Bears on Offense: Williams' Miserable Day
At the snap, all four receivers release downfield. The Oakland secondary drops into a three-deep zone, effectively taking away the deep pass. DEs Kamerion Wimbley, right, and Lamarr Houston, left, both rush hard off the edge. DT Tommy Kelly fakes a bull-rush on C Olin Kreutz and then swings outside left. This leaves Kreutz and LG Roberto Garza with no one to block. To their left is LT Chris Williams, who is isolated on Wimbley. Williams takes a few steps backward before Wimbley is upon him. The defensive end then uses a lazy side-step move that straight freezes Williams. Wimbley then swings around to the outside and has a free run at the QB. Cutler goes down for an 11-yard loss.
While most knew this would be a rough season for the Chicago offensive line, the one bright spot was supposed to be Williams, a former first-round pick, on the left side. The Vanderbilt product had played the position his whole career and was drafted to protect the quarterback's blind side. Instead, he looked foolish against the Raiders, allowing a career underachiever in Wimbley, who had four sacks in the first half, to completely dominate him. On this play, Wimbley did hardly anything more than run right by him. Williams was caught with his head down and his feet in cement. And why was there no support from either Garza or Kreutz? The nose tackle ran away from them almost immediately, yet neither thought to turn around and see if Williams needed help. Although, why would they think the supposed best pass blocker of the group would need so much support against a journeyman defensive end?
Bears on Defense: Peppers' Big Day
At the snap, Campbell turns and hands the ball off to Bush running off-tackle right. All three linebackers step up into the middle of the line of scrimmage. The right side of the Oakland line crashes hard left, taking three defensive linemen and all three linebackers with them. Bowman, who had edge-contain duties, sees the runner coming at him, yet he slides down inside and falls into the pile of bodies. On the opposite side of the field, DE Julius Peppers, who is lined up between the tackle and tight end, breaks through the two linemen and moves laterally down the line. He reaches Bush at the 2-yard line and brings the ball carrier down before gaining the goal line.
Two things are worth mentioning on this play: First is that almost the entire defense gets caught up in the wash in the middle of the field. Outside of Peppers, each defender was committed to stopping the up-the-middle run and nothing else. This includes Bowman, who could have made a play on Bush, yet he chose to take the easy way out and slide into the pile. Goal-line defense is about toughness, which was shown by only one player on this play. That brings us to the second point: Peppers is a beast. Someone his size should have never been able to break through the line and reach the runner on the opposite side of the field. And not only did he get there, but he stopped Bush from scoring – after having done it already on the previous play. He later had a sack and a forced fumble. It's obvious that as long as Peppers stays motivated, he will easily be the most productive player on this defense.
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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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