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The Tape: 3rd Quarter

Good morning all, we'll run out the third quarter now and have the fourth up sometime later.

  • I've given Holmgren some grief, above all for his insistence that nothing is wrong with shaun, but he made a real gutsy play call on 4th and inches on the Hawks opening drive that reminded me just how much I'll miss the Walrus when he retires. Here's what we need to know: Beck starts the quarter with a pass to Hacks for nine. On the next two plays Morris runs for no gain. On the second of the two, Seattle is set up in a single wide, I-back set with an accompanying H-back. It's now 4th and one on the Bears' 40, Seattle sets up in the identical formation. At the snap Beck sells play action, rolls right and delivers a strike to Marcus Pollard. The play nets 20 yards and the first. It can be argued that in general rush plays are more effective in short yardage, but given the Hawks struggles rushing for short yardage and the preceding two plays, this was an impeccable bit of play calling. Holmgren may not be long for the game, but he still shows flashes of the offensive genius that will land him in the Hall.

  • That same drive gives us our play of the half. Eighth play, third down, Hawks on the Bears 4. Seattle sets up 4 wide, but with the middle of the three right receivers in a three point stance, and the outside man, Nate Burleson, motioning in. The result is a sort of wide bunch. At the snap the two inside men move out and drag across the middle and top of the endzone. They're essentially decoys to clear out the center for Burleson. Burly continues his pattern in, does something that sends the defender cartwheeling away, and makes a reception that looks rather painful - Burly is jumped on top of and falls into the endzone doin' the splits. Good play all around, from design to execution, and another small step in Burly's recent receiving renaissance.
  • Good to see Pistol Shrimp back on the field. Josh Wilson is exceptionally quick on the nickel blitz, though fullbacks tend to rag doll him.
  • On the third play of the Bears second drive, the one that followed the bogus fumble by Beck that Holmgren for whatever reason didn't challenge, Tapp threw aside John Tait like spent Kleenex and sank Benson for a loss of 3.
  • I've never seen 3 linemen get near simultaneous penetration, and yet on fourth and 1 the Hawks did just that. "Stuff" isn't really the right verb, "Collapse" seems more appropriate. Terrill, Mebane and Kerney where each a yard in the Bears' backfield just seconds after the snap. As much I'd like to praise them, and each deserves some, the Bears offensive line ought to be mortified. It's one thing to have a rush lane squashed, something worse to get no push, but for the entire interior line to simply collapse is about as one-sided a play as you'll ever see in the modern NFL.
  • What to do with Jordan Babineaux? He's a gamer, a team player and will forever be beloved for (s)tripping Tony Romo and sending Seattle to the divisional round in 2006. The problem is he couldn't cover water with oil. After Jennings and Grant converged for a synchronized swat on a deep pass intended for Berrian, Jennings limped off and Babineaux slid over to the #2 corner position. Two plays later Babs badly blew coverage against Muhsin Muhammad, a player so old the prophet was named after him. And really, this blown coverage had it all. He was beat off the line, couldn't recover and then fell to the ground when Muhammad hooked back. The whole thing played out like a French comedy. With Wilson healthy, the nickelback spot should be his to lose.
  • On a final note, having been able to watch the entire field all Sunday, I still don't know what Brian Russell is doing. He sure moves a lot presnap, I'll tell you that. The guy is a magician...I'm tired, the punchline is obvious, har-de-har, I'm going to bed.