Bears on Offense
1st-and-10 on the Packers' 19-yard line. Chicago starts its drive deep in Green Bay territory after a Brian Urlacher interception. They line up with TE Greg Olsen wing left, just behind TE Desmond Clark. Wide receivers Mark Bradley and Muhsin Muhammad are bunched in the right slot. QB Brian Griese takes the snap from under center with RB Cedric Benson behind him. The Packers counter with a base 4-3, putting both of their cornerbacks on the right side to cover Bradley and Muhammad. This leaves only two safeties and a linebacker on Olsen and Clark's side of the field.
TE Greg Olsen
Morry Gash/AP Images
At the snap, the Green Bay linebackers, corners, and safeties all slide into man coverage. Muhammad runs deep while Bradley does a shallow drag, freezing the middle linebacker. Clark runs straight down the field, occupying the outside linebacker and forcing FS Nick Collins to stay inside. Olsen runs a fade pattern near the sideline and is isolated against SS Atari Bigby. Griese has plenty of time as the O-line does a great job of picking up the four-man rush, and he heaves a touch pass into the front corner of the end zone. The 6-5 Olsen reaches the goal line and turns toward the ball. He then jumps over the back of the 5-11 Bigby and makes an outstanding catch. Bigby pushes Olsen out of bounds before the tight end can get both feet in the end zone, but the back judge declares it a force-out and rules the play a touchdown.
By putting both Muhammad and Bradley on the same side of the field, the Bears forced Green Bay to use both of their corners on the side opposite Olsen and Clark. This left Chicago with a potent mismatch. Olsen towered over Bigby and was able to make a difficult catch look easy. Griese recognized the mismatch right away and put the ball exactly where it needed to be.
Olsen would not have been as open as he was had Clark not run straight at the free safety. This caused Collins to freeze for a split second to make sure Clark didn't get loose in the middle of the field. Collins is totally unaware that Olsen is isolated on the edge until it's too late. A great play call and excellent execution.
Bears on Defense
2nd-and-1 on the Chicago 11-yard line. Green Bay lines up with a tight end on both sides of the line and another wing right. RB DeShawn Wynn is stacked in the I-formation behind FB John Kuhn. The Bears counter with 10 men in the box. LB Hunter Hillenmeyer along with CBs Charles Tillman and Danieal Manning accompany the four down linemen along the line of scrimmage. Urlacher, LB Lance Briggs, and S Brandon McGowan occupy the linebacker positions a few yards back. DTs Tommie Harris and Anthony Adams both start the play directly over center.
LB Lance Briggs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
At the snap, Harris rushes the gap just left of the center and immediately penetrates into the backfield. Kuhn then careens into Harris and falls backward. The rest of the line holds its position as Briggs and Urlacher blitz the point of attack. Briggs slips behind Harris, runs over an offensive lineman, and makes the tackle on Wynn for a 3-yard loss.
On this play, both Harris and Briggs show their All-Pro skills. Harris' ability to instantly penetrate the offensive line stuffs Kuhn and doesn't allow him to block the linebackers. This gives Briggs a straight shot into the backfield, and the two-time Pro Bowler makes an outstanding tackle.
This was a huge play for Chicago. The Packers, up 17-10 at the time, had great field position after a 65-yard kickoff return. If they score a touchdown and go up 24-10, the end result of the game may have been very different. Yet the Bears defense rose to the occasion and kept their team in the game.
Jeremy Stoltz is an Associate Editor for Chicago Sports Weekly. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.