By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) Finding bright spots in the Bears’ 38-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday is challenging. From turnovers and poor clock management on offense to coverage busts and no pressure from the front four, the coaching staff may be best served to drag and drop the tape into the recycle bin.

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However, there was one play that warmed the hearts and pleased the eyes of Bears fans.

Trailing 14-10 late in the second quarter, the Bears showed some ingenuity on a gorgeous play design. The Bears borrowed from a play that the St. Louis Rams burned them with in 2013 to create a variation on a scheme they’ve had great success with since coach Marc Trestman arrived — jet sweeps and reverses with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Let’s go to the film room to take a closer look and get some commentary from Trestman.

The Bears line up in 12 personnel in a slot left formation with Jeffery as the X-receiver and Brandon Marshall as the Z-receiver, and an I-formation in the backfield, with tight end Dante Rosario lined up as a fullback in front of Matt Forte. The Packers respond with nickel personnel in a 3-3-5 alignment.

The Bears motioned Jeffery to get a presnap read on the Packers’ coverage. With cornerback Sam Shields following Jeffery across the formation, the Bears knew they had man coverage, which is exactly what they were looking for.

(All images courtesy of NFL Game Rewind)


“It was a very well-designed play,” Trestman said. “Number one, we’re able to get a man-to-man or zone recognition. Once we get a man recognition, we know we’ve got a chance because the player following Alshon is going to go over the top. So we knew we had an advantage.”

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Forte and Rosario sell the lead play to the right, while Marshall runs a post route to occupy both the slot corner and the free safety over the top.

Shields is still reading quarterback Jay Cutler to get his run/pass key as Jeffery sells the reverse action, only to peel back to the flats toward where he started the play.

With Shields having to flow over the top of the linebackers, he gets caught in the wash along with nearly every other player on the Packers defense (the 11th Packer defender is trailing Marshall just outside of this frame).


By the time Shields diagnoses the play, it’s too late. Jeffery is sitting in the flats alone, and it becomes a quick race to the pylon, which Jeffery easily wins for the touchdown.


Trestman’s offense is comprised of a set of base concepts, which are window dressed and “reformatted” as the coach likes to say, allowing the team to run them every week. By showing this play against the Packers, Trestman isn’t concerned about not being able to call it again down the road.

“We use the same plays every week, we just hide them different ways,” Trestman said. “We format them differently to be able to create the same illusion of what you saw yesterday. So, I don’t think there’s any play that can’t be run with 11 guys. There’s so many variables. There’s an infinite amount of variables you can use with formations and personnel groupings to get the job done. That’s a very good play.”

It was top highlight in what was otherwise a dismal Sunday for the Bears. Whether they dial it up again anytime soon remains to be seen, but they’ve now given defensive coordinators a new wrinkle to prepare for every week as they put together their game plans.

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Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.