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The Tape: 4th Quarter

Okay short one before I take the holiday off.

  • Trumaine McBride attempted to jump Hackett's slant route and the Bears paid for his aggression. McBride's mistake isn't so much that he decided to jump the route, it's that he decided to jump the route without safety help behind him. After ditching McBride, Hacks had one man to beat: the deep safety playing on the other side of the field. Were Hacks a little bit faster, it would have been a score.
  • Two big D plays, one badly blown coverage, some luck and then I'm out. All came on the same drive, a drive that essentially decided the contest, so we'll break this down play by play.
    • First, Hawks force a false start. The false start changes the entire complexion of the drive. The Bears, then down 7, with 8:08 left on the clock, could conceivably run any play from their playbook. After the false start put them into first and fifteen, they were, briefly, put into a near pass exclusive down and distance.
    • Next play, Bears at their fifteen. Hawks, quite fortunately in retrospect, stay in their base package. Seattle rushes 6, but the Bears counter with a perfect play call: Screen. All but Leroy Hill are sucked up on the play, and the secondary is dropped deep. Benson sets, has two blockers in front and should at the very least put Chicago back into a manageable second down. Instead, Hill comes flying from nowhere, splits the blockers and blows Benson up for a loss of two. Hill tends to be the odd one out when people talk about our linebackers, but the guy's a beast. At the time, a drive and maybe game changing play.
    • The Bears are now in 2nd and 17 with a little over 7 on the clock. The Bears set up three wide with Muhsin Muhammad in the slot. Muhammad's lost nearly all of his speed, and now gets by mostly through veteran savvy and eh, mostly veteran savvy. Babs is lined across from him and, you guessed it, gets burned off the line. Sex Cannon decides to make it interesting, overthrows Muhammad, Muhammad lays out for a real-pretty grab, but had that been another receiver and not the largely washed up Muhammad, and another quarterback, and not Rex Grossman, the result could have been much worse. It's time: Bench Jordan Babineaux.
    • The Bears are bailed out and now driving. First and ten from the Chicago 35. The Hawks are in a base package, with, it looks like, Leroy Hill squared off against Bernard Berrian. Yeah, that sucks. Pete flies around left end, Grossman fires down the field to a completely open Berrian, Berrian in mid-stride reaches back with his left hand and makes a one handed snag before Grant does the free safety thing and limits the run after catch. In the game this puts the Bears into Hawks territory with a first down and any play in the book available. In the big picture, Grossman was just handed two mulligans for bad passes to wide open receivers. That's a lot of good luck for the Bears and absolutely should not be interpreted as Grossman playing well.
    • Bears on the Hawk 42 with a little under 6 left to play. This is the play of the game. Hawks set up in a base defensive package. The Bears: 2 wide right, I-back with a single tight end. At the snap Chicago runs a little play action, Grossman runs one of the lazier PAs in the NFL and no one looks to be fooled, looks down field and then scrambles left. Enter our hero, Patrick Kerney. Kerney explodes off the snap, gives Fred Miller a hell of a push, but has no clear angle to Grossman. Roberto Garza disengages from the scrum and gives Kerney a glancing block from the side. Kerney, unlike the Bears right side, decides the play is not over, splits the two blockers, runs Grossman down from behind and delivers the strip. Tapp recovers and a once promising drive now nets the Hawks excellent field position with just 5:43 on the game clock. Kerney doesn't overwhelm, he doesn't pancake anyone or fly around the edge like Mr. Spin Move, he just doesn't quit. Miller and Garza should be ashamed, it's not a stretch to say that them giving up stuck the proverbial dagger in the heart of the Bears. Kerney, meanwhile, along with Tapp and Peterson, is on pace for 10+ sacks. His game, power and hustle, could hold up another couple of seasons.