Packers Show Bears’ Need to Improve Against the Blitz

The Bears have a lot to learn from coming out of yesterday’s game.  But perhaps nothing came out of the poor performance that was more important than what the Packers did to the Bears on the blitz.  Bears quarterback Jay Cutler explains via Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:

“They kept us out of sync.  We didn’t change a lot from last game to this game and I think they did a really good job of taking away some of our (hot routes), keeping us off-balance with some of the hots. They were delaying some of their blitzes and bringing those guys. I think there was a stretch where (Packers cornerback Charles) Woodson came about every snap toward the end of the game.”

Many fans and media are criticizing the Bears for not running the ball more – as well they should.  But the fact of the matter is that you are occasionally going to find yourself in situations where you have to pass.  Good teams come through in those situations.  The Bears didn’t yesterday.

The Packers did a superb job of pressuring Cutler with the blitz and, at the same time, taking away the Bears adjustments to it.  They anticipated the hot routes and covered the Bears receivers tightly so that Cutler had nowhere to go and when he did, the result was little to no gain.  Perhaps as important, the Packers defensive linemen all had their hands up, frequently batting the ball down as they made it difficult for Cutler to get the ball out.  To top it off, the screen play worked poorly against a defense that sees a Packer offense that runs it better than anyone in practice every day.

This has been a season which has been defined by offensive improvement for the Bears.  Olin Kreutz explains how that will continue (via Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times):

‘‘’It was a playoff atmosphere,’ Kreutz said. ‘They were coming after us. From the start of the third quarter, they sent everything at us. All the credit goes to them for shutting us down on offense. And we’re going to look at this film and learn.’’’

As Cutler said, the Bears didn’t change much from the last game where the Jets run a very similar type of defense.  But they will certainly have to do so now if they want to make a serious playoff run.

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