CCS Film Room: Bears WRs Utilizing The Stutter Step
After a disappointing first half against the Jaguars, the Bears really got into the swing of things in the 3rd and 4th quarters. In the 4th quarter alone, they scored FOUR touchdowns (3 offensive, 1 defensive). Let’s take a look at how they scored their 2nd TD of the 4th quarter, putting them up 24 points and effectively putting the game on ice.
On the Bears 2nd play of their 2nd drive, QB Jay Cutler hit WR Devin Hester on a play where Hester clearly beat his man. First and foremost, let’s look at the defensive alignment on this play, while the Bears line up in a two-TE set.
Notice that the safety has moved up alongside the LBs on this play, and on 2nd and 6 with a sizable lead the Jaguars are presumably assuming a run. Cutler and Hester both no doubt notice the single cover safety.
In these next two stills, you’ll see Hester’s stutter moves that put CB Rashean Mathis behind Hester. It’s an excellently executed route that leaves Hester open down the sideline.
Notice in the 2nd still in the series, how Mathis has planted his left foot as Hester begins accelerating behind him. Mathis is in poor position as Hester burns him and makes a diving catch in front of Safety Dwight Lowery.
Hester did an excellent job bringing the ball into his body (his face, to be exact), and hanging on for a big first down. Had Cutler thrown a ball that Hester caught on the run, it is unlikely he could’ve gained more than 3-5 yards before Lowery forced him out of bounds, given the angle the Free Safety was taking.
In this second group of stills, let’s examine the play that ended the Bears current drive, resulting in a Chicago touchdown. Notice in this first drive that the Bears (again in a two-TE set). The Jaguars have their safeties up, indicating one-on-one coverage for the Chicago WRs. Jacksonville is no doubt assuming run on this play, and Chicago takes advantage.
In these two stills, you’ll see Brandon Marshall’s stutter-move, which looks eerily similar to the move Hester pulled off earlier in the drive.
Notice in the first still how CB Derek Cox has planted his back foot, and in the 2nd still how he realizes he’s made a mistake and actually reaches to hold Marshall with his left hand. It’s too little, too late though, as Marshall has all the separation he needs. Marshall hauls in a perfectly thrown 24-yard touchdown pass, and the game is effectively out of reach.
Cox’s only option is to dive towards Marshall in hopes of breaking up the pass, but the Bears leading WR catches the over-the-shoulder pass for 6.
The Bears have been creative in their last few games in terms of getting their WRs the ball, but the stutter-move reined supreme on this particular drive. Given the documented success the Bears had with that particular move in this game, you can expect defenses to adjust against it in the future. More than anything, this gives the Bears WRs confidence in knowing they can get by their man, and their QB will get them the ball.
I’ll say it again, my friends, now is an incredible time to be a Bears fan. Let’s enjoy the bye week, and teach Detroit what they need to do in order to become an elite team in the NFC North.
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