Drill down: The Redskins Rushing Game vs. Bears

Joe Gibbs' decision to switch quarterbacks will make a successful running game critical to the team's overall success. Here's a close-up look at the Redskins' rushing game against the Bears and you can see for yourself what worked, what didn't and why.

First Quarter

Gibbs talks about the Redskins' running game on the day Audio 1 Audio 2

1-10-WAS22 (13:16) C. Portis up the middle to WAS 21 for -1 yards (B.Urlacher).

Urlacher came shooting through the middle untouched and hit Portis shortly after he received the handoff.

1-10-WAS40 (12:23) C.Portis right end to WAS 41 for 1 yard (A. Brown).

Not much surge by the offensive line as Portis just ran into a pile of bodies

2-9-WAS41 (11:49) L.Betts right guard to WAS 45 for 4 yards (B.Urlacher).

Straight handoff up the middle. Rabach got a good block on Terry Johnson and Thomas got in the way of a linebacker to open up a crack that Betts hit quickly.

1-10-WAS13 (8:52) C.Portis left tackle to WAS 15 for 2 yards (M.Brown).

The line opened up a wide hole for Portis but before he could really break through it Brown came over from the back side and made the tackle.

2-8-WAS15 (8:14) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 18 for 3 yards (L.Briggs).

The blocking was kind of muddled here as Rabach slid over to the point of attack, but Portis had already passed by him by the time he could look to block anyone.

1-10-WAS45 (5:07) C.Portis up the middle to WAS 43 for -2 yards (I.Scott).

The surge was by the defensive line as they pushed the Washington O-line back a good two yards and Portis had nowhere to run.

Joe Bugel: "I thought we were very persistent because the game started off rather slowly. We weren't gaining much in the running game, but we were very persistent. Our linemen were persistent as were our running backs. Coach Gibbs kept calling the run."

Portis on early problems with the running game Audio

1-10-WAS11 (:54) C.Portis left end to WAS 19 for 8 yards (B.Urlacher).

Samuels did a very good job of sticking with his block of Alex Brown. It wasn't a highlight-film pancake, he just stayed between Brown and Portis as they both slid down the line and Portis was easily quick enough to get to daylight. Portis was gang tackled by three Bears at the 15 and he drove the pile forward for an addition four yards.

2-2-WAS19 (:22) C.Portis left end to WAS 19 for no gain (Ta.Johnson).

They ran this play with an unbalanced line, with Jansen to Samuels' left and Chris Cooley lined up to the right of Randy Thomas on the other side. They went to the left, but Samuels got pushed back towards Portis, who had to adjust his path allowing the pursuit to get to him.

Second Quarter

1-10-CHI20 (13:54) L.Betts right tackle to CHI 15 for 5 yards (M.Brown).

Nothing even remotely fancy here, just a blast up the middle. Betts found a little daylight to the right before being brought down.

2-5-CHI15 (13:11) L.Betts right guard to CHI 7 for 8 yards (M.Brown).

Everyone piled up in the middle here, and Ogunleye tried to give Jansen an outside pass rush move, leaving some space to the right of center that Betts quickly exploited for the first down. Many suggested that the Redskins should run right at O-Gun, and this is an example of why.

1-7-CHI7 (12:31) L.Betts up the middle to CHI 7 for no gain (M.Green; B.Urlacher).

Mike Green did a good job of run support, shooting up the middle into a nice hole created by the line. If he didn't trip Betts up he probably walks into the end zone.

Portis talks about how he and Betts work as a 1-2 punch Audio

Gibbs addresses Portis-Betts Audio
Joe Bugel: "People underestimate the 1-2 punch that we do have. Both Portis and Betts are over 220 pounds and they're class acts. Not only do they run the football, but they're good pass protectors back there.

1-10-WAS35 (9:23) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 35 for no gain (A.Ogunleye).

Things closed up quickly as Portis cut back to the inside to avoid Urlacher only to run right into Ogunleye.

2-10-CHI29 (8:21) C.Portis left end to CHI 22 for 7 yards (M.Brown).

This was a semi-draw with Portis taking a stutter step and then taking the handoff deep in the backfield. The play caught the Bears in a blitz and had some potential to turn into a big gainer, but Brown came up and made a good tackle right after Portis got past the line.

1-10-WAS28 (3:17) C.Portis left end ran ob at WAS 33 for 5 yards.

Cooley and Samuels sealed off the left side and Portis had an easy scamper for five yards.

1-10-WAS40 (2:12) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 48 for 8 yards (M.Brown).

Ogunleye again took an outside pass rush, taking himself out of the play. The play was designed for Portis to go outside, but Thomas and Rabach has opened up some room in the middle by riding their men to the right and Dockery had Terry Johnson, the nose tackle, walled off, so Portis threaded his way up the middle for eight yards.

1-10-CHI29 (1:53) C.Portis right guard to CHI 25 for 4 yards (C.Tillman).

Right after making a catch for 23 yards and a first down, Cooley lined up as the fullback in the I formation and make a textbook lead block on Urlacher, allowing Portis to get through the hole that Rabach and Thomas had created at the line.

1-10-WAS18 (:16) L.Betts left guard to WAS 25 for 7 yards (M.Brown).

A classic clock-killer and stat-padder, Betts up the gut against a defense playing a little loosely, not wanting to give up a big play.

Portis on the getting the running game to work by grinding it out Audio

Third Quarter

2-10-WAS48 (9:23) C.Portis left guard to CHI 43 for 9 yards (M.Brown).

Taking another delayed handoff, Ports was able to get the first five yards with nobody near him as that's how far back Rabach, Thomas, and Dockery blasted the middle of the Bear line. Cooley also helped by sealing off the outside. Portis' had built up a good head of steam and his momentum gained a few more yards after Brown made first contact.

1-10-CHI42 (7:45) C.Portis left guard to CHI 30 for 12 yards (C.Tillman). FUMBLES (C.Tillman), and recovers at CHI 30. C.Portis to CHI 30 for no gain (C.Tillman).

The play was designed to go off right tackle but Ogunleye didn't make his usual pass rush move, so there was a large pile to contend with there. Cooley again made a key block, coming from the wing on the outside and making a block on middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer to create some daylight for Portis. He got into the secondary, but Charles Tillman knocked the ball loose while making the tackle. Fortunately, the ball bounced right back into his chest and the Redskins had a first down.

1-10-CHI30 (7:04) L.Betts left guard to CHI 20 for 10 yards (M.Haynes; To.Johnson).

Betts got a good block from Samuels and had some daylight, but he had to execute a deft spin move to avoid running up Cooley's back as the H-Back was driving a Bear defender into the ground.

1-10-CHI20(6:22) L.Betts right guard to CHI 19 for 1 yard (To.Johnson).

The Bears line stood up the Redskins' line and Betts had nowhere to run.

1-8-CHI8(5:06) C.Portis right guard to CHI 5 for 3 yards (To.Johnson, I.Scott).

Again, Cooley got a good block on Urlacher, but in the first and goal situation the secondary made the stop before Portis could get much past that.

2-5-CHI5(4:26) C.Portis right guard to CHI 3 for 2 yards (A.Ogunleye).

No place to run and Portis did well to tunnel under some bodies for a small gain.

1-10-WAS6(:06) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 47 for 41 yards (To.Johnson).

Portis was the single back in a formation that was double strong left as both Cooley and Royal were lined up tight on the left. The Chicago linebackers cheated heavily that way, with the left outside linebacker lining up almost directly in front of the ball. They had fallen into a trap. Ogunleye made his outside pass rush move, Thomas blocked the man in front of him and with the surge of the offensive line the linebackers were trapped inside. He got a good block from Moss about ten yards downfield and he was off to the races. It looked like he had a shot at taking it the distance but Azumah and Todd Johnson were able to catch him from behind and bring him down.



Portis on the play Audio

Fourth Quarter

1-10-WAS47 (15:00) L.Betts right end to WAS 45 for -2 yards (B.Urlacher).

Urlacher got him with what looked for all the world to be the recently-outlawed horse collar tackle as he grabbed Betts by the back and dragged him down from behind. There wasn't a good shot of it to see just what Urlacher grabbed, but Betts came down pretty quickly making it unlikely that he had been grabbed by the jersey, which is legal.

3-20-WAS37 (13:44) L.Betts right end to WAS 41 for 4 yards (A.Ogunleye).

With the Bears playing loose to prevent a third and 20 conversion, Betts got off tackle for a few yards.

1-10-WAS23(5:42) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 27 for 4 yards (L.Briggs).

Portis found some running room behind Randy Thomas who again handled nose tackle Terry Johnson as he had all day long.

2-6-WAS27(5:01) C.Portis up the middle to WAS 28 for 1 yard (Ta.Johnson).

The Bears jammed up the middle and Portis had nowhere to run.

1-10-WAS43(3:37) C.Portis right guard to WAS 49 for 6 yards (B.Urlacher, To.Johnson).

He took the hand off and then made a little stutter step as he found a hole over, you guessed it, Randy Thomas and zipped through for six yards.

2-4-WAS49 (2:53) C.Portis right tackle to CHI 43 for 8 yards (C.Harris).

More simple power football with Samuels, Dockery and Rabach collapsing the right side of the Chicago line enabling Portis to go straight ahead for eight.

Brunell talks about the running game in the second half Audio

1-10-CHI43(2:10) L.Betts right guard to CHI 41 for 2 yards (A.Brown).

The line got a good surge here but he was caught from the back side.

2-8-CHI41(2:00) L.Betts right tackle to CHI 40 for 1 yard (I.Scott).

The Bears were stacked up against the run and Betts had no shot.

3-7-CHI40(1:55) L.Betts right tackle to CHI 39 for 1 yard (A.Ogunleye).

Betts may have had a shot at getting a first down, but Ogunleye tripped him up by the ankles in the backfield and he could only stumble forward for one yard.


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