21

December

Packers Drive Rewind: Defense Takes a Stand

Sam Shields

Last week’s Packers Drive Rewind highlighted how a seven-play drive that featured all running plays buried the Lions. Watching it made you want to pound your chest and yell. Loudly.

This week, we’re going to stay with the tough-guy theme and highlight how the Packers defense stood tall with a goal-line stand after Ryan Grant fumbled.

The Situation
Third quarter. Packers 21, Bears 7. Grant just fumbled away a chance to blow the game open. The Bears are on the Packers’ 5-yard line after a 53-yard pass interference penalty against Morgan Burnett.

The Result
Matt Forte can’t get in the end zone on three straight runs and a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery on fourth down is nullified by offensive pass interference. The Bears settle for a field goal.

Play 1: Forte up the middle for 4 yards


Ryan Pickett gtets stood up by Chris Spencer, but doesn’t get erased from the play. Forte ends up basically running back toward Pickett and getting swallowed up by the big guy. Forte had James Brown pulling to the outside. Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields do a nice job of setting the edge. However, I wonder if Forte would have had better luck following Brown to the outside and taking on Shields near the goal line instead of running back into the teeth of the Packers’ defense?

Play 2: Forte up the middle for no gain

Great stick by Brad Jones. He flows to the other side of the line and meets Forte head on after Dezman Moses occupies two blockers. Pickett torpedoes his gap and B.J. Raji blows up Edwin Williams, taking away any hope for a cutback. Once again, it looked like Forte might have had better luck trying to keep going around the end and taking on Jarrett Bush instead of plowing into the pile.

Play 3: Forte up the middle for no gain

A.J. Hawk fills the gap and Jones comes free to stand up Forte before he can get into the end zone. Everybody up front for the Packers does a nice job of fighting their way to a stalemate, allowing Jones to come in untouched and prevent the touchdown. Another nice play from Jones here. Who knew he would look so smooth flowing to the ball inside?

Play 4: Alshon Jeffery catches a 1-yard touchdown, nullified by offensive pass interference

The Packers shade Brandon Marshall with two defenders and even send Hawk in his direction after the ball is snapped. Cutler decides to throw an out to Jeffery, who is singled-up on Sam Shields and has a lot of space to work with on the sideline. It’s not a bad idea, but Shields plays Jeffery physical and draws a flag. Finally, Shields gets a flag and is rewarded for his physicality and attitude.

Conclusion
Some strange playcalling by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice on this series. Why not throw it on second or third down if you think you’re going to go for it on fourth? Forte’s strength isn’t plowing up the middle in goal-line situations, so the playcalling doesn’t make sense to me.

Yes, Forte probably should have cut it outside on the first two runs, but why not call for the play to go outside in the first place? Call a sweep or something away from Clay Matthews, Raji and Pickett and the odds of getting in the end zone go way up.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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4 Responses to “Packers Drive Rewind: Defense Takes a Stand”

  1. Oppy says:

    I love these full-drive anatomies, btw. Really fun. Thanks!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Rodgers says:

    If you notice on clip 1 Raji blew that play up which made forte make a decision quicker than he wanted. I dont know what got into Raji but hopefully he can do this all the way into the superbowl!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Bubbaloo says:

      YES! Raji has been playing lights-out, like a man possessed! He kinda looks like he did in 2010, maybe he’s got that ‘switch’ the NY Giants can’t seem to find this year. Let’s hope so!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. JonnyO says:

    Tice as OC at Chicago is a beautiful thing.

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