Tales from the Tape: Offense

We use All-22 coaches film to break down a six-pack of offensive plays from the Chicago Bears' Week 11 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Due to inclement weather, the Chicago Bears' offense struggle at times to move the ball against the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's win. The team gained just 319 total yards, after averaging more than 372 yards in the previous nine contests. The field conditions were atrocious and the footing was awful, yet Chicago's offense did just enough to help pull out the 23-20 overtime victory.

Let's go to the film room to analyze a six-pack of offensive snaps from this past weekend.

PLAY I

This a zone-right run that RB Matt Forte will cut back behind the line of scrimmage.

The play-side linemen do a job of blocking at the point of attack but two defenders are left on the backside, with only LT Jermon Bushrod there to block them.

As Forte approaches the line of scrimmage, both the outside linebacker and the inside linebacker are clogging the hole.

Bushrod closes on the inside linebacker and seals him inside. At the same time, Forte lets fly a wicked juke move that leaves the defender in his wake. Forte scrambles for 20 yards on this snap.

Analysis: This play was all on Forte. On nearly every run in the NFL, the running back is asked to make one defender miss. Forte did just that, making Terrell Suggs look silly in his tackle attempt, which allows the runner to reach the second level. It's one of many examples from this game where Forte's field vision and cutback ability help him turn a no-gain into a big gain.

PLAY II

This is a 3rd-down pass in the first quarter with Suggs (red) rushing off the edge against Bushrod (blue).

Suggs sets up the outside rush the cuts across the blocker's face, beating Bushrod to the inside almost immediately.

As soon as Bushrod is beat, he turns his back to the defender and begins racing to the defender's point of contact.

Bushrod is able to swing his body around and close space on the defender before diving at Suggs' legs.

Bushrod is able to take out Suggs before he gets to the quarterback, allowing Josh McCown to get the pass off without taking a hit.

Analysis: You won't see a more athletic play from an offensive tackle than this one by Bushrod. He gets beat off the snap but never gives up. The moment Suggs crosses his face, Bushrod turns his back and races into the pocket. He's able to not only stay in front of the defender but he has the awareness and body control to clear out Suggs' legs just before he reaches McCown. This play demonstrates why Bushrod is the highest paid offensive lineman in franchise history.

PLAY III

Forte will bounce an A gap play outside to the D gap between tackle eligible Eben Britton (red) and tight end Martellus Bennett (blue).

As Forte makes his cut, we see Bennett and Britton locked up on their respective defenders.

Both players maintain their blocks as Forte hits the hole, allowing him to squeeze through the line of scrimmage.

Forte then bounces outside away from the pursuit and picks up 16 yards.

Analysis: Having a third tackle and a tight end that can clear holes like this in the run game, against a defensive end and an outside linebacker respectively, is pretty impressive.

PLAY IV

This is the fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Forte, a screen play that will develop in the right flat. Notice Forte starts the play on McCown's right.

McCown then walks up to the line of scrimmage, waiving his arms as if he's calling an audible or changing the protection, and waives Forte to his left side.

McCown play fakes to Forte, who fakes a block before releasing to the right flat. He gets a good initial block by G Kyle Long but still has two defenders to beat.

Forte makes an outstanding cut and leaves three defenders in his wake.

Forte drags a defender three yards and gets a final push in the back from Brandon Marshall that propels him into the end zone.

Analysis: Forte's pre-snap motion on this play was a piece of brilliance. McCown acted as if he was switching protection, leading Baltimore to believe Forte would be staying in to block. When Forte then fakes a block, the Ravens' defense completely loses track of him, allowing him to clear into the flats unfettered. After that, it was just one man's will to get in the end zone. Great play design and great execution led to the go-ahead score.

PLAY V

This play comes late in the fourth quarter with Chicago nursing a three-point lead. On 2nd down, the Bears will run Michael Bush up the middle. LB Jameel McClain is showing blitz over G Matt Slauson.

At the snap, McClain shoots the gap and Slauson is late off the ball, allowing the defender to gain instant leverage.

McClain then sheds Sluason and hits Bush in the backfield. Notice the cut-back lane developing on the back side.

As McClain takes down the runner for a two-yard loss, we can see an enormous hole through which Bush could have run if only Slauson would have made his block.

Analysis: This was a big play, one that would have likely gone for a big gain had it been blocked properly. If Bush breaks off a long one here, the Bears could have burned off much more clock and wouldn't have been forced to punt one play later, which ultimately allowed Baltimore to tie the game.

PLAY VI

This is the biggest play of the game. In overtime, the Bears line up with Marshall (white) wide left and Bennett (blue) in the right slot. The Ravens will blitz the strong safety off the left edge, leaving S James Ihedigbo (red) as the lone deep safety.

At the snap, McCown turns and stares down Marshall to his left. Notice Forte picking up the blitz, giving his quarterback time to set up the pass play.

Ihedigbo reads McCown's eyes and begins shading toward Marshall. This leaves Bennett on the far hash 1-on-1 with CB Lardarius Webb.

McCown then turns to Bennett and fires a beautiful back-shoulder throw, which the big tight end grabs by jumping and reaching over the defender. He then sheds Webb and takes off running.

Ihedigbo tries to make the tackle but Bennett uses a stiff arm to bury the safety into the turf. Bennett gets caught from behind but not after picking up 43 yards, putting his team into range for the game-winning field goal.

Analysis: Martellus made one heck of a play on this catch, going up for the ball and then breaking two tackles, yet McCown deserves just as much credit. By looking off the safety, he essentially creates a 1-on-1 matchup for Bennett, of which he takes full advantage. It was the play of the game and one that kept the Bears' playoff hopes alive.


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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