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 27-23 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 9 at Soldier Field.

Bears on Defense: Steltz's Big Pick
Fourth quarter. 3rd and 9 at the Chicago 19-yard line. The Lions break the huddle in a three-wide receiver set. QB Dan Orlovsky is under center, with RB Kevin Smith seven yards behind him. TE Michael Gaines is on the left edge of the line, and WR Shaun McDonald is wide left. On the right side of the field, WR Calvin Johnson is in the slot with WR Mike Furrey split wide. The Bears counter with a nickel package. Eight men are on the line of scrimmage, including four down linemen, linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher across from the center and S Kevin Payne on the left edge – they're all showing blitz. CB Corey Graham is lined up five yards across from Johnson, while CB Charles Tillman is eight yards across from Furrey. Just before the snap, Furrey motions inside and stops just to Johnson's right. Graham sees the man in motion and turns his head to quickly discuss coverage duties with Tillman.

S Craig Steltz
Jeff Gross/Getty

At the snap, Orlovsky drops back to pass. Briggs blitzes up the middle and is picked up by the center, while Payne blitzes off the left edge. Smith attempts to block Payne but falls down, giving Payne a clear path to the quarterback. On the other side of the line, DE Adewale Ogunleye and DT Israel Idonije both get deep into the backfield, putting pressure on the QB. At the same time, Graham doesn't realize the ball has been snapped because his head is turned toward Tillman. By the time he looks back, Johnson is flying right past him. Because of the blitz, only S Craig Steltz is left in deep coverage in the middle of the field. Johnson races straight to the end zone and is wide open for a brief second. Orlovsky throws a touch pass to his receiver, but Steltz comes across the field and picks the ball off at the goal line. He then returns it 44 yards to the Chicago 43-yard line.

The Lions were up by 3 at that point, and had they scored they would have had a 10-point lead with less than 13 minutes to play. Instead, Steltz, who was only on the field because of a calf injury to starter Mike Brown, recognized the blown coverage by Graham and did a great job of backing up his teammate. It was a heady play from a player who had only made it on to the field for a handful of defensive plays all season before Sunday's contest. His interception changed the momentum of the game and kept the Detroit lead at just 3 points. It was great recognition by the rookie out of LSU, which is a good sign for this team going forward.

Bears on Offense: Forte to the Goal Line
Fourth quarter. 2nd and 10 at the Detroit 20-yard line. The Bears use a three-wide receiver set, with QB Rex Grossman under center and RB Matt Forte alone in the backfield. TE Desmond Clark is on the left edge of the line, and WR Devin Hester is wide left. WR Marty Booker is split right, with TE Greg Olsen in the slot. The Lions counter with a base 4-3. The four down linemen are backed in the middle of the field by linebackers Paris Lenon and Ernie Sims. Linebacker Ryan Nece is lined up outside right.

RB Matt Forte
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

At the snap, LT John St. Clair and LG Josh Beekman double-team DT Cory Redding. C Olin Kreutz crashes right on DT Shaun Cody, while RG Roberto Garza slips behind and pulls across the line to lead block. At the same time, Grossman turns and hands the ball off to Forte up the middle. Sims fills the off-tackle gap but is kicked out by Garza. St. Clair drives Redding into the middle of the field, allowing Beekman to release and get a block on Lenon. With Clark pushing DE Dwayne White to the outside, all eight defenders in the box are accounted for, opening up a huge hole on the left side. Forte makes a quick stutter-step as he reaches the line of scrimmage and then busts through the hole untouched. He breaks into the secondary and is pulled down at the 1-yard line by S Kalvin Pearson.

This play sets the Bears up for the game-winning touchdown. The offense effectively utilized this interior blocking scheme multiple times during the game. St. Clair and Beekman use a zone blocking technique where they initially double team the tackle, and then one of them scrapes off to pick up the linebacker. With Kreutz blocking down and Garza kicking out on Sims, who seriously overplayed the run, the offense could have driven a truck through the enormous hole. All Forte had to do was run straight ahead. This was smash-mouth football at its best and it ended up earning the Bears their fifth win of the season.

Jeremy Stoltz is the Editor in Chief of Bear Report and also a regular contributor to BearReport.com. E-mail him at jeremy.stoltz@gmail.com.

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