X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Seahawks

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 debilitating 30-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field.

Bears on Defense
1st-and-10 on the Chicago 19-yard line. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck lines up under center with two wide receivers split to his right and another to his left. FB Leonard Weaver and RB Maurice Morris are in the I-formation in the backfield. The Bears counter with their nickel package. The four defensive linemen are supported three yards behind by linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. Nickelback Ricky Manning Jr., who is covering the slot receiver, slides inside and shows blitz just before the ball is snapped.

RB Maurice Morris
Elaine Thompson/AP Images

At the snap, the entire Seattle offensive line blocks left. Hasselbeck turns and hands the ball of to Morris running off-tackle left. LT Walter Jones and LG Rob Sims lock up on DE Mark Anderson and DT Darwin Walker, respectively, effectively taking them out of the play and opening a big hole on the left side. C Chris Spencer pushes DT Anthony Adams away from the point of attack, as backside guard Chris Gray reaches the second level and gets a good block on Urlacher. Briggs recognizes the play but runs past the hole and is pushed away from the ball-carrier by the lead blocker, Weaver. Morris runs through the gaping hole on the left side and breaks an arm tackle from a falling Urlacher. He then has a clear path to the end zone, giving the Seahawks their first lead of the game.

On this play, the entire front four and two linebackers are out-muscled. All four D-linemen and Urlacher fail to get off their blocks. They basically get pushed around, offering little resistance. The only player who had a chance at stopping this run was Briggs, but he ran himself right out of the play. It seemed as if no defender on this play was interested in stuffing the run. Seattle played smash-mouth football, and no one on the defense was ready to fight back. I don't remember a play like this, where the lack of desire was so blatantly evident, ever happening last season. This just goes to show how far this defense has regressed this year.

Bears on Offense
2nd-and-8 on the Seattle 27-yard line. Chicago lines up with QB Rex Grossman under center with FB Jason McKie and RB Cedric Benson stacked in the I-formation behind him. TE Greg Olsen is positioned on the right side of the line with WR Devin Hester split to his right. WR Muhsin Muhammad is split left. The Seahawks counter with a base 4-3. Just before the snap, Hester motions towards the middle of the field.

WR Devin Hester
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

At the snap, Hester continues to run across the field. Grossman fakes an up-the-middle handoff to Benson before handing the ball to Hester on an end-around. At the same time, the entire offensive line blocks down hard right, attempting to seal off the D-line. Because of this, the two play-side linebackers and defensive end are left unblocked. Hester receives the ball and attempts to run around the left end. At this point, the two linebackers reach the ball-carrier and run him out of bounds. The play goes for 6-yard loss.

This was the last play run in the third quarter, and it was the first time Hester touched the ball on offense. Everyone in the stadium knew Hester was on the field including the Seattle defense, which was watching his every move. He could be the most valuable decoy in the history of the game, but the Bears never use him in that fashion. In this case, the Seahawks recognized his presence on the field, saw him go in motion, and followed him for the duration of the play. How well would this play have worked if Grossman had faked the end-around? The entire defense was keyed on Hester, which would have left Olsen wide open in the middle of the field. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner must figure out more creative ways to use his most explosive weapon if this offense is to be consistently successful.

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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