Bears film study: Mismatch in scheme and talent vs. Green Bay
We can all agree Sunday's lopsided loss at Lambeau Field was not one of the Bears' finer moments. So let's pick out some lowlights on the coaches' film:
New tricks without Hicks:
Obviously, the absence of defensive tackle Akiem Hicks was a major storyline. During the opening drive of the game, the Bears stuck with their nickel defense, with just four defensive linemen, instead of the usual five -- at least until the Packers reached the red zone.
Seeing this, Green Bay went heavy on the run. Aaron Jones had gains of 14, 8 and 9 yards up the middle. As is usually the case when the Bears give up a long run, linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan were out of position, plugging one gap while the runner chose another path.
On Jones' 9-yard run, the Packers double-teamed both defensive tackles, used a tight end on Robert Quinn and the right tackle walled off Khalil Mack. That left two openings and Smith filled one of the gaps between Quinn and one double-team. Instead of plugging the other hole, Trevathan followed Smith for some reason and Jones ran straight up the middle for a big gain.
The five-man front returned on Green Bay's second drive the Bears were able to slow down the run game for a while. The Packers added more long runs late, after the Bears were either worn down or lacking enthusiasm.
Path to points:
Green Bay has a big advantage with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, obviously. But the Packers also made it look easy with the way they attacked the Bears defense.
Sometimes simple actions make a big difference. On the Packers' second touchdown, tight end Marcedes Lewis faked like he was blocking, then ran into the end zone for an easy catch.
Twice on their third scoring drive, the Packers used twin crossing patterns to get someone open. On the fourth-and-2 conversion, tight end Robert Tonyan and RB Jamal Williams crossed paths in the center of the field, which helped rub off the Bears defenders. Tonyan caught the pass, but both receivers were open.
Green Bay did the same thing on the third touchdown. Wide receiver Allen Lazard ran across the middle, hesitated for a moment to create congestions as Marquez Valdes-Scantling passed by, then was wide open for the score.
Another time, Rodgers noticed Kyle Fuller was giving Davante Adams a huge cushion, so the Packers cleared out that side, threw a quick pass and Adams turned it into a 15-yard gain.
Offense implodes early:
The Bears lost their chance to stay in this game quickly. After David Montgomery's 57-yard run to the Green Bay 7, they settled for a field goal. Then tailing 13-3, Mitch Trubisky threw an interception on a deep pass.
The sequence from the 7-yard line was troubling. Usually after a long sprint, running backs gets a rest. The Bears gave Montgomery the ball again on the next snap and he lost a yard as no one blocked linebacker Christian Kirksey.
On second down, the Bears tried a quick out pattern to Cole Kmet, but Trubisky made a poor throw. On third down, the Bears just had five receivers run straight lines into the end zone. The plan was obviously to throw it up to Allen Robinson and hope he could hang on, but the pass was broken up.
It's really bizarre how infrequently the Bears have their receivers change direction or cross paths. You could see how well it works for Green Bay.
The interception was really brutal, because the Bears were moving the ball and had a first down at the Packers 38-yard line, with a chance to close within 13-10. Instead they threw a first down punt. Trubisky shouldn't have made the throw, but I blame the play call. No reason to go deep there. When the Packers scored again, the game was essentially out of reach.
The strip sack and fumble return happened because Za'Darius Smith bull-rushed Cody Whitehair into Trubisky's lap. The Bears' offensive line shuffle with Whitehair moving to left guard, Germain Ifedi sliding to right tackle, Sam Mustipher at center and Alex Bars at right guard was pretty meh. Whitehair and Charles Leno Jr. don't look healthy.
According to the game stats, the Packers targeted nickel back Buster Skrine 10 times and Trevathan six. The Bears have quality corners and Rodgers tried to avoid them. Meanwhile, run support from the Bears defensive backs hasn't been great all season, but was especially rough in this game.
The Bears were credited with 2 QB pressures and no sacks. Green Bay generated 10 QB pressures. Simply put, the Packers have done a nice job of drafting and developing talent, and it showed again in this one.