nd and 11. The Lions run an overload blitz from the left side. Cutler takes one step back from the center and fires the ball to TE Kellen Davis running up the left hash. Davis makes the catch, breaks a tackle and picks up the first down.

This is how Davis should be used. He's big, fast and has good hands. He's too much for any linebacker or safety to handle one-on-one. When opposing defenses blitz, he should be the hot receiver every time. I've said it all year long, if the Bears don't start using him more in the passing game, they will be completely wasting a dangerous weapon. He moves the chains and scores touchdowns. It's time to stop using him as a blocker and take advantage of his ability as a pass catcher.

-3rd and 7. Cutler drops back to pass. Omiyale lets his man into the backfield. Cutler steps up and avoids the rush. Then LG Chris Williams allows DT Corey Williams to come through up the middle. Cutler makes a quick cut outside away from Williams and fires the ball as he's rolling out to Dane Sanzenbacher running a crossing pattern 15 yards down field.

Cutler was outstanding in avoiding the rush this game. He was sacked three times but had he not kept plays alive with his feet, as he did on this play, it easily could have been more than twice that number. He didn't just stand in and take hits this game. Instead, he did his utmost to keep Chicago's offense on the field

-For an in-depth example of Cutler extending a play on his own, click here to view this week's X-and-O Show.

Third Quarter

-1st down. Forte runs off-tackle left. Chris Williams is blown off the ball by Corey Williams. The defender then keeps Williams at bay by extending his arms, then sheds the blocker and takes Forte down after a 1-yard gain.

This is a pretty typical play by Williams, who just cannot road grade inside. He comes off the ball high and slow on a regular basis, and doesn't have the power to outmuscle defenders. He's much better suited for tackle, and considering how poor the tackles are playing right now, offensive line coach Mike Tice should be seriously considering sliding him outside.


WR Devin Hester
Gregory Shamus/Getty

-2nd and 9. The Bears line up strong right with Cutler under center. Tight ends Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth are stacked on the right edge. WR Devin Hester motions across the field from left to right, ending up about 10 yards inside the right sideline. At the snap, Cutler turns and fires to Hester on a zero-screen. All five offensive linemen plus Davis stay in to block Detroit's four down linemen. Only Spaeth clears to the flat to block for Hester on the bubble screen. Yet Spaeth barely gets a hand on the cornerback before he falls down. Within a second of catching the ball, Hester has the corner, two linebackers and a defensive end pinning him in. He decides to run backward 10 yards before being tackled.

An obvious correction on this play would have been to run forward instead of backward. Yet what kind of play call is a bubble screen where all five linemen plus the tight end stay in to block four rushers? Not a single player got to the second level to take out a linebacker. With Spaeth missing his block, Hester was left alone against four guys. He's good in the open field but not that good. This play never had a chance.

-The Bears start the following drive from their own 7-yard line. Cutler takes the snap from under center, fakes a hand off to Forte, then drops another three steps into the end zone. Suh beats Louis inside and DE Lawrence Jackson beats LT J'Marcus Webb to the outside. Cutler has two defenders barreling in on him the moment he crosses the goal line. He steps away from the pressure and throws off his back foot to FB Tyler Clutts in the right flat for no gain.

This was the worst play call of the game in my opinion and truly demonstrates how stubborn Martz can be. From the start of the game, the front five offered Cutler no pass protection. Yet, when the team was backed up inside its own 10, Martz calls a seven-step drop that pulls his quarterback into the end zone. As was par for the course all night, two blockers let their men through and the Lions almost picked up a safety.

-Next play, Forte runs off-tackle right. The line traps Suh at the point off attack, with Omiyale crashing down and Louis swinging outside as the lead blocker. Omiyale finally gets off the ball quick enough to drive Suh inside, picking off Corey Williams in the process. Louis and Garza get to the second level and each grab a linebacker. Kellen Davis seals the defensive end on the right edge. Forte follows Louis through a big hole and picks up a block from Hester on the safety, springing him for 16 yards and a first down.

One encouraging aspect of the offense the past two weeks has been Martz's commitment to the run, as well as how productive they've been on the ground. Detroit boasts a strong front seven, yet the Bears piled up 122 rushing yards for the game. This play shows that when the players all commit to their assignments and execute, Chicago's run game can be very productive, even against quality defenses.

-2nd and 11. Cutler drops back to pass. Suh plows into Louis and drives him back. Yet Louis shifts his feet and rides Suh past the quarterback and into the ground. Omiyale, again, can't handle DE Cliff Avril on the edge and lets him through to the inside. Yet Avril gets tripped up and lands just at the quarterback's feet. Cutler swings out of the pocket to his right and finds WR Sam Hurd coming across the field. Hurd picks up an additional 15 yards down the sideline. The play goes for a 28-yard gain.


QB Jay Cutler
Leon Halip/Getty

Here was just one more example of the line failing and Cutler using his feet to keep the play alive. He keeps his eyes down field the entire time, entices the linebacker to come forward, then lobs the pass over his head. It was a great individual effort.

-1st down. RB Marion Barber runs off-tackle left. WR Dane Sanzenbacher is in the left slot. At the snap he sprints inside to crack block on CB Eric Wright. Yet as he's about to make the block, he slows up and dives out of the way of the pile of bodies coming toward him. Wright fills the hole, forcing Barber to bounce outside, where he's taken down after a 3-yard gain.

If Sanzenbacher makes the crack block, this play would have had a chance. Instead, he completely shies away from contact, allowing Wright to disrupt the run. This was arguably the worst individual effort of the night. Omiyale got destroyed but at least he was trying.

-On the next play, Barber runs up the middle. C Roberto Garza crashes into Corey Williams at the point of attack. Yet Williams drives Garza into the ground, plugging up the hole. The play goes for a one-yard loss. This was just a poor effort on Garza's part.

-3rd and 18. Cutler drops back to pass. DE Willie Young comes off the right edge and runs right past Omiyale, who barely gets a hand on the rusher. Young sacks Cutler for a loss of 8 yards.

Omiyale was benched to start the next series. Over and over on Monday night, he was unable to get out of his stance quick enough to stay in front of the opposing defensive ends. On the vast majority of pass plays, the defender is a foot into the backfield before Omiyale even moves. On the other side, J'Marcus Webb repeatedly put himself in good position to start the play. But as soon as the defensive end started to turn the corner, Webb would stop moving his feet and try to lunge at the defender. These are fundamental mistakes by these two – getting off the ball, moving your feet, keeping your shoulders square – which they repeat time and time again.

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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.


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