Better late than never!
Kickoff: Maroney from the NE 4, 23 yd. return, Maroney curls around a penetrating defender and is forced out.
Note: Faulk helped Evans with the right side gunner, leaving no leader blocker to help with the left side gunner who flew by Sanders. Maroney went wide to avoid him, but in the process lost the blocking angles for Woods and Thomas, whose defenders forced Maroney out.
Offensive Series #1 Punt
Time: 15:00 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 3 plays (1 run, 2 pass), 3 yards (3 run, 0 pass), time of possession was 0:49
Breakdown: 1 black play (1 run, 0 pass) for 3 yds., 2 red plays (0 run, 2 pass) for 0 yds.
1st and 10 NE 27
Result: Run, Dillon, stretch play left, 3 yds.
Analysis: Dillon was the lone RB in the backfield, with Watson at TE and Graham going in motion left to right. Caldwell was against the RCB press, while the LCB on Gaffney was softer. Dillon started off left with counter action right, with Light pulling inside, helping Kaczur with the penetrating LDE. Bounced outside by Urlacher penetration, Dillon tried to beat the SLB around the corner, who had shed Graham on the edge. Gaffney also lost his angle, allowing the LCB to angle Dillon out of bounds.
2nd and 7 NE 30
Result: Pass, Watson, Incomplete,
Analysis: Brady in the shotgun with Faulk to the left and Maroney to the right, 3 WR with Watson in the left slot, but the Bears had only 2 CBs, both in press. No blitz – the left side of the line held up nicely while Kaczur stood up the LDE. Brady still had to throw off his back foot, perhaps prematurely as the DT stunting around Neal wasn’t yet in range. Watson cut underneath a 3 LB zone, with plenty of breathing room. Brady one-hopped it to the feet of Watson. Maroney and Faulk both went out into the left flat against the WLB, and were equally good options. Jackson and Caldwell went deep.
3rd and 7 NE 30
Result: Pass, Caldwell, Incomplete, 10 yard out, pass thrown wide.
Analysis: Brady again in the shotgun with 3 WRs, but with Maroney at RB, Watson at TE, and Jackson in the slot. The Bears brought all 3 LBs to the line in a blitz look, and gave the WRs a big cushion. The LDE dropped off with Watson, and the WLB into a zone, still leaving a 5-man rush. Maroney had a beautiful cut block in blitz pickup on the SLB wide left, and the rest of the protection was stellar, leaving a clean pocket. Watson had the LDE and WLB beaten with plenty of free space on the left side, but Brady chose to go to Caldwell on a square-out right. Brady’s throw sailing into the Bears bench could have been a timing problem, as Caldwell slowed down to semi-push-off the LCB, who then slipped down.
4th and 7 NE 30
Result: Punt, Walter, to the Chi 25, Hester calls for the fair catch with Andrews and Baker getting pushed downfield behind him, 45 yd. punt, 0 yd. return.
Note: This one came inches from getting blocked, with Izzo having to choose between two defenders coming through the middle. Pass also saw his first action of the year, on the left side.
OL protection was great, but for some reason Brady’s throws were well off both times.
The Bears demonstrated (especially Urlacher) how quick they can get to the ball on runs.
Caldwell got away with one (although, with the contact, it could have been defensive interference too), possibly because the ball was uncatchable
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Defensive Series #1 Interception
Time: 14:11 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 3 plays (0 run, 3 pass), 5 yards, time of possession was 0:41
Breakdown: 2 green plays (0 run, 2 pass) for 0 yds., 1 red play (0 run, 1 pass) for 5 yds.
1st and 10 Chi 25
Result: Pass, Muhammad, quick hook, 5 yds.
Analysis: 3-4 against 2 WRs with light coverage, 2 TEs split with lone RB. Seau rushed down while the rest of the LBs took care of the TEs. Quick drop and throw from Grossman, who hit Muhammad on a quick out. Samuel was playing off, but came up to wrap up Muhammad in the open field.
2nd and 5 Chi 30
Result: Pass, Jones, flare left, Incomplete, pass thrown wide.
Analysis: 3-4, Samuel comes up in the press at the FB motions off the wing to the I-form, TE still off left with 2 WR. Vrabel blitzes but again there’s no pressure at all. Grossman still managed to throw off his back foot and lead Jones too much in the flat. Bruschi took the TE, while Colvin was coming on strong to Jones on the flare route.
3rd and 5 Chi 30
Result: Pass, Berrian, quick slant, INTERCEPTED at Chi 39 by NE – Samuel, 0 yd. return.
Analysis: Nickel package, with Banta-Cain in at DE and both LBs showing blitz up the middle. 4 WRs, 3 left with Hobbs and Brown press on 2 and the last in motion to the wing, with Samuel playing off the lone WR right. Bruschi and Colvin backed off on the snap into zones. Quick drop and throw, with the Banta-Cain rush being thwarted by the RB. Samuel played off the WR’s quick slant route, but jumped it and screened Berrian from the ball. There the two would collide, but Samuel came down victorious, ball in-hand.
No real penetration by the pass rush, but Grossman decided to help the Pats out anyway. His first throw, a simple dumpoff, was way off.
Great play by Samuel on a mediocre throw by Grossman leading Berrian too much.
Samuel played off more Hobbs/Brown, and it paid off.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Is it possible to give an executive summary of who did well, who blew assignments, etc? It's hard sometimes to follow all the details.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
I'll get them up soon.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Check out what happens to Urlacher on the 20 yard reception by Maroney at 10:11 in the 3Q. Urlacher and the safety are converging on Laurence, Urlacher pursuing east, and the safety flying in from the West. Maroney jukes, and the two defenders collide head on, with Urlacher being laid out flat. Maroney runs on for another 5 yards.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Note: I started this series first due to the LB concerns post Seau.
Second Quarter, 9:07 remaining, NE 7 Chi 0
Kickoff: Gostkowski kicks it 3-4 yds deep into the end zone, Chicago returns to the 25; Andrews nearly had the KR at the 13, Don Davis fought off a block to slow the KR at the 21 and Patrick Pass made the tackle.
1st and 10: Grossman to TE Clark, incomplete. Analysis: Working out of a 2 TE/2 WR formation, the Bears kept one TE in and chipped Seymour with the RB on his way out to the flat. Sey and Wilfork drew double-teams, Vrabel and Warren each were pushed deep past Grossman. Bruschi trailed the TE across the field, Colvin picked up the RB in the flat. This was the first possession after Grossman had banged up his hand. The ball came out in a side arm motion and was in the dirt well in front of the TE’s crossing pattern.
2nd and 10: RB Benson right side for no gain. Analysis: Bears line up in an I with two WR to the right. Chicago’s O-line did a nice one-on-one blocking job with the Ts working against the OLB and the three interior men working on the DL. The FB led into the right ‘a’ gap, but Seau was there to meet him, this forced Benson to run parallel to the LOS and use the ‘c’ gap. Warren kept him going sideways even though the RG held his block, Vrabel had been turned into the backfield by the RT allowing Benson to go sideways, but no upfield opening presented. Sanders shed the slot WR’s block and was coming up which also kept Benson heading to the sideline. Seau shed the FB and pursued from behind to make the tackle.
Note: Seau broke his arm on the tackle and had to leave the game.
3rd and 10: Grossman to Muhammed for 14 yds. Analysis: Pats in a nickel defense. Troy Brown had Muhammed in slot right, jammed him hard off the line, then Muhammed ran a crossing pattern underneath the LB’s with Troy a half step behind him. Grossman led him well getting the ball away just before Colvin hit him. Muhammed broke Brown’s tackle attempt and turned upfield directly into a waiting Vrabel who had been on the TE. Grossman needed a good throw because Brown was in a position to make a play on any ball that didn’t lead the WR. Good execution by Chicago, good D by NE.
1st and 10: Benson up the middle for 16 yds. Analysis: A nicely blocked run up the middle. Banta-Cain replaced Colvin alongside Seymour at LOLB, Colvin replaced Vrabel alongside Warren at ROLB, Vrabel replaced Bruschi at WILB, and Bruschi replaced Seau at SILB. Chicago doubled Wilfork with the C/RG and drove him left opening the middle. The LG pulled and was met by Bruschi in the hole, narrowing the opening a little. The C released off the double-team to wrestle with Vrabel, allowing Benson to dive behind the LG’s and C’s blocks straight up the middle. Sanders bounced off Benson who got low enough to take Sanders on his shoulder pads, this slowed him enough for Hawkins to hit him from the side and Seymour to hit him from behind. This is the kind of running I’m looking for from Maroney on inside dives - Bruschi and Vrabel had narrowed the gap created by the double-team moving Wilfork down to a crease, and Benson hit it with no hesitation bursting into the secondary where a Maroney could have a field day.
1st and 10: Grossman to TE for 2 yds. Analysis: Chicago ran a flea-flicker into the line behind another double-team on Wilfork who handled the C/LG well. Warren blew up the play by splitting the RG/RT double-team and flushing Grossman out to his right. Colvin released off the TE’s block to join Warren’s pursuit, allowing Grossman to dump off the ball to the TE behind Colvin. Great hustle by Wilfork pursuing down the LOS put him in position to make the tackle and limit the gain. Colvin wasn’t reall needed to chase Grossman who was pinned between the sideline and Warren’s pursuit, if Rosy had stuck with the TE after the block was released, he'd have left Grossman no choice but to throw the ball away or take a big loss.
2nd and 8: FB Mckie up the middle for 7 yds. Analysis: Chicago’s C face planted Wilfork, who was able to get a light shot on the FB from his hands & knees. Bruschi fought off the RG’s block to bounce off the FB’s shoulder pads and send him stumbling into the arms of Seymour and Banta-Cain. Vrabel was unable to get off the LG’s block, but was able to help Bruschi force a change of direction turning the FB into the left side pursuit.
3rd and 1: RB Jones up the middle 1 yd, first down on measurement. Analysis: Wilfork held his ground against the C this time, with the rest of the front playing their responsibilities, Jones dove over the top of Wilfork gaining just enough for the first down.
1st and 10: Grossman to TE for 3 yds. Analysis: Pats rushed 4 with Banta-Cain coming from the slot and blocked by the RB, Colvin dropped into zone right. Warren was double-teamed by the RG/RT, Wilfork was ping-ponged by the C/LG, and Seymour beat the LT inside to be in Grossman’s face. The TE came underneath the LBs on a shallow crossing pattern, Colvin hit him immediately to limit the catch. Grossman released the ball just before the 4 mississippi count, so he had time to find a WR upfield - which means the routes were slow developing or they were covered well.
2nd and 7: Benson up the middle for 3 yds. Analysis: Chicago’s basic I formation, 2 WR look with a dive up the middle behind their interior threesome and FB. Everybody was plugging a hole and Banta-Cain came unblocked off the edge to wrap-up Benson as he plowed into the pile. Benson was looking to slide right to the ‘c’ gap, but Colvin closed it on him, turning him inside to follow his FB into the ‘a’ gap at Bruschi’s hole-plug.
3rd and 4: Grossman throwaway, incomplete. Analysis: Pats in a 4-2 nickel formation with Sanders up in the box with the ILBs, both ILBs and Sanders showing blitz. Pats sent an 8 man rush with Colvin getting in Grossman’s face to force the throwaway and both Vrabel and Brown (blitzing from slot left) getting good penetration - though Troy went flying when one of the OL was able to get a straight-arm on him.
4th and 4: Gould 46 yd FG.
Pats 7, Chi 3
Assessment: Sanders and Hawkins are playing pass first and not keying on run support. There were two good runs on this drive, in both cases the backs went up the middle and one Vince Wilfork was neutralized by the blocking, when Vince won the interior battle the run was limited - Seau or no Seau. As a reminder, Chicago’s Center is considered fairly adequate by NFL standards, as our Vince is finding out. Based on one series, Chicago seems to use their O-line very much the same way the Pats do, prefering to run behind the C & Gs, they also like to keep a TE in to help the RT. Their RBs do a good job of staying square amd running downhill, twice I saw them get their pads down low to take on and defeat tacklers. Chicago was down by one TD, they were moving the ball with fairly conservative grind it out tactics, then went for a big strike with the ill-fated flea flicker, they recovered, but the Pats’ D stiffened to hold them to the FG.
DL B, Wilfork was getting moved a bit.
CB A, Troy did well in his nickel role.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Note: I skipped the offensive series to focus on the defense folks have been worrying over since Sunday.
Second Quarter, 2:35 remaining NE 7 Chi 3
1st and 10: Grossman to Berrian for 10 yds. Analysis: 2:35 left in the half, Bears on their own 22, so they come out throwing. Pats rushed four against a max protect package and got no penetration. Samuel gave Berrian a good cushion which made the sideline return pattern pretty easy to complete.
1st and 10: Grossman to Berrian incomplete. Analysis: The Bears went deep against Samuel in man on Berrian (same kind of route & throw that ended the game with Asante’s 3rd int.), Grossman overthrew and Asante had the ball go off his fingertips. Four man rush, Colvin beat the RB outside to pressure Grossman. Banta-Cain was over the slot and mauled him off the line then stayed with him. Sanders came up on the TE, Hobbs and Hawkins were doubled up on the other side. No one was open and Grossman just took a shot at the single coverage hoping his WR could make a play.
2nd and 10: Grossman to Muhammed incomplete. Analysis: Pats went to a 3-3 nickel with Banta-Cain, Green, and Seymour at DL, they rushed Bruschi and dropped Vrabel and Colvin into coverage. Grossman rolled out left to avoid the Banta-Cain/Vrabel duo on his right side, this also put him on the side of Muhammed’s crossing pattern. Brown over the slot trailed Muhammed across the field and was able to wrap his right arm around Muhammed while swatting at the pass with his left, disrupting Muhammed’s vision and twisting him as the ball bounced off his hands.
3rd and 10: Grossman to TE for 5 yds. Analysis: Pats went to a 4-2 nickel and rushed four, with Bruschi sitting down underneath in draw/scramble guard. CBs & Vrabel were man on the wideouts and TE with the Safeties deep. Vrabes made a nice open field tackle to prevent the first down. There may have been a miscommunication on that play as Vrabel and Bruschi were having an animated discussion afterwards.
Note: Two minute warning at 1:55
4th and 5: Wright deflects the punt, downed at the NE 39 by Chi for 24 yds. Analysis: Wright came off the edge on the right side and just got one hand outstretched to get a piece of the ball.
NE 7 Chi 3
Assessment: Chicago was in a two minute offense trying to score before the half. Pats knew this going in and played the pass the whole way.
PR Unit A+
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Third Quarter, 15:00 NE 10 Chi 3
Kickoff: Gostkowski kicked to the Chi 15, returned 21 yds. Analysis: Pats tried to pin Hester against the sideline, he ran completely across the field before he could turn it up for the gain.
1st and 10: RB Jones right side for 4 yds. Analysis: Colvin set the edge against the TE, Warren was doubled by the RT/RG, Vrabel got screened behind Warren’s pile and lost sight of the RB, Wilfork lost his battle with the C, Bruschi beat the LG outside and underneath to meet the RB coming through the RG’s slot.
2nd and 6: Jones left side for 2 yds. Analysis: Chicago dived into the middle again, Wilfork was locked up by the C, Seymour was locked up by the LT, and Bruschi made the LG miss to meet the RB in the hole.
3rd and 2: Jones left side for 2 yds. Analysis: Chicago spread the field with 3 WR (2 R, 1 L) and the TE upright at flanker right. Pats remained in base 3-4, with Sanders deep and the CBs and Hawkins up in press coverage. Wilfork was blown out by the C, Vrabel fired inside drawing some of the LG’s attention as he and the LT were double-teaming Seymour. The TE shifted inside as lead blocker before the snap and met Banta-Cain on the edge. Vrabel firing inside, Seymour holding up against the double-team, and Banta-Cain setting a hard edge left Jones with nowhere to run as he drove into the backs of his blockers and fell forward to fall shy of the line to gain by inches.
4th and inches: Punt, touchback.
NE 10, Chi 3
Assessment: Pats rush D did it’s job. Sanders and Hawkins continue to stay deep and play pass first. Wilfork lost two battles with the C, but the other six held their ground and made the plays to bail him out.
DL A, despite Wilfork’s troubles with a darned good Center, Warren and Seymour each took on double-teams and held their ground to allow Bruschi and Vrabel to make a play.
ILB A, Vrabel screened himself out of one play, but he made a heck of a play on 3rd and 2.
PR Unit A, Troy was back deep and faked the Bears with a fair catch as the ball went over his head for a touchack, there also weren’t any gunners that close to Troy, so the blocking went well.
Re: Chicago Breakdown
Third Quarter, 11:18, NE 10 Chi 3
Note: Bears starting from their own 44 after Tillman’s second pop fly catch.
1st and 10: Grossman to Berrian, incomplete. Analysis: Bears ran play action and looked deep for the post turnover shock quick strike. Ty Warren busted through the line beating the RG inside to hit Grossman as he released. Colvin was targeted by the RT, Wilfork was doubled, and Seymour was checked by the LT, with the RB stopping to see if he needed to chip him before flaring into the flat (Sey actually started to follow him in coverage as the ball was going deep). The ILBs and Banta-Cain checked on the play action then dropped deep. Hobbs was in single coverage on Berrian and played his arms as they both went up for the ball knocking his arms apart as the ball hit his hands.
2nd and 10: Grossman to Berrian, incomplete. Analysis: Grossman took a three step drop and threw for his WR on a quick slant that was described by Buck as a miscommunication - certainly they weren’t on the same page because Grossman threw like he expected his man to go outside. Hobbs stuck his cast up in the air and knocked the ball away.
3rd and 10: Penalty, false start, 5 yd loss.
3rd and 15: Grossman sacked, loss of 5 yds. Analysis: Pats in a 4-2 nickel showing blitz - Bruschi fakes a blitz into the line then drops back inside, Banta-Cain faked a blitz on the left edge forcing the LT to key on him and leave Seymour to the LG inside, Brown blitzed off the slot drawing the LT out further as Banta-Cain dropped away. Colvin drew a TE/RB double-team and Vrabel sucked up a C/RG double-team leaving Green alone on the RT and Seymour on the LG, both of whom were beaten for a QB sandwich as Seymour got there first to get the sack.
4th and 20: Punt to the NE 30, taken by Faulk who was tripped up at the 32. Patrick Pass came down the field and cut across in front of Faulk to land a beautiful block on one of the coverage men curling in from the other side. The Bears made a nice ankle tackle on Faulk to keep him from turning the corner and gaining about 10 yds. The Pats used two blockers on each gunner, you can see the right gunner pinned against the sideline nowhere near Faulk, the other gunner may have gotten in on the tackle, but he can be seen running into the middle of the field as the ball is being kicked, in an effort to evade the blockers - relentless all four of them.
NE 10, Chi 3
Assessment: Chicago went for the big strike, but Warren’s pressure and Hobbs’ coverage checked that try. They went for a quick strike and goofed, only Hobbs having the cast prevented him from a likely shot at an interception and TD. Then they self destructed with a penalty and gave Pees a 3rd and 15 to release the hounds. Good D effort to counter Chicago’s good field position on the turnover.
DL A+, a hurry and a sack.
CB A+, two pass break-ups.
DC A+, he had the guys ready mentally for the quick strike attempt after the turnover.
PR Unit, A
Re: Chicago Breakdown
4-6-NE24(11:24) K.Walter punts 32 yards to CHI 44, Center-L.Paxton, fair catch by D.Hester.
Chicago Bears at 11:18
1-10-CHI44(11:18) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep left to B.Berrian [T.Warren].
2-10-CHI44(11:11) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to B.Berrian (E.Hobbs).
3-10-CHI44(11:07) PENALTY on CHI-T.Jones, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at CHI 44 - No Play.
3-15-CHI39(11:07) R.Grossman sacked at CHI 34 for -5 yards (R.Seymour).
4-20-CHI34(10:58) B.Maynard punts 36 yards to NE 30, Center-P.Mannelly. K.Faulk to NE 32 for 2 yards (B.Ayanbadejo).
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