In Week 1 the Chicago Bears outgained the Green Bay Packers, had more total first downs and won the time-of-possession battle. Yet when the game was on the line, the Packers made more plays than the Bears, thus Chicago's 0-1 record to start the campaign.
To get a better feel for what went right and what went wrong, I broke down All-22 coaches film of five plays from Sunday. Here's what I found.
We'll start with QB Jay Cutler's only interception of the game, a costly turnover that sealed the game for the Packers. On this snap, the Packers will blitz the outside linebacker on the strong side. TE Martellus Bennett (white) is the hot route. In the backfield, RB Matt Forte will clear to the right flat, taking the safety with him. The key on this play is LB Clay Matthews (blue), who is lined up weak side.
Behind the blitz, Bennett runs a pop pass up the right seam. The safety is in man coverage and crosses over the face of Bennett, leaving a large of swath of land unattended.
Cutler makes the correct decision to hit his hot route behind the blitz. Notice how wide open Bennett appears, yet Matthews is coming from the blind side and Cutler does not see him.
Matthews undercuts the pass and creates the critical turnover.
Analysis: This was an outstanding play design by Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who baited Cutler into this throw. When locating a hot route, quarterbacks are taught to look behind a blitz for open space. Bennett slid into an area in which no Packers occupied, yet Capers had Matthews sprinting underneath the entire time. The timing of the play was perfect and Matthews made a highly athletic play. This one wasn't on Cutler.
This run is a close cousin to the classic counter trey made popular by Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins during the 1980s. Both C Will Montgomery and RG Vladimir Ducasse will pull right and kick out for RB Matt Forte, who will run C gap right.
Ducasse and Montgomery both pick up a defender on the edge, while Bennett and RT Kyle Long crash down on the interior of the defensive line, creating a wide hole for Forte.
The blocking up front helps Forte reach the second level for a 20-yard gain.
Analysis: This was an old-school double pull using the center and guard. While Ducasse and Montgomery aren't perfect, they do have the requisite athleticism to get out in front of a play and deliver kick-out blocks.
On this snap, the Bears use an inverted wishbone formation, with two tight ends (yellow) lined up three yards deep of the offensive tackles. Both tight ends will serve as lead blockers, along with LG Matt Slauson, who will pull right.
With Forte about to take the handoff, all three lead blockers are lining up defenders at the point of attack.
As Forte hits the hole, Slauson and Zach Miller have sealed the edge defender, while Khari Lee has the inside linebacker locked up. These three lead blockers create a nice hole for Forte, who picks up five yards on the play.
Analysis: While the wishbone formation is popular at the high school and Pee Wee levels, it's not often deployed in the NFL. Like the previous play, it's clear offensive coordinator Adam Gase has a healthy respect for successful rushing formation and schemes of the past.
This is the 4th down play from the 2-yard line. Notice the Packers line up seven guys on the line of scrimmage, as well as the safety (red) off the right side. The key on this play is S Sean Richardson (purple) who will blitz the right B gap between Long and Ducasse.
At the snap, Long steps outside and is clearly preoccupied with OLB Julius Peppers. Yet, based on the numbers, Long should have known that he had help on the edge from Bennett, and that he needed to close inside on Richardson.
Richardson is in Cutler's face almost immediately, which forces the incompletion and a turnover on downs. Notice Bennett with no one to block.
Analysis: This was arguably the biggest snap of the game, a 4th-down play from the 2-yard line with the Bears down just eight points. If they punch it in here, the entire complexion of the game changes. Instead, Long makes a critical mental mistake, likely due in large part to never having played the position before. It was a growing pain for Long, one from which he'll surely learn, but it was a mistake that contributed mightily to the Week 1 loss.
This is Forte's touchdown run from the second quarter. The key here is Khari Lee (yellow), who motions from the left edge to the right edge before the snap, taking the safety (blue) with him.
Here we see Lee, as well as the safety, now on the right side of the formation. The Bears are going to run away from the motion man, to the area recently vacted by the safety.
Tight ends Zach Miller and Martellus Bennett (yellow) are stacked on the left edge. Both get good blocks at the point of attack. Notice inside the double team on the defensive end, after which LT Jermon Bushrod (white) will clear to the second level.
Bennett and Miller do a great job of locking up the edge defendes, while Bushrod makes a diving block at the inside linebacker.
Bushrod's chip on the linebacker gives Forte the space he needs to outrace the defender for the touchdown.
Analysis: This was a three-tight-end formation against man coverage. Gase stacks all three tight ends on the left side, then motions the H-back behind the formation. This pulls the safety to the right side, leaving the Packers thin on the left side. Forte then gets three good blocks out front, including a great diving effort by Bushrod, which results in a score. A well-designed and well-executed play by Chicago's offense.