Revisiting 2019 - Week 15: A Frosty Victory Over the Bears

Dusty breaks down some key plays from the Packers Week 15 victory over the Bears

Week 15! This was a lot of fun, not only because it was a Packers/Bears game at Lambeau in which the Packers emerged victorious, but also because I had the distinct pleasure of attending this game in person and meeting a lot of really amazing people. I have a lot of good memories of this game. But, like all games, I forget a little more about it the further away I get. So let's roll through this game, you and I, and break down a handful of plays.

Play 1: 4th & 4, 4:53 remaining in the 1st quarter, Packers tied 0-0

4th down in the 1st quarter of a tie game on a very cold day. Over the past couple of weeks, we've witnessed the aggressiveness of Matt LaFleur in situations like this, and this week was no different. Rather than try a long field goal in less-than-optimal conditions, he left the offense on the field to convert.

The Packers have trips on the left, with Allen Lazard [13] releasing inside and running across the face of the single high safety. Davante Adams [17] runs a go route from the slot. Let's talk about that.

It's no secret that Adams has a tremendous release off the line. Being in the slot makes him even harder to cover, because he can release anywhere and still have plenty of room to work with. Now add in the situation. It's 4th & 4, so the defender is thinking about protecting the sticks. He's likely looking for something short, but he's not looking to drive on the first step of Adams. One false step in this situation means Adams would have an easy path to a 1st down.

Adams gives a hesitation step off the line and his defender angles inside, so Adams just streaks right past him. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix [21] drifting with the route from Lazard, there is no safety help over the top. Adams' immediate victory off the line makes for an easy decision for Aaron Rodgers [12]: throw over the top to Adams and go for gold. After the Mason Crosby extra point, the Packers take a 7-0 lead.

Play 2: 3rd & 16, 7:40 remaining in the 1st quarter, Packers tied 0-0

The Bears came out with a very specific gameplan: try to win without making Mitchell Trubisky [10] throw downfield. Per Pro Football Focus, 61.5% of Trubisky's attempts came within 9 yards of the line of scrimmage. He wasn't exactly lighting it up, either: he went 20/32 (62.5%) for 125 yards (3.9 yards per attempt), 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

For their part, the Packers did not seemed fooled by this. From the very first drive, the Packers were playing with shallow safeties, just daring Trubisky to beat them over the top.

The Bears ran a lot of wide receiver screens and other shallow plays to stretch the defense horizontally. Jaire Alexander [23] was anticipating this and attacked, but still had a hesitation step in case they were trying to fool him. 

Alexander is the boundary corner at the top, starting the play 8 yards off the line of scrimmage. The Bears are running a wide receiver screen to the outside receiver, and sending the slot receiver out to block Alexander.

Alexander sees it developing at the snap and attacks. He has a little stutter-step at the beginning of his break, putting himself in a position to recover if it ends up being a fake. It's only a short step, though. With the slot receiver rushing at him, any more hesitation would mean he would be blocked. So Alexander attacks the receiver, deking the block of the slot receiver on the way. It's a great defensive play from Alexander, and it ends up being a 3 yard loss for the Bears.

Play 3: 2nd & 5, 10:41 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Packers leading 14-3

I liked that play so well I thought I'd look at another one, a little later in the game. The method is different, but it ends roughly the same.

Alexander is tighter on the line this time, and the screen is going to the inside man. Alexander sees it immediately, but, being tight to the line, he's unable to get the angle to attack behind the line. 

They key thing Alexander does out of the gate is to attack his blocker. He doesn't wait until he is contacted: Alexander takes the fight to the receiver. That allows him to be engaged in a block, but puts him in control. He keeps the receiver at arm's length. When the time comes, Alexander is able to disengage from the block with ease and make the tackle on the boundary. The result is a 1 yard gain.

Nicely done by Alexander on both of these plays.

Play 4: 2nd & 4, 6:40 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers leading 21-13

Now we're down to what is very likely the play of the game. The Bears had just scored a touchdown to bring the score to within 8. On the following drive the Packers went three-and-out and JK Scott had an underwhelming 38 yard punt. So the Bears found themselves with good field position, down 8. Things were getting tense. Trubisky completed a 6 yard pass to Anthony Miller on 1st down, so they found themselves in a managable 2nd & 4.

Trubisky is looking to hit Tarik Cohen [29] off a delayed release from the backfield. Blake Martinez [50] drops back in coverage. At the top of his route, Cohen fakes outside before heading inside on an angle route.

Meanwhile, Dean Lowry [94] gets a decent initial push against his man, then ends up stepping back and reading the eyes of Trubisky. Trubisky never sees him.

Za'Darius Smith [55] plays a huge role in this play. He lines up angled in the A gap, and beats the center with an inside swim move. That move by Smith allows Lowry the ability to peel off and read Trubisky. (Side note: I love Za'Darius Smith so much.)

What follows is a tremendous play by Lowry. He times the jump perfectly, and is able to pull down a bullet from Trubisky. He juggles it for dramatic effect, but ends up with a huge interception.

I have one other note on this play that does not alter the outcome at all: Trubisky clearly believes Cohen is running to the sideline out of his break, but Cohen breaks on the angle route. Given the initial coverage angle from Martinez - running full speed from his inside position - an angle route seems to make the most sense. Get the defender sprinting to the outside, then cut inside. It looks like this was likely an option, with the quarterback and receiver not on the same page.

Like I said, it didn't impact the outcome of this play. Lowry doesn't care where Cohen is: he's only concerned with where Trubisky is looking. 


If you're looking for breakdowns of passing concepts used in this game, you're in luck! I wrote about those - as well as my experience at the game - right here.


Albums listened to: Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy; Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist; Gleemer - Down Through; Shakey Graves - Look Alive EP; Hayley Williams - Petals For Armor

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

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Comments (4)

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Bearmeat's picture

May 20, 2020 at 04:30 pm

Also note: Martinez is out of position against Cohen. So glad he's not having to cover players for us anymore.

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Spock's picture

May 21, 2020 at 10:00 am

Dusty, I always enjoy these breakdowns of plays. Thanks!

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itsmonika's picture

May 22, 2020 at 03:03 am

This was really valuable insight from two Giants legends.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 22, 2020 at 05:04 pm

On of few games last year when the condition of field effected play. That field was frozen by the start of the second half. I thought Rodgers was even more impressive, with the offense under the ice at Lambeau.

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