The Chicago Bears lost 38-17 in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers, yet it wasn’t due to offensive inefficiency. Turnovers and red-zone woes eventually cost the Bears a victory at Soldier Field, yet head coach Marc Trestman did his best as an offensive play caller to put his team in a position to win.
Trestman was creative in formations and play schematics, which resulted in nearly 500 yards of total offense, 235 of which came on the ground. Going forward, that will more often than not be good enough to secure victories.
Let’s go to the game tape.
Notice that Jeffery, Bennett and Britton (white arrows) all secure the defenders in front of them. S Morgan Burnett (yellow) then scrapes to the outside, leaving a gaping hole for Forte. The play goes for a 9-yard gain.
Analysis: This was a play in which the Bears announced they were running left and dared the Packers to stop them. Stacking the left edge gave Chicago enough players to clear the point of attack and the mistake by Burnett of sealing the edge instead of filling the gap was all this play needed to gain a big chunk of yards.
This is the very next play. Britton and Bennett are again stacked, only this time in the right side of the line. In the second photo, notice that WR Brandon Marshall has single coverage out wide.
Jeffery again motions to the overload side. The key on this play is LB Brad Jones. Before the snap, Cutler gives Marshall a brief hand signal, telling his receiver to run the quick slant.
Cutler gives a token play-fake to Forte before looking left in Marshall’s direction. The overload pulled six defenders out of the passing lane and the play-action causes Jones to take a false step forward, which is all the window Cutler needs.
Marshall drops into the zone just outside of Jones, who can’t get a hand on the ball. The play results in no gain, as Marshall dropped the pass.
Analysis: Jones recognized the play almost immediately and nearly came up with the interception. Yet by overloading the opposite edge, one play after you ran an off-tackle power run behind an overload, it forced Jones to slide inside and out of the area in which Marshall eventually occupied. Those few inches were the key in getting the ball to Marshall on what should have been a 1st down.
Forte (white) is lined up at left wing with RB Ka’Deem Carey (blue) to Cutler’s left in shotgun. Forte is going to motion behind the line of scrimmage to the right edge.
Forte motions across the formation and then swings into the right flat at the snap. This shifts all three linebackers to the right, with the play being run in the left A gap. At this point, LB A.J. Hawk (yellow) is too far out of position to have any impact on the play.
Forte is off the screen to the right, which has pulled Hawk even further away from the hole. Up front, the red arrows show two double teams at the point of attack. This is a zone run.
Bushrod peels off the left double team to pick up the safety. Carey cuts up behind him and picks up four yards. Notice again how far Hawk is from the ball.
Analysis: The motion and swing pattern by Forte eliminate a linebacker from this play, which was the whole goal of putting two running backs in the same backfield, something Trestman had yet to do up to that point in the season.
It was a well-designed play but the zone blocking up front failed to get a hat on every defender. Had C Brian de la Puente cleared to the second level, instead of holding his block on the double team the duration of the play, it might have allowed Carey more room to run once he cleared the line of scrimmage.
This time, both backs start in the backfield, with Carey (blue) on the right and Forte (white) on the left. They will execute the same play as the one we just analyzed, only their roles are reversed.
At the snap, Carey takes off into the right flat, which takes Burnett (yellow) out of the play. Up front, the zone blocking of the previous play has been replaced by a trap block between LG Michael Ola and de la Puente.
Ola kicks out the defensive tackle, with de la Puente sealing the nose tackle inside, giving Forte a wide line through which he picks up six yards.
Analysis: Trestman called the same play earlier in the drive and used a zone block up front. This time, he calls the same run but uses a trap block. The two defensive linemen were obviously expecting a zone double at the snap and both were rocked from the blindside by the cross block. Like our last set of plays, Trestman used one snap to set up another one shortly thereafter.
CHEMISTRY AND CONFUSION
Before the snap, Cutler uses a hard count that reveals all three linebackers preparing to blitz.
Cutler checks out of the play and motions Marshall out wide with a hand signal, pointing up to the sky. Marshall sees the finger pointing upward, as does CB Davon House (red).
Marshall is going to stem to the goal line and then he’ll give a quick head fake, as if he’s heading to the back corner of the end zone for a jump ball.
Here you see Marshall give the head fake, with House immediately opening his hips toward the sideline in order to beat Marshall to the back corner.
When Marshall then breaks off his route and turns back to the quarterback, House can do little more than fall to his backside and watch as the Bears score a touchdown.
Analysis: These are the type of plays that happen when a quarterback and receiver play most of their careers together. Cutler reads the blitz pre-snap and knows he has Marshall 1-on-1 out wide. He gives his receiver the jump-ball signal, making sure the cornerback sees it as well.Marshall then fakes the corner fade and House bites on it hard. At that point, Marshall just had to turn around, as House had no shot of stopping the hitch pattern.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.