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Bills vs. Bears 2014: how did Jim Schwartz sweep Chicago in 2013?
- The Bears used a sixth offensive lineman on 16 percent of their plays in 2013, per Football Outsiders. With a glut of skill talent, the Bears can add that sixth blocker and still conceivably run or pass.
- Just to emphasize that they could call anything they wanted in their six-linemen look, here's Eben Britton (who is no longer with the team) running a clearing route up the seam with Matt Forte crossing underneath.
- (1 of 2) The Bears have a modern running offense, which incorporates college-esque concepts - largely featuring Alshon Jeffery - into their six-linemen look.
- (2 of 2) This is a dual run call. Jay Cutler hands the ball to Jeffery on a jet sweep, crossing from the weak to the strong side of the formation, but he could also choose to hand off to Forte on an inside zone. The jet sweep/inside zone call was all the rage in 2013.
- Again in their six-linemen front, the Bears call an end-around to Jeffery, running to the weak side of the formation, away from Britton. Jeffery logged 16 rushes for 105 yards in 2013
- (1 of 2) Jim Schwartz's Lions played a whale of a game against the run in their 21-19 road win over Chicago - even out of the largely misunderstood "Wide 9" alignment. (Offensive tackles are circled in yellow to give a clear indication of just how wide the ends play.)
- (2 of 2) The wide ends in the Schwartz system are simply edge-setters in the run game. Here, then-rookie end Devin Taylor takes on a double-team from Britton and Martellus Bennett, allowing DeAndre Levy to set up to the outside, then crash inside as Forte heads upfield.
- (1 of 3) Chicago is excellent at mixing up the direction of their runs, attacking the A and B gaps only slightly more often than they do the C gaps on wide runs. Here, on a 3rd and 1 play, a toss to the outside looks to be set up perfectly.
- (2 of 3) Detroit's entire defense tackled exceedingly well in this game, which is why Forte only managed 33 yards on 17 carries. Here, cornerback Chris Houston deftly steps inside left tackle Jermon Bushrod in space...
- (3 of 3) ... and trips up Forte shy of the yard sticks to force a fourth down. This was a tremendous play by a smaller corner, against one of the best runners in the league. (Detroit also got a stop on the ensuing fourth down, as well.)
- Schwartz and the Lions did not do anything especially innovative to stop Forte. They played their base defense, were fast to the ball all afternoon, and simply won their one-on-one matchups (as you see Ndamukong Suh, circled in yellow, do here in emphatic fashion against then-rookie guard Kyle Long).
- With the Bills, Schwartz is unlikely to do anything drastic schematically to try to slow the Bears down. They'll need big plays like this one - in which Suh curls around on a stunt, gets a hand into the passing lane on a would-be easy scoring toss to Bennett, and tips the ball into the air for Levy to intercept.
- (1 of 2) Buffalo's defensive backs, in particular, will be key figures in the Bills' efforts to contain Forte and make the Bears one-dimensional. Case in point: safety Don Carey (32), who should be blocked easily by Jordan Mills here...
- (2 of 2) ... but who instead easily cruises past Mills into the backfield on a bit of a gamble, then gets enough of Forte's ankle to trip him up and bring him to the turf before he can glide to the second level.
- If anything stood out about Detroit's overall performance in a strong showing against Chicago, it was the play of their linebackers. Stephen Tulloch, Ashlee Palmer, and especially Levy were all over the field. Here, Levy makes a Matt Slauson block effort look silly as he knifes into the backfield to drop Forte for a loss. The Bills need big things from Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, and Preston Brown on Sunday.