X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Vikings

Jeremy Stoltz, our very own Prince of the Playbook, goes to the film room once again and breaks down one offensive snap and one defensive snap from Sunday's numbing 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

Bears on Defense
2nd-and-10 on the Minnesota 33-yard line. The Vikings come out of the huddle with two tight ends on either side of the line, both flanked by wide receivers in the slot. QB Tarvaris Jackson lines up under center with RB Adrian Peterson alone in the backfield. After the offensive line's initial set, right TE Visanthe Shiancoe motions to the left side of the line. This is basically telling the defense that a run will be coming to the left. The Bears counter with their base 4-3 and make no adjustments in response to the motion man.


RB Adrian Peterson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Shiancoe drives LB Hunter Hillenmeyer all the way to the sideline. The offensive linemen all block left as Jackson hands the ball off to Peterson. LB Brian Urlacher gets pinned in by All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson as LB Lance Briggs goes down from a cut block on the backside. The entire defensive line is blocked well, and Peterson has a huge hole to run through off the left tackle. Once he clears the line, S Brandon McGowan has an opportunity to make the stop, but Peterson just brushes him off. He then makes a strong cut back across the field and outraces CB Charles Tillman to the end zone for a 67-yard TD.

A knock on Urlacher has always been that once a lineman gets his hands on him, he is rendered useless. On this play, the defensive linemen fail to occupy Hutchinson, who gets in front of Urlacher and takes him out of the play. The linebacker on the strong side, Hillenmeyer, also gets run out of the play completely by the tight end. He makes no effort to get off his block and defend the point of attack, which opens up the gaping hole.

McGowan has no excuse for the poor tackle attempt he displayed on this snap. No one blocks him, and Peterson runs right at him. Yet McGowan just puts his head down and tries to tackle him with one arm. It is awful technique and a very lackadaisical effort that I'm sure defensive coordinator Bob Babich will address this week in practice.

Bears on Offense
1st-and-10 on the Vikings' 39-yard line. The Bears line up strong left with QB Brian Griese under center. WR Devin Hester is wide left, and WR Bernard Berrian is split right. RB Adrian Peterson – the other one – and FB Jason McKie are both in the backfield. Minnesota shows a base 4-3, with both cornerbacks lined up tight on the receivers. Before the snap, SS Dwight Smith walks up next to the linebackers, which leaves the deep area on the right side of the field open.


QB Brian Griese
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Griese takes a five-step drop, looking left in Hester's direction the whole time. The left side of the line seals off three rushers, but right tackle Fred Miller is left alone with DE Kenechi Udeze. Udeze makes a nice spin move inside and is instantly in Griese's face. Griese, who had been looking left the whole play, quickly turns his head right and throws deep just before getting hit. During this time, Berrian runs downfield and fakes a stop route. His defender, CB Antoine Winfield, bites on the fake, gets tripped up and falls down. This leaves Berrian wide open to receive Griese's pass for a 39-yard touchdown.

Griese's veteran experience shines through on this play. He sees the strong safety on the right side creep up to the line of scrimmage, so he knows the free safety is all alone deep. He looks left throughout the play, freezing that safety – he was more focused on Hester than he should have been. When Berrian breaks loose from Winfield, Griese then turns and throws despite a defensive lineman right in his face. He knows he's going to take a hit, but he stands in there and delivers a strike. I don't recall ever seeing Rex Grossman make a play like that. It's these types of plays that could ultimately bring this offense to the next level.

Jeremy Stoltz is an Associate Editor for Chicago Sports Weekly. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.


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