It was the most important two-minute stretch of the Bears v. Cowboys Monday nighter. DeMarcus Ware forced a Jay Cutler fumble and gave the Cowboys terrific field position as they trailed 17-7. A touchdown means Game On. A field goal puts all the pressure on the Bears offense. Instead Lance Briggs went sprinting into the end zone. Let’s break down both plays.
Here’s the video:
THE CUTLER FUMBLE
- 0:02. DeMarcus Webb uses no technique to beat J’Marcus Webb to the outside. He simply runs around him. And Webb doesn’t do a terrible job on the play.
- 0:03. What causes Cutler to slide from the pocket is NOT the pressure from Ware. It is the a stunt blitz from Dallas linebacker Victor Butler that blows up the play. Gabe Carimi actually does a nice job picking Butler up but Butler’s presence cause Cutty to slide to his right, directly into Ware’s path.
- 0:27. You realize why that slide is pivotal as Dane Sanzenbacher crosses the screen, open. If Cutler were able to spend a second more in the pocket, he would have 10-15 yards in front of him.
- 0:03. Go back to to the live play. You want to find that second? Brandon Carr roughs up Dane Sanzenbacher (after five yards, should have been penalized) just enough to slow down his route. Without that contact, Cutler would have seen a free Great Dane and most likely made the throw earlier.
- 0:45. Great hustle by Butler AGAIN to recover the fumble. If he’s not alert as the ball comes free, Matt Forte is going to collect it for the Bears.
THE BRIGGS INTERCEPTION
- 1:14. The Bears defensive line is playing at a level I’ve not seen them play during the Lovie Smith era. Three of the four defensive linemen get a significant push, with Melton and Peppers absolutely destroying the offensive linemen in front of them.
- 1:16. If Romo turns to his left, he has DeMarco Murray standing alone in the flat. And I mean no-defensive-player-for-ten-yards alone. And it’s not a breakdown situation. The screen is built into the design as a last resort and Romo has to go there with the ball. These are the types of bad decisions FORCED BY PRESSURE.
- 1:15. I took out a stopwatch and timed how long is takes Melton to hit Romo from the snap. 2.7 seconds. When that is the case, the only possible passes to complete are quick screens and slants. Melton makes the play of the game.
- 1:48. There are two large offensive linemen in front of Briggs when he makes the catch and he Walter Paytons em! Look at that juke move Briggsy uses and look at his speed as he accelerates down the field.
- 1:37 & 1:41. Look at the joy on the faces of Brian Urlacher and Lovie Smith. These guys live on turnovers and scoring. Plays like that one has to remind them of being kids in the schoolyard and it’s refreshing for a fan to see.
- 1:52. I don’t know if Lawrence Vickers (#47) or DeMarco Murray could actually bring Briggs down before the end zone but they never got the opportunity because of the tremendous hustle of Tim Jennings – my new favorite Bear. Jennings tracks with Briggs, completely shifts Vickers off the pace and then holds up a charging Murray.
Two fascinating plays. Two minutes that changed the entire game.