The Bears have another rookie to feel good about this season after running back Jeremy Langford’s excelled in Matt Forte’s place in San Diego.
This week’s “Film Study” looks at Langford’s breakout game against the Chargers, quarterback Jay Cutler’s touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller and outside linebacker Lamarr Houston’s two sacks.
A rookie success
The Bears, as expected, leaned on Langford, giving him 21 touches on 54 snaps. And the fourth-round pick didn’t disappoint.
It was Langford’s home-run ability that general manager Ryan Pace highlighted when he was drafted, and Langford looked like a big-play-waiting-to-happen throughout Monday night’s game. He may actually be more explosive than veteran Matt Forte at this point in his career.
Langford’s 31-yard diving catch was a tremendous play, but his coveted burst stood out on more on others. In the third quarter, Langford raced past outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, one of the Chargers’ best players, on a screen with three receivers as his blockers for a 16-yard gain.
Later in the third, Langford was Cutler’s option in the left flat when the Chargers blitzed. Langford was open on a blown coverage, but quickly turned a short pass into a 23-yard gain when safety Jimmy Wilson lost his angle on his pursuit.
The read option also appears to fit Langford’s running style well. He cut back for a 16-yard gain on such a play in the second quarter, leaving Ingram caught inside.
The Bears lined up Langford everywhere and used I-formations often. He rarely went down on first contact. Langford displayed good power on his one-yard touchdown run and his successful two-point conversation, which Cutler checked to.
“He’s explosive,” coach John Fox said. “He can [turn] short runs into longer runs. I thought he had a great night.”
It was a great night that the Bears said they expected from Langford, who handled his pass-protection assignments without major issues.
“[He] made a few really good catches for me,” Cutler said. “We really needed that kind of play.”
Cutler keyed on Miller early after the snap on the play that resulted in Miller’s 25-yard, highlight-reel touchdown down the seam.
Miller had a free release off the line scrimmage and immediately got behind linebacker Donald Butler.
Safety Jahleel Addae faded toward receiver Alshon Jeffery down the sideline, leaving Miller essentially wide open behind Butler.
Cutler continued to show good fundamentals, climbing the pocket and stepping into a throw that analyst Jon Gruden described as a “fastball.” Miller made a one-handed catch for the score.
Houston’s two game-sealing sacks were strong individual efforts in one-on-one matchups against right tackle Joe Barksdale.
Houston’s first sack came on a three-man rush. He got into a three-point stance just before the snap and beat Barksdale with speed and his hands around the outside.
The second sack was the result of brute force. Houston sent Barksdale to his backside before getting Rivers for a 10-yard loss.
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns