suntimes
SUITABLE 
Weather Updates

Chalk talk: Falcons’ template may be Bears’ best bet against Lions

storyidforme: 42258540
tmspicid: 15644202
fileheaderid: 7052724

Updated: January 31, 2013 6:37AM



Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is sure of one thing heading into Sunday’s do-or-die game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field: Scoring one touchdown, as the Bears did in the teams’ first meeting, won’t be good enough.

‘‘If we score more than one touchdown, we’ll have a shot,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘We were watching film again [of the Bears’ 13-7 win against the Lions on Oct. 22], and we left a lot out there. We were in a bunch of third-and-longs, and we can’t do that.

“As players, we have to step up and put our team in a better position. I really like the game plan this week. The guys are excited about our opportunity and where we stand. A game like this, I expect us to come together and get it done.’’

The Bears’ plan always involves ways of getting Marshall one-on-one coverage. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice did a great job of that last week against the Arizona Cardinals, but the Lions have a different base defense, along with their own strengths and weaknesses.

If the Bears reach their goals of limiting third-and-longs and establishing a running game against the Lions, a play such as the one diagrammed here can work. The Atlanta Falcons used the play-action play to score their first touchdown last week against the Lions — a 44-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White on third-and-one.

The Falcons have their “22” personnel in — two tight ends, two backs and one receiver. It’s a personnel package the Bears like to use. The Lions have four linebackers in for the third-and-short situation.

Ryan sells the play-action fake to running back Michael Turner well. The movement of the offensive line (left) and the fullback (right), as well as the tight end going in motion, helps. The Lions’ linebackers and safety Don Carey play the run.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez and White are the only two to run routes, and both get one-on-one coverage. White gains a step on cornerback Chris Houston with a stop-and-go route. And Ryan hits him in stride for a touchdown.

Similar plays could work for the Bears on Sunday.

The Bears have to win to have a chance at the postseason.

‘‘At the end of the day, you want to get in the show,’’ Tice said. ‘‘You want to get in the dance. You want to have a chance. You want to have an opportunity. We can’t control our own destiny, but we can control our half of it, which is winning a football game. That’s what we’re intent on doing.’’



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.