X-and-O Show: Packers vs. Bears

Doug Farrar, our very own Prince of the Playbook, goes to the film room once again and breaks down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Green Bay Packers from Sunday's 37-3 beatdown of the NFC North rival Chicago Bears in Week 11 at Lambeau Field.

Packers on Offense: Nelson's Killer Block
Green Bay's receivers are known for their ability to pick up yards after the catch, but there's something else that needs to be mentioned about this group: they block better than any other receiving corps in the NFL. Whether it's Donald Driver or Greg Jennings or James Jones, these receivers block like tight ends and they're especially effective downfield. Rookie Jordy Nelson was a perfect fit for the Packers because of his ability to get down the field and take on defenders, and he showed his blocking acumen on Ryan Grant's 22-yard run with 3:49 left in the third quarter and the Packers up 17-3.

The Packers lined up in an I-formation at the Chicago 23, with tight end Donald Lee in motion from left to right and fullback John Kuhn ahead of Grant. At the snap, the left side of Green Bay's offensive line did an excellent job of using slide protection to engage the Chicago front line. Lee on the left side gave the Packers an unbalanced play-side look.


FootballOutsiders.com Illustration

Because right guard Jason Spitz and right tackle Mark Tauscher were able to block their men away from the play one-on-one, center Scott Wells could chip at the line and head out to the second level to block linebacker Brian Urlacher and strong safety Mike Brown, who read run and was coming down to help.

At the snap, Nelson, who was lined up wide left, ran straight ahead to engage cornerback Corey Graham, who was playing off. Grant found a lane inside Nelson toward the left sideline, and while Nelson kept Graham blocked, safety Kevin Payne and cornerback Charles Tillman came over to try and tackle Grant, who went out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Nelson pushed Graham back a good 13 yards – from the 15-yard line to the 2 – just in step with Grant. His blocking allowed the play to continue, keeping Graham's defensive backfield mates from closing in.

It's clear that Nelson is a true Packers receiver, and that's just as true when he's nowhere near the ball as when he's hauling in a quick strike and looking to get downfield.

Packers on Defense: Woodson's Corner Blitz
At its best, blitz pickup is an art and a science. Against Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, it was a non-factor.

The Bears lined up in a max protect, single-back and two wide on their own 20. Green Bay countered with tight man coverage and Woodson blitzing off the right side.


CB Charles Woodson
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

At the snap, tight end Greg Olsen inexplicably turned to block inside, leaving the blitzing Woodson with an unobstructed path to quarterback Kyle Orton. Orton was busy selling play action to the right side with a fake to halfback Matt Forte, and he was very surprised to find Mr. Woodson in his kitchen on a backside blitz. Woodson sacked Orton at the Chicago 12-yard line.

That turned first-and-10 into second-and-18. Down 17-3 already, the Bears didn't need to dig themselves any more holes. They managed to get to their own 45 on that drive before punting the ball back to Green Bay.

The Packers' next drive included the Grant run detailed above, a touchdown pass to Lee, a 24-3 lead, and an end to the competitive phase of the game.

Doug Farrar is a Staff Writer for FootballOutsiders.com. He is also a Panelist for The Washington Post and a Contributor to The Seattle Times.


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