Bears

Moon: Bears defense can stop Vick

Moon: Bears defense can stop Vick

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
12:45 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Dropped in for the weekly chat with Mac and Spiegs on The Danny Mac Show on WSCR-AM 670 a little while ago and theres no shortage of things to visit on when something like the Michael Vick Experience is coming to town.

But I threw out with the guys the fact that while Vick is leading the NFL with a passer rating of 108.7, and has thrown 11 TD passes vs. zero INTs, this is a player who has never had a full-season rating above 82 or a completion percentage even as high as 56.

Vick may indeed be nothing like the athlete he was in those sometimes-erratic years but he is not going to go through 2010 without an interception, nor completing 63 percent of his passes. The Bears are good enough defensively to trouble Vick into mistakes and my early guess is that he will give the Bears one or two on Sunday.

Spiegs raised the specter of the Philadelphia defense, which has gotten totally short shrift amid VickMania. Check the next item here in the blog for why the Eagle defense vs. Jay CutlerMike Martz may be the bigger key to the outcome.

Well talk again next week and Danny wondered if well be talking about the 8-3 Bears or the 7-4 Bears preparing for a trip to Detroit. I dont feel overly good about making a call against an Eagles team that has been increasingly solid as this season has worn on but I like what the Bears have been doing defensively with gap integrity, which is the absolute needed for dealing with Vick.

Early call: Bears in a surprisingly low-scoring game against Philadelphias 28.4-ppg offense.

Ominous numbers

CSNPhilly.com colleague Reuben Frank has some analysis that should seriously concern the Bears. Reuben notes that the Eagles were among the NFLs poorest at stopping the run through the first quarter of the season but have since been one of the best at stopping what has become a critical part of the new Mike Martz offense.

Philadelphia was giving up 139 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry through its 2-2 start. Over the last six games the Eagles have allowed only 74 yards per game and 3.6 per carry. Just for purposes of comparison, the Bears defense that has drawn so many plaudits of late has given up an average of 78.7 over its last six games.

As notable inside the numbers, Reuben points out that the run-committed New York Giants, who average 32 rushes per game, gave up running the ball in last Sunday nights loss to the Eagles and ran the ball just three times in the second half.

The Bears have run the ball 30-plus times in the last three games, a rare stretch for a Martz offense. The Bears stayed with the run despite modest per-carry success against Miami, Minnesota and Buffalo whether Martz and Mike Tice, whose input is more than apparent in the game plans and execution, have the resolve to stay with the run against an elite run defense might be the key to the Bears keeping Michael Vick in an Eagles cape on the sideline rather than the Superman cape hes suspected of wearing on the field
Face time

Looking forward to sitting in with William Jackson on Bears Blitz today at 5 p.m. Billy Jack is a long-time football guy and always good to swap thoughts with.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

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Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

Had Connor Barth not missed a 46-yard field goal that would've sent Sunday's Bears-Lions game into overtime, Mitchell Trubisky's 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 would've gone down as the biggest play the rookie quarterback made in 2017. Instead, Barth missed the kick, and the Bears couldn't force an opportunity for Trubisky to win the game in overtime.

But that scramble was incredible in its own right, even if it didn't lead to a tie ballgame and/or eventual victory. Here's how it happened:

The Lions rush three, with linebacker Tahir Whitehead (labeled No. 3 here) defending Benny Cunningham, who initially sticks in the backfield in pass protection. Detroit has four defenders playing man coverage against the Bears' four pass-catchers -- wide receiver Markus Wheaton and tight end Daniel Brown are at the top of the image, while wide receivers Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman are at the bottom. The Lions have three safeties playing deep with the Bears needing 13 yards to gain a first down. 

Trubisky drops back and doesn't spy anyone open. The yellow line is where the Bears have to get to for a first down, and instead of forcing a throw, Trubisky opts for a scramble drill. 

It doesn't start very well. Trubisky is pursued by defensive linemen Anthony Zettel and A'Shawn Robinson (blue arrows) and has no chance to scramble outside. There's a window created by Wheaton at the top of the screen (purple arrow) but there's no chance Trubisky could set and make that throw across his body now. Scramble it is. 

Trubisky stops on a dime and is able to avoid Zettel and Robinson, and cuts back to the middle of the field. Defensive end Cornelius Washington (red arrow) identifies where Trubisky is going and begins pursuing him. 

A hole opens up! But Washington is now quickly closing on Trubisky, who at this point still has to run about 17 yards to get the first down. It's not looking good. 

Somehow, Trubisky sheds Washington's tackle around the 42-yard line. He still has 10 yards to go, and now safety Miles Killebrew (red arrow) is closing on him. 

Killebrew overpursues to the boundary, and Trubisky is able to cut back to the middle of the field.

"He ran to my side and cut back and then made another guy miss, and I was like, oh s***, he’s really about to get this," Inman said. 

Killebrew whiffs, and Trubisky picks up the first down. 

"That’s his mentality," running back Tarik Cohen said. "Y’all got to see his mentality. That situation, fourth and 13, he’s not going down, not taking a sack, not throwing the ball away — he’s going to find a way to make a play, and he’s going to lead us to where we need to be." 

***

One of the game's most critical plays for the Bears' defense came midway through the second quarter. The Lions were backed up near their own goal line, and Leonard Floyd had just forced a Matthew Stafford incompletion with an excellent speed rush to the quarterback's blind side. The Bears defense seemed to be locking down on Detroit, and with a 10-point lead, forcing a punt here could've turned into more points by an offense that was having success in the first half. 

The Bears rush Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks and Pernell McPhee (red circle), and have cornerback Marcus Cooper playing off Lions wide receiver T.J. Jones (orange line). Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (blue arrow) is going to sit in the flat. 

Jones gets to the sticks and sits down (orange circle), with Cooper still backpedaling. Kwiatkoski, perhaps, could've been a little deeper, but it doesn't appear that he's in the wrong spot. Also, tight end Eric Ebron has some open space just before the first-down line with safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson (purple arrows) keying on him. 

The ball is in the air, and Cooper is about six yards off Jones, who's right at the first down marker. Kwiatkoski can't get to the ball, and Jones and Stafford easily converts the first down. Credit needs to be given to Jones for a savvy route and knowing exactly where he needed to go to pick up the first down. 

And this was a heck of a throw by Stafford, who in this frame is about to get hit by Goldman while Floyd is leaping to try to disrupt the throw. A good route, a great throw and poor coverage led to the Lions picking up a first down. This throw sparked something in the Lions' offense, too: Including it, Stafford had a run of nine completions in 10 attempts for 153 yards and two touchdowns before halftime. For the Bears' defense, this play was the beginning of one of the "siestas" coach John Fox said have plagued his team this year. 

***

One of the Bears' best designed and executed offensive plays on Sunday came midway through the fourth quarter in the red zone down by a touchdown.

Tre McBride was motioned to the hashmarks from the outside, and the Bears have fullback Michael Burton and tight end Adam Shaheen lined up to the field side (red circles). Zettel (yellow circle) is lined up well off left tackle Charles Leno's left shoulder. 

Trubisky sold this play well, planting his right foot and sort of turning his body toward the field. Zettel (orange arrow) bites hard on that fake and loses contain, while Shaheen, Burton and McBride (red arrows) all disguise the play as a stretch/toss to the field. Cohen (purple arrow) now has some open space to the boundary. 

In the top left corner, another player does his job to set up the play: Inman carries cornerback D.J. Hayden (blue circle) into the end zone, freeing up plenty of green grass for Cohen. Safety Quin Glover (gray arrow) now has to pursue Cohen toward the pylon. 

"(Inman) ran the DB off, so I knew I had to get to the pylon or if he’s going to meet me there first, I had to stop his feet," Cohen said. "So I gave him a hesitation move." 

That hesitation froze Glover just enough for Cohen to tee up this:

Wheeee! "I felt like I had a 44-inch vert," Cohen said. He's able to dive in the end zone and tie the game up in a critical spot. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join Kap on the panel.  Kap is happy that Mitch Trubisky played ok and John Fox’s team lost again.  The panel disagrees.

Plus Leonard Floyd doesn’t have an ACL tear…. Yet. Should the Bears shut him down even if he gets good news?