How Bears' dedication to run set up game-winning TD pass


The Bears have made it clear that running the ball is going to be a big part of their offensive identity this season. In Week 1, they lived up to that promise, rushing the ball 37 times compared to 17 pass attempts. The rain probably skewed those numbers a bit, but even with a little good weather regression, the playcalling would’ve still heavily favored the run game. Normally Chicagoans who have been calling for a return to the ground and pound game would be rejoicing with a development like that, but there was one problem. The Bears couldn’t run the ball effectively throughout the game.

On those 37 rushes, the Bears only managed 99 yards, giving them a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. David Montgomery was the least effective of the bunch, averaging 1.5 yards per carry. Khalil Herbert helped buoy the group with 45 yards on nine rushes, giving him a five-yard average, plus a touchdown. But for the most part, the offensive line struggled to create space up front, and the ball carriers struggled to gain chunks of yards on the ground.

Even so, you could argue the run game was a big success on Sunday, because it set up the play that gave the Bears the lead for good. On a 3rd-and-2 play, the Bears went to play-action and ended up with an 18-yard touchdown pass.

Up to that point, the Bears had faced third down 12 times, and they either ran the ball, or dumped the ball off to a running back on a short passing route on seven of those plays. So when Fields faked to Montgomery, then had Khari Blasingame leaking to the flat, several 49ers defenders came rushing downhill.

“I felt the defenders coming down soft and then saw EQ,” said Fields. “He took a good angle with that safety right there and I just hit him for the touchdown.”

Blasingame was the first read on the play, but with the Niners crashing down, St. Brown was able to sneak his way into the end zone for an easy score.

“You never know in a game like this where the ball’s going to go to,” St. Brown said. “As a receiver you never know who’s going to get the ball, so you’ve got to run the route like you’re going to get the ball every time. I stayed ready.”

The touchdown was a mix of good play design and good execution. And it may not have come to fruition if not for the team’s dedication to the run in the first half.

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