Tales from the Tape: Offense

Chicago's offense floundered for the fourth game in a row against the Seahawks, mustering just on touchdown on Sunday. We look back at the film to find out what went wrong with this group.

First quarter

-On Chicago's second pass of the game, DE Chris Clemons comes off the left edge. LT J'Marcus Webb lunges at the defender, yet Clemons spins inside. Webb is left with a handful of air. Clemons forces QB Caleb Hanie out of the pocket and into a rushed throw that falls incomplete. This was a common theme throughout the game. Webb just does not have the balance to stay in front of quicker defenders, especially on inside moves.

-3rd and 6 at the Chicago 7-yard line. QB Caleb Hanie is under center. WR Johnny Knox is wide left and WR Earl Bennett is in the slot. S Kim Chancellor is up near the box, leaving just S Earl Thomas deep. Before the snap, Brandon Browner backs off Knox, giving him a seven-yard cushion. At the snap, Bennett runs an out pattern, pulling the nickelback with him. Knox utilizes the cushion given to him and runs a post pattern. Hanie hits him coming out of the break. It's a 17-yard gain but Knox fumbles the ball away.

This play was designed perfectly to take advantage of the one deep safety. Knox runs a post underneath both the safety and cornerback, into the vulnerable spot in Seattle's coverage. Hanie throws a nice pass and hits his receiver in stride. It was arguably his best pass of the day. Knox probably should've just taken the yards and gone down but it's hard to blame a guy for trying to make a play. He was lost for the season after getting hit going after the fumble. Both Knox and Cutler were lost on plays where Chicago's offense turned the ball over – just one more reason to put a premium on ball security.

-1st and 10. The Bears run a screen to Kahlil Bell in the right flat. No lineman gets out in front of the play though and Bell is dropped for a loss of five yards. Both Spencer and Louis double-team the same defensive linemen. One, or both, should have been out blocking for the screen – a big mental mistake that put Chicago's offense in 2nd and long.


WR Earl Bennett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

-2nd and 14. The next play, Bennett starts wide right and runs a 20-yard in route. Hanie finds him over the middle. The pass is high but Bennett pulls it in, with a defender on his back, for the first down. This was the only pass thrown Bennett's way all day. He's caught just three passes the last four games. It's amazing Chicago's offense, for an entire month, has not been able to get the ball to its best pass catcher.

-2nd and 8. TE Kellen Davis lines up on the left edge. He releases from the line and turns back to his quarterback after four yards. Hanie hits him for the easy completion. Davis breaks a tackle and picks up the first down. I've been calling for this play all season. Every time they run a quick hitch to Davis, it works. Yet they use it once every three games. This should be a staple of this offense.

-2nd and 7. Bell runs off-tackle right. On the backside, DT Alan Branch explodes off the ball and knocks Webb right on his butt. Branch makes the tackle for a 1-yard gain. Not only does Webb struggle protecting the quarterback's blindside but, as this play shows, he's not a powerful run blocker either. One whose balance is so poor that he can get knocked flat off the ball.

Second quarter

-1st down. Bell runs off-tackle left. RG Chris Spencer pulls right to lead block, as does LG Edwin Williams. RT Lance Louis is supposed to crash down on Branch, yet he comes off slow and the defender gets penetration. Branch crashes into Williams, never allowing him to get out in front of the runner. Without Williams leading the play, Bell has nowhere to go and is taken down after a 1-yard gain.

Louis' inability to come down quickly and take Branch out completely blows up this play. Chicago's right tackle must get back to being the player he was a month ago, because the new Louis has been awful.

-3rd and 8. Hanie drops back to pass. Williams and C Roberto Garza double-team Branch. LB David Hawthorne then comes on a blitz up the middle. Williams recognizes the blitz and gets a piece of Hawthorne as he's coming through, giving Hanie enough time to roll out and find WR Dane Sanzenbacher for the first down.

For as bad as Williams is as a run blocker, his awareness as a pass blocker is off the charts. He's great at recognizing the pressure schemes and reacting properly. If he could maul in the run game, he'd be a keeper, as he's the team's best pass-blocking lineman.

-Hanie's first interception is a forced pass down the left hash to Davis. Chancellor makes a great play on the ball and tips it to his teammate for the turnover. Yet on the other side of the field, WR Roy Williams had CB Atari Bigby all spun around and was wide open on a flag route for an easy touchdown. Yet Hanie never saw him and tried to force the ball to a covered player. Instead of a TD, it's a turnover, all because Hanie continually fails to see the entire field. His field vision is, and has always been, garbage.


RB Kahlil Bell
Jerry Lai/US Presswire

-2nd and 12. Hanie is under center with Bell and FB Tyler Clutts in pro set behind him. At the snap, Bell releases up the right hash and is picked up in man coverage by Hawthorne. Hanie has no one to throw to and ends up floating out of the pocket to the play's left. Bell sees his QB in trouble and breaks left across the field, leaving Hawthorne in his wake. Hanie finds Bell wide open for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

This was a great job of Bell recognizing his quarterback's need for an open receiver and making a move to get separation from the defender. If only Chicago's wide receivers would do the same. Bell showed well both as a runner and pass catcher and should have plenty of value next year as Matt Forte's backup.

Third quarter

-For as much as I've criticized Kellen Davis as a blocker this year, he is getting better. At the beginning of the season, he was lucky to get his man blocked one out of every 10 rushing plays. Now, he's doing a decent job one out of every three rushing plays, which is a big improvement. He still comes off the snap too slow and tries to catch defenders, instead of blowing them of the ball, but he's done a better job of positioning his feet and maneuvering his body in between the defender and the runner. He's still not good at his job but he's getting better, which, for a first-year starter, is about all you can ask.

-Seattle's linebackers were sitting on Chicago's screen passes all day. They did a good job recognizing the plays and mirroring the running backs. Martz has to be more creative with his screen packages if those are to work going forward.

-1st down. Bell runs off-tackle left. Spencer pulls across the play to lead block. He's followed by FB Tyler Clutts. Spencer leads into the hole and clears out LB Leroy Hill. Clutts follows him and lays a vicious blow on Chancellor. At the same time, Branch slide across the face of Louis and drives down the line from the backside. Louis cannot get leverage and Branch chases down the runner from behind. The play goes for three-yard gain.

Spencer and Clutts do a great job of clearing a nice hole to the left side yet, again, Louis cannot get Branch contained. Louis has struggled all year against powerful defensive linemen, which is why he should not be expected to play guard next year. He gets eaten up inside by the big nose tackles. If he's going to be counted on in 2012, it has to be at tackle.

-3rd and 6. Hanie drops back to pass. Sanzenbacher runs an out pattern from the left slot and is open for the first down. Hanie plants and fires a ball over his receiver's head. Sanzenbacher makes a nice one-handed catch but he's out of bounds when he finally pulls the ball in. The Bears are forced to punt.

Martz had the right play dialed up here, one that would have kept the drive alive had it been completed. Hanie had time and an open receiver yet he flat out overthrew the pass. His inaccuracy is a definite trend. Throughout this four-game losing streak, Hanie has missed numerous wide-open receivers for big plays that, had they been completed, would have netted Chicago at least two wins during this stretch. Hanie's failures aren't about Martz not putting him in a position to succeed. It's about him not executing when the plays are there. He's not a starting NFL quarterback, plain and simple.

Fourth quarter


DE Chris Clemons & QB Caleb Hanie
Jerry Lai/US Presswire

-3rd and 2. Hanie drops back to pass. Clemons comes of the left edge and uses an inside swim move to get around Webb and into the backfield for the sack. Here was just one more example of Webb not being able to keep his balance and stay in front of the defender. Folks, he cannot be trusted on the blind side. For next season, Chicago has to make an upgrade at left tackle or this passing attack will never reach its potential.

-Hanie has no field vision. On numerous plays, he holds the ball in the pocket instead of releasing it to guys that are obviously open. If the first target isn't there, Hanie has no chance. Working through his progressions and finding an open receiver is something he just cannot accomplish.

-Bell showed well as a pass blocker in this game. He definitely proved he can handle being a third-down back, both as a pass catcher and a blocker.

-Back-to-back sacks with about 11 minutes to go in the game buried Chicago. On the first sack, Webb was beat on an inside speed rush by Clemons. On the second, Louis was beat by an inside spin move from DE Raheem Brock. Poor fundamentals and poor execution on both edges gave the Bears zero chance at a comeback.

-On Hanie's second interception, he has Williams wide left with Sanzenbacher in the slot. It's zone coverage and Sanzenbacher is open right away on a slant pattern. Hanie passes that up and stares down Williams. He throws a pass off his back foot, even though there was no pass rush, and floats the ball right to CB Brandon Browner, who makes the interception and returns it for a touchdown.

Here was just one more example of Hanie staring down his first target and failing to see the entire field.

-Both fourth-quarter interceptions were on passes thrown to Williams. Why do Bears quarterbacks keep throwing his way? He does not adjust to the ball and will not make a catch in traffic. It is no surprise those passes were picked off. Maybe in the next two games, the starting quarterback might want to look Bennett's way, instead of relying on the over-the-hill Williams.

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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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