Tales from the Tape: Offense

Hours in the film room … check. Full in-depth analysis of Bears offense from Sunday's 24-18 win over the Bucs … check. Subscribers learning more about their team … check.

First quarter

-3rd and 7. The Bears line up a three-receiver set with QB Jay Cutler under center. WR Johnny Knox is in the left slot. At the snap, LT J'Marcus Webb allows DE Adrian Clayborn to get penetration inside. Cutler has to scramble out of the pocket to his left. He can't find anyone to throw to and has to cut back into the pocket to avoid the rush. As he's approaching the line of scrimmage he heaves a ball on the run 10 yards beyond Knox near the left sideline. The pass falls incomplete.

Chicago's receivers have had major problems getting open after Cutler buys time with his feet. On this play, Knox runs a 15-yard out pattern, which is covered initially. After Cutler starts scrambling, Knox just roams around in that sideline area. If, when he saw his QB buying time, he had taken off downfield, it would have been an easy touchdown. The safety was already underneath him and Knox would have been wide open 30 yards down the field. The Bears wideouts must figure out how to find the open areas when plays break down and give Cutler a target at which to throw.

-Click for an in-depth breakdown of RB Matt Forte's 39-yard touchdown run.

-2nd and 4. The Bears line up a three-receiver set with Cutler under center and Forte alone in the backfield. TE Kellen Davis is standing up just outside of Webb. WR Roy Williams is a few yards outside of Davis. The Bucs are using a nickel package, with CB Ronde Barber lined up in the SAM spot. At the snap, Cutler pitches to Forte running wide left. Davis cracks down on Clayborn, driving him to the inside. Webb and C Roberto Garza pull left to lead the play. Williams smashes down on Barber and seals him inside. Webb gets outside and kicks out CB E.J. Biggers. LB Quincy Black reads the play and scrapes off the edge. Yet just as he's about to hit Forte at the line of scrimmage, Garza steps in and knocks the linebacker off his feet. Forte turns the corner and picks up 14 yards.


RB Matt Forte
Streeter Lecka/Getty

This was one of a number of running plays on the afternoon in which the blocking was perfect. Davis and Williams seal inside, Webb gets a good kick out block and Garza takes out the linebacker, clearing a lane for Forte. The chemistry amongst the front five is building.

-2nd and 10. The Bears line up in a power-I set with Cutler under center. FB Tyler Clutts and RB Marion Barber are stacked in the backfield. At the snap, Cutler turns and fakes a handoff to Barber up the middle. The Bucs blitz and three defenders get into the backfield. Yet it's a screen and Cutler lobs a pass to Barber in the right flat. At the same time, LG Chris Williams gets out in front of the play, yet he looks lost in the open field. S Tanard Jackson breaks on the pass and Williams sees him too late and can't get him blocked. The ball tips off Barber's hands right to Jackson, who intercepts the pass and returns it to the Chicago 12-yard line.

Barber has to make this catch. It was a high pass but it hit the runners' hands. There was no excuse for him not bringing this pass in. Yet it would not have been an interception had Williams been able to make a block in the open field. He finds Jackson too late and can't hold him up. As a result, Jackson is in perfect position for the pick. Even if Barber had caught the pass, Jackson would have very likely stuffed him behind the line.

-1st and 10 at the Chicago 1-yard line. The Bears line up trips right with Cutler under center and Forte alone in the backfield. At the snap, Cutler hands to Forte running up-the-middle right. At the point of attack, DT Frank Okam drives Garza backward into the backfield. Forte slams into the back of Garza and has to bounce outside. On the backside, Kellen Davis attempts to block Clayborn, yet he barely touches him, allowing the defender to slide down the line of scrimmage. Forte tries to get out of the end zone but Clayborn is right there. CB Ronder Barber comes up and finishes the play, which goes for a Tampa Bay safety.

Overall, Garza had a poor game. He made a few nice blocks but the majority of time he was blown off the ball like he was on this play. By Garza getting driven backward, Forte has nowhere to go, which leads to the safety. And Davis should have at least slowed up Clayborn on the backside, instead of just watching him fly down the line toward the point of attack. It was just all-around putrid execution on this play that cost the team two points.

Second quarter

-1st and 10. Chicago lines up in a power-I set. Forte gets the ball running up-the-middle left. On the right edge, Kellen Davis tries to block DE Michael Bennett. Davis stands up and tries to catch Bennett, yet the defender just blows right by the arm block. On the play side, Clayborn stands up J'Marcus Webb, then extends his arms and sheds the blocker. Both Clayborn and Bennett take Forte down at the line of scrimmage.


T J'Marcus Webb
Grant Halverson/Getty

This is just par for the course for Webb and Davis when it comes to power blocking. Davis never comes strong off the ball, instead almost always trying to absorb the defender into his body. It never works and repeatedly defensive linemen go right past him. He's the worst power blocker on the team, plain and simple.

-While RT Lance Louis wasn't awful, he did struggle at times. He's much better than Frank Omiyale ever was at the position but it's obvious Louis is more comfortable at guard. It's good to know he can fill in at tackle if need be but he's better off inside.

-3rd and 7. The Bears line up in a five-receiver set with Cutler under center. Roy Williams is in the left slot, with CB E.J. Biggers in his face. The backfield is empty. The Bucs have five down linemen and are showing blitz off the right edge with S Corey Lynch. At the snap, all five defensive linemen rush and are picked up well. Williams uses a quick side step at the line, forcing Bigggers to completely whiff on his jam attempt. Williams releases past him and is wide open. Cutler hits him at the 10-yard line and the receiver takes it in for a touchdown.

This was a great job by Williams of beating the jam. Biggers attempts to chuck him but he uses a stutter step and leaves the cornerback with nothing but a handful of air. Within two seconds of the play's start, he was wide open in the secondary.

-2nd and 9. The Bears line up trips right with Cutler under center and Forte alone in the backfield. Cutler fakes a handoff then rolls right. He outraces the pursuit and throws on the run to Knox on the sideline. Knox makes the catch and tip toes in bounds for the first down.

It seems like this was the first roll out coordinator Mike Martz has called all season. It worked like a charm and Cutler looked good throwing on the run. We'll see if Martz will continue to utilize his signal caller's ability to make perform outside of the pocket.

Third quarter

-It would take us days to go over all the good things Forte did in this game. He ran with speed, power, quickness and elusiveness, and showed unbelievable field vision. When the plays weren't blocked well, he still made defenders miss. He used a number of juke moves and a deadly stiff arm, breaking at least one tackle on almost every run. There is no back in the league that is running with as much confidence as him. He's leading the race for NFC Offensive Player of the Year and would be the top MVP candidate if not for Aaron Rodgers, who has already locked up the award in the minds of the voters.

-1st and 10. The Bears line up trips left. Cutler drops back to pass and is given plenty of time to throw. Knox, who lined up wide left, runs 10 yards down field then cuts behind the second level of coverage. Cutler fires a bullet and fits the ball into a tiny window between the safety and linebacker. Knox hauls in the pass and picks up 23 yards.


WR Johnny Knox
Warren Little/Getty

Martz dialed up a number of quality plays in the passing game which exploited the soft spots in Tampa Bay's zone coverage. The receivers did a good job of getting to those spots. And while his numbers weren't all that great, I felt Cutler had a quality performance. On this play, he throws a perfect pass just over the second level of defense, hitting Knox in stride. When he has time to throw, Cutler can be very effective.

-2nd and 10. Cutler drops back to pass. Clayborn rushes to the outside of Webb then uses an inside swim move, clubbing Webb to the outside. The defender takes down Cutler for the sack.

Webb continues to be unimpressive on the left edge. He so often falls back on his heels and quits moving his feet. All Clayborn had to do on this play was push him, and Webb went flying,, allowing the defender a clear path for the sack.

-3rd and 1. The Bears line up power left with Cutler under center and Barber alone in the backfield. Cutler hands the ball to Barber running up the middle. Garza and Spencer double-team DT Roy Miller. Louis locks up on Bennett and seals him outside. As Barber hits the big hole, Spencer is able to peel off the double team and get a hand on LB Quincy Black, keeping him inside. Barber then breaks a couple of tackles and rumbles 11 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

This was a very good run by Barber, finding the hole and then running with power. Yet without Spencer's block, this play doesn't go for a score. Spencer is able to not only keep the defensive tackle inside but he also clears out a linebacker, which gives the runner the room he needs.

Fourth quarter -Click for an in-depth breakdown of Cutler's second interception.

-3rd and 1. Cutler hands the ball to Barber running up-the-middle right. Kellen Davis tries to block Clayborn on the left side. Clayborn instead shoots inside, gets leverage and drives his way down the line. He's able to get in front of Barber and take him down for a loss of a yard.

I don't mean to harp on Davis but his blocking, or lack thereof, is seriously hurting the team. Martz has to stop relying on him to block defensive ends or plays like these will continue to take place.

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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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