X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Lions

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 disappointing 16-7 loss to the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Bears on Defense
1st-and-goal on the Chicago 4-yard line. The Lions line up with three wide receivers to the right and one to the left. QB Jon Kitna is under center with RB Kevin Jones directly behind him. The Bears counter with their nickel defense. Linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are positioned three yards behind the four down linemen.

RB Kevin Jones
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, all four defensive linemen rush hard at the quarterback. Both of the offensive tackles release immediately into the secondary, letting DEs Adewale Ogunleye and Mark Anderson into the backfield. The tackles then pick up blocks on the linebackers. At the same time, Kitna drops back seemingly to pass but then quickly hands the ball of to Jones on a draw. The three interior O-linemen lock up the defensive tackles, and Jones flies right through the line of scrimmage. He then makes one cut behind his tackle, who is blocking Briggs, and walks into the end zone.

This was an extremely well designed play that caught the Bears defense looking for a pass. By spreading the field out with four wide receivers, the Lions forced the safeties and cornerbacks out of the box. The draw is designed to go up the middle, so the offensive tackles have no need to block the D-ends. Ogunleye and Anderson are three yards in the backfield almost immediately, effectively taking themselves out of the play. Jones is able to slip past the D-tackles, who are also in pass-rush mode, and doesn't have to beat either linebacker as both are blocked by the O-tackles. The Bears guessed pass and they were wrong, costing them seven crucial points.

Bears on Offense
3rd-and-6 at the Detroit 26-yard line. The Bears line up in a passing formation with three wide receivers and QB Brian Griese in the shotgun. WR Mark Bradley is wide left with WR Muhsin Muhammad in the slot. TE Desmond Clark is on the line's right side with WR Devin Hester in the wing position. RB Adrian Peterson is in the backfield to Griese's right. The Lions counter by placing eight men in the box with each linebacker on the line of scrimmage, showing an all-out blitz. Just before the snap, the safety in the box steps away from the line to cover Muhammad.

QB Brian Griese
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Detroit blitzes all three linebackers, giving them a seven-man rush. The box safety and cornerbacks play man-to-man on the three receivers with the free safety roaming the deep middle of the field. Chicago's line picks up the blitz well, with only LT John Tait allowing his man through. Griese feels this pressure to his left and hurriedly chucks the ball downfield. At the same time, Bradley streaks down the sideline as Muhammad runs an 8-yard out-pattern. Muhammad is wide open at the first down marker, but Griese instead throws the pass off his back foot to Bradley. The ball hangs in the air long enough for FS Kenoy Kennedy to reach the area. He jumps at the goal line and snatches the ball out of the air for the interception.

Tait had a horrid game, and on this play he lets DE Dewayne White clear his outside shoulder. This puts pressure on Griese, who felt the need to get rid of the ball quickly. If Tait can hold his block like the rest of the line did, then the QB would've had plenty of time to make a better decision.

The decision Griese should have made was to throw the short ball to Muhammad. His defender was back-pedaling before the ball was snapped, allowing a 7-yard cushion between the two players. Muhammad recognizes this and runs a quick out. If Griese had delivered the short pass instead of going downfield, the Bears would've had a first down at the Lions' 19-yard line. Even an incomplete pass would've given them a field goal opportunity. It was an absolutely awful decision to throw long, considering the free safety could help in coverage only on a deep pass.

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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