Tales from the Tape: Offense

The Bears' offense under Caleb Hanie had some good moments and a number of less-than-stellar moments. We got to the film room to discuss what the tape reveals about Chicago's offensive performance.

First quarter

-1st down. The Bears line up with two tight ends stacked on the right edge and QB Caleb Hanie under center. Hanie turns and hands the ball to RB Matt Forte on a stretch play to the right. Just before the snap, Oakland linebackers Rolando McClain and Aaron Curry both crowd the A gap between C Roberto Garza and LG Edwin Williams. Both defenders blitz, while DT Richard Seymour and DE Desmond Bryant rush from the outside. Williams and LT J'Marcus Webb not only fail to pick up the blitz, but they don't even bother to block the down linemen. Williams slides right across the face of McClain, and Webb just wanders around enjoying the scenery. Curry and McClain both reach the ball carrier in the backfield. The play goes for a 3-yard loss.

Williams had two awful blocks on the Bears' first two rushing attempts. As such, the offense couldn't establish the run early, forcing the ball into Hanie's hands. Better blocking here would have taken pressure of the quarterback and helped avoid the three-and-out.

G Edwin Williams
Bob Donnan/US Presswire

-2nd and 9. Hanie drops back to pass. From the left side, Seymour and LB Kamerion Wimbley run a cross stunt. Seymour shoots outside with Wimbley swing inside behind him. Garza picks up Wimbley. That leaves Williams and Webb to block one lineman. Williams does a good job of recognizing the stunt and passing Seymour off, but Webb isn't ready for the defender. In fact, as soon as he sees Wimbely start to step inside, he immediately looks lost. He lets Seymour right into the backfield. Luckily, Williams realizes Webb's mistake and spins around just in time to knock Seymour out of the path of the quarterback. Hanie steps up and takes off running. He picks up 17 yards and a first down.

This play shows three things: Webb still struggles in pass protection, on both the physical and mental ends; Williams is a much better pass blocker than run blocker, showing great awareness in pass protection; and Hanie is quite dangerous as a runner but needs to learn how to slide.

-On the next play, Webb false starts.

-1st and 15. Hanie drops back to pass. The Raiders bring five rushers but Chicago is using max protection and Hanie has time to throw. Nothing is open right away but there is still no pressure. Yet Hanie gets happy feet and decides to take off out of the pocket. As he's reaching the sideline, he lobs an ill-advised pass into double coverage, which is intercepted by CB Stanford Routt.

This is a typical Hanie play. He makes awful decisions at times and forces the ball into coverage. He did it throughout training camp and the preseason. Going forward, he needs to learn when to throw the ball away.

-2nd and 10. Hanie drops back to pass but then hands the ball to Forte on a draw. RT Lance Louis crashes down and clips both a linebacker and a defensive lineman. RG Chris Spencer swings outside right to lead block and turns DE Trevor Scott to the inside. Forte makes one cut to his right and has nothing but daylight ahead of him. He then puts one of his patented stutter steps on Routt and breaks into the secondary. He picks up 33 yards before being chased out of bounds.

Running behind the right side of the line is a much safer bet for Chicago's offense. Spencer and Louis do a great job of locking the entire front seven inside, opening up a huge hole to the right. Then Forte, as he always does, makes a defender miss and picks up a big chunk on the ground. This was the first good gain of the day for the Bears' offense.

-On the next play, Forte does a great job picking up a middle blitzer, allowing Hanie to get outside the pocket and scramble for a few yards. Forte has really improved his pass blocking this season.

-On Hanie's second interception, he tries to drop a pass in to Forte just over the linebacker's head. Yet Forte is being bracketed front and back, with S Michael Huff over the top. The pass sails high and Huff intercepts it. More Hanie negatives: staring down his intended receiver and throwing into coverage. If he had looked to his left, he would've seen Roy Williams open. A completion to Williams would have put the Bears in field goal range.

RB Marion Barber
Jason O. Watson/US Presswire

Second quarter

-The Bears were successful with one draw play, so coordinator Mike Martz kept going back to the well. The problem was the Raiders were ready for it each and every time. Yet Martz kept dialing up draws and Oakland kept stuffing them.

-1st down. RB Marion Barber runs up the middle. DE Desmond Bryant drives TE Kellen Davis down the line and is there to make the tackle. Yet Barber runs over the defender. He then breaks another tackle from S Tyvon Branch before being taken down by Huff. The play goes for 15 yards.

This was the opening play of Chicago's first scoring drive. It was a hardnosed run that set the tone for the offense. On the next play, Barber breaks two more tackles. The following play, he drags Branch four yards for the first down. Barber provided a spark when the offense desperately needed it.

-3rd and 8. The Bears line up with four receivers, two to either side of the play, with Hanie in shotgun. Before the snap, S Matt Giordano sneaks up to the line of scrimmage, showing blitz. At the snap, Giordano blitzes, as does Branch from the opposite edge. McClain also blitzes up the middle. Wide right, Knox runs a slant pattern across the face of CB Stanford Routt. Hanie recognizes the blitz and fires it quickly to Knox who breaks away from the defender for a 29-yard touchdown.

This was Cover 0, or man coverage with no deep safety. Hanie does a great job of recognizing the blitz and getting the ball quickly to his playmaker. Knox uses his speed to do the rest.

Third quarter

-2nd and 10. The Bears position two tight ends, Davis and Matt Spaeth, side by side on the left edge of the line. The Raiders overload the left side with two down linemen and a linebacker. At the snap, Hanie drops back to pass. Oakland rushes all three players off the left side. They also bring Branch on the blitz. Chicago's four blockers to the left of center cannot work together to get everyone blocked and Branch goes free. He takes Hanie down for 10-yard loss.

This was another communication problem on the left side of the line. The Bears stack the left edge, essentially daring the Raiders to bring pressure from Hanie's backside. The Raiders accept the challenge and Chicago can't handle it.

-Kellen Davis had a couple of nice blocks at the point of attack early in the game but as the contest wore on, he reverted back to his poor run blocking. As we've talked about all season, he comes slow off the ball and much too high, failing to get leverage on almost every occasion. Running directly behind is useless the majority of the time.

-On Trevor Scott's sack, Spencer and Garza look foolish. The two linemen have just DT Tommy Kelly to block, yet they both barely touch the defender, as if unsure whether the other guy is going to take him. Kelly rips right through the two arm blocks, forces a holding penalty on Spencer and flushes Hanie right into the arms of Scott.

C Roberto Garza
Kirby Lee/US Presswire

People have spoke all year about how well Garza has played. In watching the tape though, you see Garza getting pushed around a lot. He has a hard time gaining and keeping leverage when nose tackles come right at him. This play was just another example.

Fourth quarter

-2nd and 7. The Bears line up with Hanie under center. Williams is wide right; Knox is wide left. Davis is on the right edge of the line. Hanie drops back to pass. The Raiders use man coverage. Hanie looks toward Roy Williams, who is covered. He then looks at Davis over the middle, who is covered. He moves on to Clutts in the left flat, and he's covered. Hanie then moves his eyes to the left and fires a pass to Knox near the left sideline for a first down.

Hanie went through his full set of progressions on this play, which is a great sign. In the first half, he was locking on to his first receiver and firing it, coverage be damned. Yet in the fourth quarter he was very poised in the pocket and looked very comfortable with the play calling. He took what the defense gave him and threw the ball away when he needed to. If he can bring that same poise to next week's game, and avoid a complete first-half meltdown, the Bears should be able to handle the Kansas City Chiefs at home.

-3rd and 16. The Bears line up with three receivers and Hanie in shotgun. Knox is wide right with Williams in the slot. Hanie drops back to pass and has plenty of time to throw. Knox runs straight downfield. Routt runs with him for 15 yards and then passes the receiver off to S Matt Giordano. Hanie lets fly a bomb. Knox runs underneath it, quickly separates from the safety and makes an over-the-shoulder grab with one hand. He then races down to the Oakland 9-yard line. The play goes for an 81-yard gain.

This was the first real downfield shot the Bears took all game. I'm not sure why it took them so long because Hanie has the arm to make those throws, and Knox has the wheels to get open deep. This play brought Chicago back in the game and almost led to a late comeback. Going forward, I would expect Martz to utilize the deep ball more frequently.

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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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