X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Lions

Jeremy Stoltz goes to the film room to break down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Chicago Bears from Sunday's season-ending 37-23 win over the Lions in Week 17 at Ford Field.

Bears on Defense: One-Man Wrecking Crew
First quarter. 3rd and 1 at the Detroit 36-yard line. The Lions line up in a two-tight end, power-I set with QB Daunte Culpepper under center. FB Jerome Felton is off-set right in front of RB Maurice Morris. WR Calvin Johnson is wide right. The Bears employ a 4-3 defense with nine players in the box. CB Zack Bowman is a yard across from Johnson.

At the snap, Culpepper hands the ball to Morris running off-tackle right. On the play side, DE Mark Anderson drives into the backfield but overruns the play, while next to him DT Anthony Adams is buried at the line by C Dominic Raiola. LB Lance Briggs attempts to fill the gap, but he's picked up well by G Dylan Gandy. On the backside, DT Tommie Harris, who lined up next to Adams in the left-center gap, slants to the inside of G Daniel Loper. Harris drives the lineman two yards into the backfield, into the off-tackle lane. Both players then fall down, creating a pile in front of Morris. The running back has nowhere to go and trips over the mound of bodies. The play goes for a 1-yard loss, forcing Detroit to punt.

At times this season, Harris has shown flashes of his 2006 form. While he most likely will never be the player he once was, he is still capable of making outstanding plays such as this one, in which he absolutely explodes off the ball and completely disrupts the third-down run. He essentially forced a punt all by himself. With all of the positional holes GM Jerry Angelo has to fill this summer, it is nice knowing that as long as Harris is healthy, defensive tackle will be at the bottom of the list.


QB Jay Cutler
Getty Images: Gregory Shamus

Bears on Offense: No. 4 for Cutler
Fourth quarter. 3rd and 5 at the Detroit 12-yard line. The Bears line up in a strong-right, power-I set with QB Jay Cutler under center. TE Desmond Clark is on the right edge of the line, while FB Jason McKie and RB Kahlil Bell are stacked in the backfield. On the left side, WR Earl Bennett is split wide and WR Devin Aromashodu is in the slot. The Lions counter with a 4-3. Two linebackers and S Marvin White are up on the line of scrimmage showing blitz. Before the snap, Aromashodu motions across the field to the right side, bringing CB William James with him.

At the snap, both linebackers blitz up the middle but are picked up well. Cutler turns and fakes a handoff to Bell before rolling out to the right. Bell swings into the right flat, bringing DE Turk McBride and LB DeAndre Levy with him. At the same time, Aromashodu sprints to the end zone and runs an out route to the sideline. Cutler fires a low pass his way. Aromashodu slides and scoops the ball before it hits the ground. The play goes for the game-sealing touchdown.

This play was well-designed to exploit the blitz, as it rolled Cutler away from the pressure and gave him room to work, something offensive coordinator Ron Turner should have been doing more of throughout the season. Because of the pre-snap motion, Cutler knew he had man coverage. McBride and Levy both swing to the flat to cover Bell, leaving Aromashodu all alone with James. Cutler sees the mismatch and throws a good ball. The line played much better the last two weeks, and they did a good job of giving Cutler time on this play, but it's the chemistry between him and Aromashodu that is so promising for next season. Wide receiver was the biggest question mark for this offense coming into the season, but it might now be the only position that doesn't need an overhaul. Aromashodu has the size and speed to be a No. 1 receiver in this league, and it seems as if he and Cutler are on the same page. A full offseason of work between the two of them might be just what this passing game needs to take that next step.


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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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