Bears on Defense: Benson Sets the Table
At the snap, Palmer hands the ball off to Benson on a stretch run to the strong side. RT Dennis Roland chip blocks DT Anthony Adams and then gets a block on Roach. C Kyle Cook does the same thing to Briggs. All of the other linemen, as well as Vasher and Afalava, get caught up in the wash. DE Adewale Ogunleye gets hung up with Whitworth, giving Benson just enough time to turn the corner and cut inside Coles, who blocks CB Charles Tillman to the sideline. Benson rumbles 23 yards before being knocked out of bounds by S Danieal Manning.
It was all downhill from there, as Benson went on to rush for 189 yards on the day. The Cincinnati offensive line just pushed around Chicago's defense, opening hole after hole. On this play though, the Bears not only failed to recognize the unbalanced line but they shifted away from it, going so far as to bring Afalava all the way up to the line on the opposite side. The only player who had a chance at stuffing the play was Ogunleye, who couldn't get off his block. Brian Urlacher's loss has hurt this defense in pre-snap positioning more than anything else. Roach just cannot figure out how to line up the defense properly, repeatedly giving the offense the upper hand.
Bears on Offense: Leaky Line
At the snap, Cutler turns and fakes a handoff to Forte up the middle. RT Chris Williams blocks down on DT Pat Sims, leaving Olsen alone to block DE Robert Geathers. On the opposite side, DE Frostee Rucker rushes off the edge and makes his way into the backfield. Geathers drives Olsen back nine yards and is in Cutler's face within a second of the snap. Williams drops back to help on Geathers, allowing Cutler to step around the rush. Rucker then rips away from the attempted block of LT Orlando Pace and takes Cutler down for a sack. The play goes for a 10-yard loss.
This was the first play of the drive, after the Bengals had gone up 14-0. The Chicago offense needed to establish something on this possession and put points on the board. Yet after this play put them in 2nd and long, it ended up being a three-and-out. The communication from the offensive line was non-existent, as half the line attempted to block the two defensive tackles, leaving Olsen, who is not known for his blocking, alone to handle Geathers, who easily bull-rushes his way into the backfield. Yet, even after that mistake, the play still had a chance, but Pace could not control Rucker, who did not attempt any fancy maneuver but was basically let free into the backfield. The lack of desire is obvious with this offensive line, and unless they learn to talk to each other and put forth some effort, more losses can be expected.
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Jeremy Stoltz is the editor-in-chief of The Business Ledger, the business newspaper for suburban Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.
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