Bears on Defense
3rd-and-2 at the Chicago 33-yard line. With the score tied at 3, the Raiders are driving in Bears territory. They line up with a tight end on the left side of the line and QB Josh McCown under center. FB Justin Griffith and RB Justin Fargas are behind him, stacked in the I-formation. Wide receivers are split wide on both sides of the field. The Bears counter with their base 4-3. LB Hunter Hillenmeyer is lined up on the line of scrimmage, just outside of DE Alex Brown. SS Adam Archuleta is in the linebacker position, next to LBs Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.
DE Alex Brown
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
At the snap, the entire offensive line blocks left, leaving backside DE Adewale Ogunleye unblocked. DT Darwin Walker explodes off the line and gets his pads underneath C Jeremy Newberry's. Walker drives Newberry backwards until both players are two yards into the backfield. At the same time, McCown hands the ball off to Fargas. Brown, on the play side, brushes off a block from the offensive tackle and rushes into the backfield. Fargas takes the hand off but is immediately tripped up by the pile of bodies created by the bull rush of Walker. As Fargas tries to sidestep the pile, both Brown and Ogunleye reach the ball-carrier and corral him to the ground. The play goes for a 1-yard loss and forces Oakland to kick a field goal.
On a day when the defensive line performed admirably, this play outshined all the rest. Walker's ability to drive the center into the backfield completely disrupts the play. Fargas has nowhere to run the moment he touches the ball. The pursuit by both defensive ends finishes off the play. This was a crucial defensive stop that left the Raiders with no other option but to kick the ball, which put the Bears down by a manageable 3-point deficit.
Bears on Offense
1st-and-10 at the Chicago 41-yard line. The Bears line up with QB Rex Grossman under center and FB Jason McKie and RB Cedric Benson in the I-formation behind him. WR Muhsin Muhammad is split right, and WR Bernard Berrian is wide left. TE Desmond Clark is positioned on the right side of the offensive line. The Raiders counter with a 4-3, bringing SS Michael Huff into the box for run support. This leaves FS Stuart Schweigert as the only player with deep coverage responsibilities.
WR Bernard Berrian
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
At the snap, Oakland rushes only four linemen, each blocked well by the Bears' offensive line. Grossman fakes a handoff to Benson before dropping back to pass. The play fake freezes the three linebackers and the strong safety. Clark releases down the middle of the field and runs a crossing route. Muhammad also runs a deep crossing route. On the left side of the field, Berrian releases freely to the outside of CB Chris Carr. The receiver runs straight for 15 yards before giving a quick stutter step. Carr slows down for a split second in response to the stutter step and watches as Berrian sprints away from him. Grossman, who is under minimal pressure, launches a deep pass and hits Berrian in stride at the 16-yard line. The speedster then cruises into the end zone for a game-winning 59-yard touchdown.
The Raiders were looking for the run on this play, and it cost them the game. They brought Huff into the box and left Schweigert alone deep. The play action, along with Clark's presence in the middle of the field, kept Schwiegert away from the sideline. He is completely out of position to give over-the-top support to his cornerback. Carr makes a huge mistake in letting Berrian release freely from the line of scrimmage. He lets the wideout run untouched along the sideline and then bites on the stutter step. With Schweigert unable to reach the sideline before the ball and Carr five yards behind the receiver, Berrian is able to make the easy catch and score.
Jeremy Stoltz is an Associate Editor for Chicago Sports Weekly. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.
- Comparing Urlacher to Butkus and Singletary
- "New" Soldier Field vs. "Old" Soldier Field
- Reliving the 61-7 win over Green Bay in 1980
- An excerpt from Cindi Dammann's Tailgating Tales
- Getting to know LB Jamar Williams
All of that plus much more in the latest issue of ...
BEAR REPORT, the only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears ... CLICK HERE to subscribe today