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 for the Chicago Bears from Sunday's 34-7 victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 5 at Ford Field.

Bears on Defense
Second quarter. 2nd and 2 at the Chicago 42-yard line. The Lions employ a four-receiver set, with QB Jon Kitna in the shotgun. RB Rudi Johnson is to Kitna's left, with two wide receivers on either side of the line. The Bears counter with a nickel package. Four down linemen are accompanied along the line of scrimmage by linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. S Danieal Manning is also showing blitz off the left edge of the line.


DT Anthony Adams
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, both linebackers plus Manning drop into coverage, leaving only a four-man rush. Kitna takes the snap and looks right before immediately looking left. Johnson stays in to block initially and attempts a half-hearted chip on DT Anthony Adams. At the same time, DT Marcus Harrison bull rushes G Manuel Ramirez, who holds his block for only a second before releasing his man and running to the opposite flat. G Edwin Mulitalo uses the same block-and-go technique with Adams, which reveals the play is a screen pass. Adams recognizes the screen and grabs on to the running back. Johnson cannot clear the line of scrimmage, and Kitna has no one to pass to. Harrison then flies untouched to the quarterback and takes him down for a sack. The play goes for a 7-yard loss.

On the three plays prior to this one, Detroit had completed three straight passes for 32 yards. They were driving the ball using only the pass, a strategy Tampa Bay used to earn a comeback victory of the Bears in Week 3. But on this play, the veteran Adams recognizes the screen and single-handedly disrupts the play by locking on to the running back. This allows the rookie Harrison to pick up the second sack of his career, which stalled the drive and took the life out the opposing offense. This play is just one example of how dominant the interior of Chicago's defensive line has been thus far. It was all the more impressive considering that – when the entire line is healthy or not under suspension – neither Adams nor Harrison is a starter.

Bears on Offense
Second quarter. 2nd and 3 at the Detroit 12-yard line. The Bears line up in a three-receiver set, with QB Kyle Orton under center. Two receivers are split left, and RB Matt Forte is alone in the backfield. TE Desmond Clark is on the right edge of the line, with WR Devin Hester wide right. The Lions use a nickel package with four down linemen. LB Ernie Sims is showing blitz off the right edge. CB Leigh Bodden is giving Hester a 6-yard cushion. Before the snap, S Daniel Bullocks creeps up toward the line across from Clark.


WR Devin Hester
Paul Sancya/AP Images

At the snap, Orton drops back to pass. Sims blitzes and reveals man-to-man coverage in the secondary, but he is picked up nicely by Forte. Clark runs a quick-out pattern to the right flat, bringing Bullocks with him. Hester runs straight ahead for four yards before breaking across the field on a slant pattern. Orton sees the blitz, cuts short his drop and fires the ball to Hester, who is wide open because of Bodden's cushion. Hester catches the ball, stops immediately and pivots back toward the sideline. Momentum takes Bodden past the receiver, allowing Hester to stroll into the end zone for an easy touchdown.

Chicago's offense did a great job of exploiting the defense on this play. The blitzing linebacker, who never got any pressure on the QB, forces the safety to cover Clark, who runs a shallow flat pattern. This leaves Bodden on an island to cover one of the most explosive players in the game. In addition, Bodden's cushion, which was completely unnecessary given his proximity to the goal line, allows Hester to easily break inside and catch the short pass. Orton recognizes the situation and makes the correct decision. All Hester then has to do is use his natural elusiveness to juke the corner and walk into the end zone. It was great recognition and execution by both the passer and receiver.

Jeremy Stoltz is a news editor for The Business Ledger, the business newspaper for suburban Chicago. He contributes often to Bear Report and BearReport.com.


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