X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Ravens

Jeremy Stoltz goes to the film room to break down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Chicago Bears from Sunday's 31-7 drubbing by the Ravens in Week 15 at M&T Bank Stadium.

Bears on Defense: One Head Better than Two
Third quarter. 1st and 10 at the Chicago 32-yard line. The Ravens line up in an off-balanced, power-I set. QB Joe Flacco is under center with FB Le'Ron McClain and RB Ray Rice stacked in the backfield. Two tackles are on the right edge of the line, as well as TE Todd Heap. WR Demetrius Williams is wide left, about five yards outside of the left tackle. The Bears counter with a base 4-3. CB Charles Tillman is three yards across from Williams, while on the other side, S Kevin Payne and CB Zack Bowman are up on the line of scrimmage. S Al Afalava, lined up in the middle of the field, is the only deep defender.

At the snap, Flacco turns and fakes a handoff to Rice up the middle. All three linebackers bite on the play action. Heap releases from the line and runs a 10-yard drag pattern, taking Bowman with him. Payne blitzes and gets pressure on Flacco, as does DE Alex Brown on the weak side. At the same time, Williams runs a fly pattern just outside of the left hash mark. Tillman is on his hip as Flacco release a high pass downfield. Tillman doesn't turn his head quickly enough though and ends up grabbing Williams by the shoulder pad, eliciting a pass interference flag. The receiver then breaks on the ball just inside the end zone. Afalava floats over but doesn't make a play on the ball. Williams then jumps up and brings in a great catch for the touchdown.

On this play-action pass, the Ravens sent out only two receivers. One was Williams on a fly, and the other was Heap running across the field. That being the case, why was Afalava roaming in the middle of the field when there was no one else anywhere near him except for Williams? Flacco then makes an awful decision and throws the ball off his back foot into double coverage, yet not only does Afalava just watch the receiver make the catch, but Tillman gets called for interference as well. This was an opportunity for the defense to make a game-changing play, yet the execution was miserable at best and put the team in a hole they were never able to climb out of.


TE Greg Olsen
AP Images: Gail Burton

Bears on Offense: Failed Fade
Second quarter. 4th and goal at the Baltimore 1-yard line. Chicago lines up in a three-receiver set with QB Jay Cutler under center. Two receivers are split left, outside of TE Desmond Clark. To the right, TE Greg Olsen is isolated wide against CB Domonique Foxworth. The Ravens counter with a goal-line defense with two linebackers supporting six defensive linemen. Each receiver is being shown bump-and-coverage.

At the snap, Cutler turns and fires a fade pass into the far right corner of the end zone. Olsen uses a quick inside stutter step before breaking to the corner. The ball is thrown high and out of the reach of Foxworth. Olsen goes up for the pass, but the ball sails over his head and off his fingertips. The play goes as an incompletion, and the ball is turned over to Baltimore.

Foxworth is 5-11 while Olsen is 6-5, a mismatch that must have had offensive coordinator Ron Turner salivating. All Cutler had to do was put some arc on the ball and let it drop down over Foxworth's head for the touchdown. Instead, he throws a flat pass that sails over the heads of both players. The defender never had a chance on the ball, yet Olsen was only able to get a finger on it. This was single coverage with a defender six inches shorter than the receiver, yet Cutler just could not execute. The throw wreaked of laziness and is not the type of pass a franchise quarterback makes.


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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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