The Chicago Bears defense had an unstable showing against the Green Bay Packers during Sunday's 30-27 loss.
The defense was pinned in a corner due to three straight turnovers by Chicago's offense during the third quarter. As such, the final stats show a defense that gave up 451 total yards to the Packers, including a stunning 226 rushing yards.
A few issues were very clear on tape, including poor tackling and a lack of pass rush during the game's biggest moments, but this wasn't your typical Packers pummeling.
Throw out the third quarter and the Bears defense gave up just one touchdown and 13 points to a Packers offense that has been borderline unstoppable the past month.
At halftime, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers had just 139 passing yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times on the day and was held without a passing TD for the first time this season.
The Packers finished just 3-for-10 on third down, 0-for-1 on fourth down and just 2-for-5 in red zone efficiency.
Chicago's defense allowed a handful of big plays, which ultimately cost the team a victory, but coordinator Vic Fangio's unit has plenty to hang its hat on.
To get a better feel for Sunday's defensive performance, I went to the game film and analyzed every snap. Here's what I found.
-3rd and 2: Nickel formation, ILB Nick Kwiatkoski comes untouched on the B gap blitz. His timing on the blitz is perfect but he doesn't break down for the tackle and Rodgers is able to elude the sack. Rodgers finds TE Jared Cook for a 27-yard gain.
This was Green Bay's first third-down attempt and Fango dialed up the perfect defense. Kwiatkoski was in the backfield in less than two seconds for what should have been a drive-ending sack, yet he was too eager to take down Rodgers, who is one of the best in the NFL at avoiding the rush.
It's worth noting that Fangio blitzed Kwiatkoski on three of Green Bay's first 11 snaps. It's clear he wanted to get pressure on Rodgers early.
-2nd and 10: RB Ty Montgomery on a sweep right. The Bears are in 3-4 base. Strong-side DE Mitch Unrein works down the line and uses full arm extension, with elbows locked, to create easy separation from LG Lane Taylor. Unrein cuts off the corner, forcing Montgomery to cut inside. ILB John Timu works through the trash from the backside, fights through a block and closes hard on the ball carrier for no gain.
Unrein and Timu both struggled against the run but this was a strong snap from both defenders, with Unrein demonstrating perfect extension-shed-tackle technique. By my unofficial count, Unrein also led all Bears with 3 QB pressures.
-3rd and 11: Kwiatkoski is in man coverage against Cook, who runs a 12-yard out route from the left hash. Kwiatkoski is late reacting to the break and Cook creates two yards of separation. Rodgers fires a perfect pass, out of the reach of the diving Kwiatkoski. Cook makes the catch and is able to run up the field for an extra 5 yards. The plays goes for 17.
It wasn't all bad for Kwiatkoski on Sunday but this was arguably his worst game as a starter for the Bears. He finished with just 5 total tackles and was beaten repeatedly by Cook, who finished with 6 catches 85 yards.
-2nd and 9: Rodgers drops back to pass from the Bears 21-yard line. DL Cornelius Washington uses a swim move to beat RG T.J. Lang. Yet Washington's momentum takes him through the pocket, allowing Rodgers to step up behind him. On the edge, DL Akiem Hicks spins back inside and has the QB in his sights, yet Rodgers easily sidesteps the sack attempt. He then finds WR Jordy Nelson for 12 yards and a 1st down.
This was the second time during Green Bay's opening drive the Bears couldn't get Rodgers down in the pocket, which eventually costs them 7 points.
-1st and goal: Montgomery runs sweep right. SS Adrian Amos crashes inside the right tackle, leaving only CB Tracy Porter to seal the edge. Montgomery stiff-arms Porter to the turf and waltzes into the end zone for the touchdown.
It's unclear why Amos chose to crash the line of scrimmage so early on this play. Had he been patient, he could have help Porter take down the ball carrier on the edge. At the same time, Porter needs to make this tackle.
-On the following drive, Rodgers launches a deep ball to Nelson. It's a 50/50 pass, with Porter standing right in front of the receiver. Yet Porter mistimes his jump and ends up on his butt as the ball hits Nelson's hands. Luckily for the Bears, Nelson dropped it.
The next snap is 3rd and 11. Hicks sacks Rodgers but Porter is called for defensive holding, negating the sack and giving the Packers an automatic first down.
Porter settled down in the second half but he was a mess to start the game.
-Montgomery rushes B gap right but is forced to cut back. On the weak side, OLB Willie Young is unblocked and has the ball carrier in his sights. Montgomery uses a quick head fake and then cuts up between the hashes. Young dives but comes with nothing but air.
-CB Demontre Hurst's sack came on a nickel blitz from the slot. He never showed blitz before the snap and crashed the backfield untouched. It was perfect execution.
-Montgomery's runs off-tackle left. Timu scrapes and fills but misses the tackle. Amos then closes on the ball carrier but he too can't bring down Montgomery, who races up the field for a 61-yard gain.
The horrible tackling on this snap was a sign of things to come. By my unofficial count, Chicago's run defense missed 15 tackles. Here are the culprits:
ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, 2
DL Akiem Hicks, 2
S Deon Bush, 2
CB Cre'Von LeBlanc, 2
S Demontre Hurst, 2
OLB Sam Acho, 1
OLB Willie Young, 1
ILB John Timu, 1
S Adrian Amos, 1
CB Tracy Porter, 1
So basically everyone.
-OLB Leonard Floyd was invisible in this game, which was by far the worst of his rookie season. He failed to record a single tackle, QB pressure or sack. Floyd was used on a handful of third-down snaps in coverage, which seems like a waste of his talents. Yet even when he was given the green light, Floyd could not get off a block as a pass rusher.
-3rd and 1: OLB Pernell McPhee strings out a stretch run by Montgomery, who has to cut back inside. DL C.J. Wilson works deftly through the trash and swallows up the ball carrier for a loss of 2 yards. This was a strong snap from both McPhee and Wilson to stop the Packers on 3rd down.
-4th and 3: Rodgers has time to throw but no one is open. McPhee uses a power rip and slowly works his way around the corner, eventually taking Rodgers down for the sack.
I counted nine snaps during the game in which Rodgers had more than four seconds to throw, yet couldn't find anyone open. McPhee's sack was the first of those nine snaps. His second sack was also a coverage sack.
The result of those nine coverage snaps: throw away, sack, completion, sack, dropped INT, scramble, scramble, scramble, sack. For a much-maligned secondary void of elite talent, facing an elite passing offense, that's not too bad.
-Rodgers drops back to pass and Unrein drives Lane into the quarterback's face. Yet Rodgers doesn't move. In fact, he doesn't appear concerned with Unrein at all. With Unrein just a foot away, Rodgers quickly completes a short pass over the middle.
This play is almost laughable. Unrein wins easily at the snap and is in the quarterback's face within 2 seconds, yet Rodgers couldn't care less. Even with a bad calf, he knows he can easily avoid the lead-footed Unrein if necessary, like he did twice during the first drive.
-Montgomery's 36-yard run was well blocked at the point of attack, with the Packers getting a hat on each of Chicago's front-seven defenders. At the second level, Amos and Bush hit the runner at the 30-yard line. Bush just throws a shoulder and falls to the ground, while Amos tries to strip the ball. As a result, Montgomery doesn't hit the ground until the 16-yard line. That's 14 yards after contact from two safeties, which is awful. I actually recorded Bush for a missed tackle on this play.
-Red zone: Porter is manned up against WR Devonte Adams wide right. There is no safety help over the top. Porter allows a free release to the outside and Adams immediately gains a yard of separation on his go route. Rodgers lobs the pass over the top for the easy score, with Porter trailing helplessly, yet Adams drops the TD.
-3rd and 10 from the Chicago 16: Rodgers has time to throw but no one is open. He eventually lobs a pass to the back corner of the end zone but Bush is right there for the interception. He gets both hands on the ball but drops it before he hits the ground.
On the next snap, McPheee blocks Mason Crosby's field-goal attempt, yet the ball still somehow flutters over the cross bar. The back-to-back bad luck on these two plays cost the Bears three points, which also ended up being the losing margin.
-1st and 16 from the Bears 16: Wide left, Adams runs a stop-and-go up the sideline. LeBlanc, in man coverage, bites on the first move and Adams flies right past him. Adams is wide open for the TD but he drops the pass.
-Against the Lions in Week 14, Chicago's defensive line was able to consistently collapse the pocket using cross stunts. The Packers clearly did their homework and were ready for the D-line stunts. Green Bay's offensive line did a great job of passing off blockers throughout the game and effectively working in two-man units. Floyd, whose quickness and lateral agility made him very dangerous against Detroit, was stymied every time he stunted with a teammate.
-1st and 10: Montgomery runs off-tackle left. Hurst crashes down from the slot and grabs Montgomery in the backfield. At the same time, Timu fills the play-side C gap and has an opportunity to finish the play, yet he slows up. Montgomery then wiggles free from Hurst and Timu gets caught inside. Montgomery turns upfield and cuts inside of Hicks' tackle attempt. The play goes for 26 yards and gives the Packers 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
This play should have gone for a loss but Timu's hesitancy at the point of attack, as well as Hurst's poor tackling, resulted in a big play for Green Bay's offense.
-Goal line: Montgomery up the middle. McPhee disposes of the tight end and bursts down the line of scrimmage, stopping Montgomery for a 2-yard loss. Say what you will about McPhee's injury plagued campaign but now that he's healthy, he's playing like the McPhee from early last season.
-The following snap, Montgomery runs B gap left. Unrein is turned outside by a single block, Hicks is turned inside by a single block, and it's an easy score.
-2nd and 7: RB Christine Michael up the middle. Washington is immediately sealed inside and Young is cut off on the edge. Kwiatkoski overruns the play and gets washed out wide, while Timu can't shed the one-on-one block at the second level. Michael bursts through the front seven untouched and then stiff arms LeBlanc to the turf. The play goes for a 42-yard score.
This was as ugly as it gets. Young, Washington and Timu are non-factors against single blocks, while Kwiatkoski is far too aggressive. LeBlanc then misses his second crucial tackle of the day and the Packers take a 27-10 lead.
-The Packers went 3-and-out on the first two drives of the fourth quarter, which allowed the Bears to tie the game 27-27. For a defense that was on the field for all but a few minutes of the third quarter, the Bears' play in the fourth quarter, up until the very last snap, was exceptional.
-3rd and 3: Rodgers drops back to pass. McPhee and DL Jonathan Bullard execute a cross stunt, with McPhee swinging inside. For the first time all game, the Packers are unable to corral the cross stunt and McPhee comes free. Rodgers has to tuck it and run, but he comes up short and the Packers have to punt.
-2nd and 10: Green Bay runs a screen to Montgomery. It is executed perfectly and Montgomery has three blockers in front of him with room to run. Kwiatkoski recognizes the screen and slices through two Packers offensive linemen, taking down Montgomery for a 1-yard loss. This exceptional play by Kwiatkoski sets up the final 3rd and 11.
-3rd and 11: The Bears lined up in quarters defense, with Bush lined up along the deep left hash. The Packers run Nelson deep up the hash, with another pass catcher running an intermediate drag. Bush bites on the crossing route and breaks toward the sideline, leaving no one on the back end of the defense. Nelson gets a step on LeBlanc and Rodgers, who is under no pressure, fires a perfect pass deep down the field. LeBlanc cannot recover and Nelson catches a 61-yard pass in stride, setting the Packers up for the game-winning field goal.
LeBlanc should never get beat deep here. He deserves the majority of the blame, yet why was there no safety help over the top? Either Fangio called a garbage defense in the game's biggest moment or Bush should have never broke forward on the intermediate cross. Either way, the completion to Nelson sealed the victory for the Packers.