Adam Shaheen caught four of five targets for 44 yards with a touchdown in the Bears' blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, making it his most productive game as a pro. Three of Shaheen's catches were particularly productive: An 18-yard reception with the Bears backed up near their own end zone; a 16-yard grab on fourth and three; and a one-yard touchdown.
But Shaheen's positive impact extended beyond his contributions to the Bears' passing game. In this week's film breakdown, we're going to look at a dozen plays on which Shaheen was involved -- nine of which were positive.
We'll start with Tarik Cohen's near-touchdown in the first quarter, on which the rookie running back stepped out of bounds before dashing into the end zone. The play still went for a 14-yard gain.
Shaheen is lined up in-line in a two-tight end set, and his assignment on the play is rookie linebacker Jordan Evans (blue arrow).
Shaheen engages with Evans (blue circle) while Cohen patiently waits for a hole to develop between Shaheen and left tackle Charles Leno. Evans sticks his hand in Shaheen's neck, but Shaheen is able to maintain leverage.
A zoomed-in view of where Evans' hand was:
Shaheen is able to drive Evans back, and the hole opens up for Cohen to duck through it, nearly breaking a touchdown.
Jordan Howard wound up scoring the first of his two touchdowns on the next play.
The second play is another example of Shaheen succeeding in the run blocking game. Here, he lines up off the line of scrimmag and pulls to his right across the offensive line. Howard (red arrow) is going to follow a hole to his left created by the offensive line.
Shaheen squares up against Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (blue circle), who's pretty much the same size (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) as Shaheen.
Boom. Shaheen plows into Dunlap (blue circle), not allowing him to get a shot to tackle Howard. This play goes for a 10-yard gain.
This was Shaheen's first target of the game, coming on a second-and-12 from the Bears' own three-yard line. Shaheen's route has him running across the face of safety George Iloka (No. 43).
Trubisky has time to let the play develop thanks to excellent blocking from the offensive line and tight end Dion Sims (red circles). Without good pass protection, this could've been a dangerous play, but it shows the confidence and aggressiveness with which Dowell Loggains called Sunday's game.
Trubisky, with a clean pocket, sees Shaheen get a half-step on Iloka, and throws a pass to a spot only his 6-foot-6, 270 pound tight end can catch it for a 16-yard gain. This throw was a good representation of the growing trust and confidence Trubisky has in Shaheen, and Shaheen's good knack for route-running and creating an opportunity for a catch with his size.
The biggest passing play involving Shaheen was his 18-yard grab on fourth and three. Shaheen isn't Trubisky's first read here, as he has Dontrelle Inman (yellow arrow) running a route to the sticks and Cohen (red arrow) running a wheel route to the near sideline.
Inman (yellow circle) is pretty well covered, and Cohen (red arrow) hasn't separated enough to make it a safe throw on fourth down.
So Trubisky clicks through his progressions and spots Shaheen sliding into open space around the 25-yard line. Trubisky makes an excellent throw to get the ball to Shaheen to convert the first down.
"Just took what the defense gave us, just trust my read, going through progressions," Trubisky said. "And again the O-line did a great job up front, giving me time so I'm able to go through my progressions, just quiet feet in the backfield and Adam ran a great route and just put the ball on him so we could convert. That was a big drive for us."
The Bears got the ball to Shaheen on the very next play, with Trubisky running play-action to his left and rolling to his right. The Bengals' defense flows left with the play fake, and Shaheen leaks into open space just beyond the line of scrimmage.
Trubisky takes the easy completion, and Shaheen powers forward for a nine-yard gain.
"We’ve just got to share that wealth," coach John Fox said. "To play Y tight end in this league there’s a lot to it, both in the run game and in the pass game. … I think he’s starting to see that maturation."
This was another aggressive call by Loggains, with the Bears taking a shot at the end zone on third-and-1 just after the two-minute warning. Trubisky rolls to his right and looks for Shaheen, guarded by safety William Jackson, in the front of the end zone.
Trubisky's throw was slightly behind Shaheen, allowing Jackson to stick his arm in on the play.
The pass falls incomplete, though Shaheen felt he shoud've came down with it.
"I should have caught it," Shaheen said. "It was a good ball. It was a little low, but you’ve got to come up with that.”
Here's one of Shaheen's two negative plays from Sunday, coming early in the third quarter. The play is designed to take a downfield shot to Kendall Wright or Markus Wheaton (red arrows), with Shaheen coming to his left across the offensive line to combo block defensive end Michael Johnson.
Shaheen whiffs on Johnson, who's able to overpower Howard and drop Trubisky.
Wheaton and Wright may not have necessarily got open down the field, but at the least, this could've been a zero-yard play instead of a negative one.
Back to a positive play for Shaheen. This is similar to what he did on the first play we broke down, coming to his right across the offensive line to block Dunlap.
Shaheen lowers his right shoulder into Dunlap, which is enough to spring Howard for a 14-yard run.
Shaheen has been on the injury report this week with a chest injury, though Fox said the tight end suffered it on that incompletion in the end zone rather than on this play.
Shaheen drew a pass interfernece penalty on linebacker Kevin Minter here, with Trubisky underthrowing a jump ball and Minter not dis-engaging or turning his head.
Shaheen, clearly, is tough to cover in the end zone...
... As shown again here. Shaheen runs right at Minter but doesn't let him engage or re-route him. He cuts to the far side of the end zone on this route.
Trubisky drops a dime over the head of Evans (No. 50) for a touchdown.
"The more and more we play and the more and connections we have, the more trust you have with the receiver," Shaheen said. "That’s good."
This was Shaheen's only clear negative play as a run blocker. He's in-line and matched up against Johnson (blue circle) with Howard's run going to the left of him and the offensive line. Shaheen engages with Johnson but doesn't have a good base.
Johnson is able to throw Shaheen to the side, leaving Shaheen on the wrong side of Johnson as Howard looks to cut upfield.
Shaheen winds up on the ground, while Johnson is able to tackle Howard for a three-yard gain.
We'll end on a positive note, with Shaheen again pulling across the right side of the offensive line to block defensive end Jordan Willis.
Shaheen blocks up Willis well, leaving a clear hole for Howard to gain at least a first down. Instead, Howard drags himself into the end zone for a touchdown.
So what changed for Shaheen in terms of his run blocking success on Sunday?
"I think it’s experience," Loggains said. "It’s him being able to go out and do it. He did play better in the run game. That’s the biggest area of his game and we knew it would be the toughest challenge for him in making the adjustment from Ashland to the NFL. It’s preparation, going back having a good Wednesday, having a good Thursday, and he understood what was going on, is there pieces moved, he processed a little bit faster than the week before and took a step that way."