Bears on Defense: Grant's Big Gallop
At the snap, all five offensive linemen use pass blocking technique, as Rodgers drops back to throw. Hall releases through the line between the left tackle and guard as Grant takes a step to his right, presumably to pass block. When Rodgers reaches Grant, though, he pulls the ball down and hands it to the running back. At the same time, all three linebackers break forward from their coverage drops once they realize it's a run. Left end Alex Brown rushes off the edge, as the running back flies past him on his inside. Urlacher and Briggs both step up to fill the gaps, yet Urlacher picks the weak side and gets caught up in the wash of bodies. Hall makes a solid lead block on Roach. Grant rushes through the hole on the left side and then to the inside of Hall. Roach breaks away from the fullback's block and moves downfield to tackle the runner from behind. Payne comes up in run support but uses an awful breakdown technique and tries to lunge at the runner. Grant makes a quick juke move to the outside right past the safety. Payne ends up missing the runner completely and flies right into the chest of Roach, knocking the linebacker backwards. Grant then sprints toward the sideline before CB Charles Tillman takes him down after a 35-yard gain.
This was the third play of the game, and it set the tone for the massacre that was to come. The Bears defense came into the game ranked fourth in the league against the run and was facing a Packers rushing offense that was ranked near the bottom of the standings. All the Packers did was rush 38 times for 200 yards. Chicago was out-muscled at the point of attack the entire game. Its inability to stop the run opened up the passing game for Rodgers and Co., which allowed the Packers to put up 37 points.
Bears on Offense: Paging Mr. Forte
At the snap, Orton turns and hands the ball to Forte running up the middle right. The linemen block straight up and get a good push on the defensive line. On the left edge, DE Michael Montgomery uses his hands to keep separation from Clark and then sheds the block as he moves down the line. As Forte crosses the line of scrimmage, Montgomery dives and grabs the runner around the waist. He twists Forte around, and the tailback goes down for an unremarkable 4-yard gain.
This play was not chosen because it in some way changed the game or was an example of some aspect of the contest that cost the Bears a win. No, it was chosen because this was the only run Forte had in the second half. Chicago was only down 14 at the half, yet offensive coordinator Ron Turner called pass plays on 20 of the first 21 offensive snaps, attempting to utilize a quarterback who had a gimpy ankle and could not properly step into his throws. This created a very inconsistent and inaccurate day for Orton. Instead of recognizing this and attempting to play smash-mouth football, Turner chose to air it out over and over – yielding zero points. All the while, his best offensive player was being used almost exclusively as a pass blocker.
Jeremy Stoltz is the Editor in Chief of Bear Report and also a regular contributor to BearReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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