With the Chicago Bears being on bye this week, we're going to spend extra time in the film room breaking down extensively this week's 24-18 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London and more. We start off with a double dose of X-and-O, looking at two offensive snaps from Sunday's victory.
Forte for 39
First quarter. 2nd and 1 from the Tampa Bay 31-yard line. The Bears break the huddle in a two-tight end, power-I set with QB Jay Cutler under center. FB Tyler Clutts then shifts out wide left, leaving RB Matt Forte alone in the backfield. TE Matt Spaeth then motions from the left side over to the right edge of the line, just outside of TE Kellen Davis. The Buccaneers counter with a base 4-3. The front seven shifts to the offense's right, toward the strong side. S Sean Jones walks up into the box on the weak side before the snap.
RB Matt Forte
At the snap, Cutler hands the ball to Forte on a stretch play to the right side. C Roberto Garza and RG Chris Spencer pull right. Davis and RT Lance Louis seal down on the play-side defensive end and defensive tackle. LG Chris Williams gets a good reach block on DT Frank Okam, cutting him off from the play. On the play side, Speath picks up LB Geno Hayes, turns the defender to the outside and drives him toward the sideline. At the point of attack, Spencer puts a great block on Adam Hayward, taking his legs out just before he gets to the ball carrier. LT J'Marcus Webb gets to the second level and knocks the weak side linebacker to the ground. Forte cuts up field between the blocks of Spaeth and Spencer. Garza then cuts off Jones in pursuit. Out in front, WR Roy Williams drives CB Aqib Talib 15 yards off the line of scrimmage and out of the play. S Tanard Jackson comes up to make the tackle but Forte cuts inside of him without being touched. He then sidesteps Okam in pursuit and streaks across the turf. Clutts is all the way down field at this point and he cleans CB Ronde Barber's clock. Forte then walks into the end zone for a 39-yard TD.
This was possibly the best-blocked run of the entire season for Chicago's offense. Every single player did his job in blocking for Forte. Williams and Speath drove players to the sideline, Webb dropped a backside linebacker, Davis and Louis sealed the defensive line, Garza and Spencer both sent defenders to the ground leading the play, and Clutts dropped Barber 20 yards down the field to finish the touchdown run. Forte just did what he's been doing all year. His combination of vision, awareness, patience and elusiveness in the open field is unmatched in the NFL right now. If the line keeps improving, as they have the past two weeks, the Bears' rushing attack will continue to control games … assuming Martz doesn't persist in bailing on the run.
Cutler channels inner Grossman
Fourth quarter. 2nd and 10 at the Chicago 32-yard line. The Bears line up in a three-receiver set with Cutler under center. Roy Williams is split right with Davis in the slot. WR Johnny Knox is wide left. Forte is deep in the backfield with Clutts offset to his right. The Bucs counter with a 4-3. LB Geno Hayes swings out to cover Davis in the slot. LB Quincy Black is showing blitz across from LG Chris Williams. Before the snap, S Corey Lynch creeps up into the box on the weak side.
QB Jay Cutler
Richard Mackson/US Presswire
At the snap, Cutler drops back to pass. Black blitzes up the middle but is picked up by Williams. Clutts flares into the right flat and is covered by MLB Adam Hayward. LDE Michael Bennett comes off the right edge. RT Lance Louis does not pick him up though, instead choosing to double down on the defensive tackle. Forte dives at Bennett's legs but the defender side steps the block and is in the backfield. On the backside Webb is beaten by DE Adrian Clayborn on a quick edge rush. At the same time, Davis runs a seven-yard hook just outside of the right hash. He has Hayes in coverage behind him. Cutler stumbles backward and gets rid of a wobbly ball before he's hit by Bennett and Clayborn. Lynch creeps over, slides under the pass and picks it off. He returns it to the Chicago 20-yard line.
The Bears were up 21-5 at this point early in the fourth quarter. The Bucs would go on to score, brining life back into their team. The next thing anyone knew, Tampa was driving with less than two minutes for a potential game-winning score. Lynch did a good job of sliding under the play and Cutler never saw him. It was a good defensive call. Yet a number of things went wrong for Chicago on this play. Louis should have picked up Bennett off the edge, instead of doubling down on the tackle. Bennett had a full head of speed and Forte had no chance at blocking him. And Webb, as he's done all season, failed to move his feet and allowed a defender to go right around him. Cutler saw the rush and instead of stepping up into the pocket, he floated backward and threw the pass off his back foot. There was no reason to force this throw. A sack, although not ideal, would have been fine in that spot. His poor decision on this play nearly gave the Bucs the momentum they needed to erase a 16-point fourth-quarter lead.
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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.