CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 09: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears breaks away from Jerrell Freeman #50 of the Indianapolis Colts during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field on September 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Colts 41-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears stumbled early on in Week 1 and gave up an interception return for a touchdown. Steve von Horn of SB Nation Chicago breaks down exactly what happened on that ugly pick 6 play.
I think everyone can agree that Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears endured a rather inauspicious start to the 2012 NFL season during Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. Mike Tice apparently scripted the first 10 plays for the offense during the home opener. It was a suckfest. The comedy of errors started with Cutler getting sacked, Gabe Carmini getting called for a false start, Matt Forte going nowhere on a run and Roberto Garza tossing a worm burner of a shotgun snap to Jay on 3rd and 21 from five-yard line. As we all know, things actually got worse from that point.
On the next offensive play after the punt from the opening series -- a 1st and 10 from the three-yard-line forced by great punt coverage from the Colts -- Cutler aimed a pass for Forte in the flat that was intercepted by former Mary Hardin-Baylor (???) star linebacker Jerrell Freeman and walked into the endzone to put Indianapolis up 6-0. That play is the low point of the Bears' season so far, and it isn't even a contest (at least the 34-7 run that followed that debacle served to ease our collective pain).
The interesting thing is that it was a well-designed play where the Bears got the exact matchup they wanted and came tantalizingly close to producing a 97-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Forte. The Bears flexed out tight end Kyle Adams, got the Colts to shift their strong safety into the box and got a one-on-one matchup between their star running back and a linebacker making his NFL debut. Three things went wrong:
- Brandon Marshall couldn't quite get the right depth on his rub route (read: pick play) to disrupt the angle of Freeman and create space for the throw.
- Jay Cutler didn't utilize the open space behind the defense and failed to lead Forte down the field by putting more air under the ball.
- Roberto Gazra got blown up by nose tackle Antonio Johnson, who busted into the backfield on the three-step drop and probably forced Jay to rush the throw from the shadow of his own goalposts.
I've made a resolution to go beyond the talk and try to actually show you what happened on various Bears plays throughout the season using All-22 coaches' film (learn more here). Now let's take a look at what happened on that ugly pick-6 from Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears offense from Week 1: