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 for the Chicago Bears from Sunday's 48-41 shootout victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7 at Soldier Field.

Bears on Defense
Third quarter. 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 46-yard line. The Vikings line up in a power-I set. Gus Frerotte is under center, with FB Naufahu Tahi and RB Adrian Peterson stacked in the backfield. TE Jim Kleinsasser is wide left, with WR Bobby Wade in the slot. TE Visanthe Shiancoe is positioned on the right edge of the line. The Bears counter with a base 4-3. The four down linemen are backed by linebackers Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Hunter Hillenmeyer. CB Trumaine McBride is three yards in front of Kleinsasser, with safeties Mike Brown and Kevin Payne 15 yards deep. Just before the snap, Kleinsasser goes in motion toward the middle of the field and slows up just at the left edge of the line.

RB Adrian Peteson
Jeff Gross/Getty

At the snap, Frerotte turns and hands the ball to Peterson running off tackle to the left. Kleinsasser crashes down on DE Alex Brown, sealing the edge. Tahi leads off tackle, as G Anthony Herrera pulls left. Both Briggs and Urlacher get caught in the wash of linemen, essentially taking themselves out of the play. Wade gets a good block on McBride on the outside. Hillenmeyer comes cross-field and tries to fill the hole on the left side, but Herrera gets a piece of him. Peterson blasts through the arm tackles of Hillenmeyer and McBride. Payne comes up in support but takes an awful angle, allowing Peterson to make a quick inside cut and fly past the falling safety. The only defender left is a back-pedaling Brown, who is no match for the speed of the running back. Peterson breaks across the field and dashes into the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown.

The blame for this play can be placed on Urlacher and Briggs, both of whom rush right into the inside pile of linemen and leave a gaping hole to the outside. But Payne made the biggest mistake. When pursuing the ball carrier toward the sideline, a defender should always take an inside-out angle and use the sideline to his advantage. Instead, Payne flies up to the point where he expects Peterson to be, which allows the Pro Bowl running back to cut back inside untouched. The rest was just an exhibition of speed, ending in a TD that cut the lead to 3 points.

Bears on Offense
Third quarter. 1st and 10 at the Chicago 49-yard line. The Bears line up in a two-tight end set, with QB Kyle Orton under center. TE Greg Olsen is down left, and TE Desmond Clark is down right. RB Matt Forte is alone in the backfield, and WR Marty Booker is wide left. The Vikings counter with a base 4-3. Three linebackers support the four down linemen. Both corners are giving a 7-yard cushion. Before the snap, LB Chad Greenway creeps up to the line just across from right tackle John Tait.

QB Kyle Orton and WR Marty Booker
M. Spencer Green/AP Images

At the snap, Orton drops back to pass. Greenway blitzes inside, and LB Napoleon Harris blitzes behind him. At the same time, DE Jared Allen drops into the flat – indicating a zone blitz. Tait drives Greenway inside and Forte steps up to pick up the blitzing Harris, giving Orton time to throw. Booker runs 7 yards down field and stops on a curl route. CB Cedric Griffin, who lined up across from Booker, stays in his deep zone, assuming Allen would cover the flat. But Allen runs right past the receiver. Orton fires a pass right into Booker's stomach, who then spins to the inside and turns upfield. Olsen, who had run a seam route, turns and blocks Griffin, allowing Booker to break free. The receiver then sprints down the hashmark untouched for a 51-yard touchdown.

Much of the credit for this play can be given to Forte, who does a great job of picking up the blitz. Without his block on Harris, Orton would have been forced to take a sack. Instead, the QB had plenty of time to find his open receiver. Booker also makes a great cut after the catch and finds a seam in the defense through which to run. His speed on this play was extremely impressive, especially for a 32-year-old. It was a well-executed play that put the Bears ahead by an insurmountable 10 points.

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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