Thoughts and observations after watching the film of the Bears’ 20-10 victory against the Vikings in Week 8.
Seemingly lost in the hoopla of quarterback Jay Cutler’s triumphant return and running back Jordan Howard’s success behind an offensive line that was missing two Pro Bowl-caliber starters was the man who planned it all.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains called an exceptional game against the Vikings’ heralded defense. He kept them off balance, mixing in a variety of looks and a healthy dose of play-action plays after establishing the running game.
Twelve of Cutler’s 31 pass attempts involved some form of play fakes, rollouts or a moving pocket. He completed eight of those 12 for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Cutler praised the design of the play that resulted in Jeffery’s 11-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Out of the shotgun, Cutler faked a read-option handoff to Howard. It caused safety Harrison Smith to fill a hole against Howard, which left open space behind him and Jeffery one-on-one against cornerback Trae Waynes.
“We kind of buried the fake in there and [Smith] came flying down, and Al ran a great slant right behind him,” Cutler said. “It was a well-executed and well-diagrammed play.”
It also was a timely call by Loggains because it took advantage of a favorable matchup. Waynes had replaced starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who was shadowing Jeffery but left two plays before the score with an injury.
More on Loggains
Even the play that resulted in Howard’s two-yard touchdown run speaks to Loggains’ creativity and improvement as a play-caller. It was the first time defensive tackle Mitch Unrein was inserted at fullback this season.
Instead of trying to power it straight through the Vikings’ front — that’s how Unrein was used at fullback last season — the Bears ran a toss to the right. Howard ran untouched into the end zone.
“I think he’s already pretty good,” coach John Fox said of Loggains. “He’s one of the 32 [coordinators] in the league — on the planet, for that matter. [The offensive staff has] adapted and adjusted, which is what coaches do, regardless of your job title, with a variety of different people. They’ve done a tremendous job.”
Pernell makes plays
In his second game back, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee had a sack and four quarterback hits in only 25 snaps.
McPhee showed that he’s still powerful despite purposely losing more than 20 pounds because of his knee injury.
On his sack, McPhee beat right tackle T.J. Clemmings by getting underneath his block with his right hand and forcing him outside. Clemmings lost his leverage, and McPhee had a run at quarterback Sam Bradford.
“Absolutely old-school Pernell,” outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt said.