Packers-Bears Film Review: Why did the Bears use Jordan Howard as a lead blocker?

on November 14 at 09:33 PM
People take football very seriously. Sometimes too seriously. I’m here to change that one play at a time. For any plays you’d like me to discuss , tweet me at @farminvt.Jordan Howard: light of foot, patience of Ghandi, blocking like a ghost.Yeah.Bigger whiffsthan Giancarlo Stanton’s first home game as a Yankee.Worse misses than Shaq at the free throw line. How did we get here, though?What made me take time out of my day to point out that Jordan Howard, the starting running back for the Chicago Bears, doesn’t want to block for his fellow teammates?That’s an interesting story in and of itself.Last Sunday against the rivalry-leading Green Bay Packers, Chicago decided to pull out all the stops on their first offensive drive, lining up in some ridiculous formations that would make Pop Warner coaches proud. I mean look at this:A tackle split out wide with two receivers behind him, a tight end taking the tackle’s position...what will he think of next?!This is madness, and quite frankly if I was Mike McCarthy, I would whine and complain until the league changes the rules just like John Harbaugh did in 2015.NFL is supposed to stand for No Fun League and having people play out of position is clearly hurting the shield.The lunacy didn’t stop there.A few plays after the ‘tackle out wide’ debauchery, Chicago resorts to a Gruden-esque 1940’s formation with three running backs in the backfield. Insane, right? But it gets even weirder - they line up NEXT TO EACH OTHER. It’s like they’re kindergartners lining up to go to the lunchroom and have to use the buddy system. The three musketeers that got into the wrong profession.The Three Amigos with less funny hats.Get a load of this:There isn’t a single wide receiver on the field.This formation just SCREAMS pass, doesn’t it?Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck”?Well, if it looks like a run, the formation says its a run, and it’s the Bears with Trubisky at quarterback, it’s probably a run.Sure as sweat on a summer day, Chicago tosses the ball to Tarik Cohen, cuts Nick Perry down at the knees, and they rumble forward for a gain of 7. Take that, dime formation.Tell me you saw Cohen’s lead blocker. Please.Here’s a hint: it’s Howard, #24.If you did, you’ll probably be chuckling at your desk right now.If you didn’t...How about now?I can hear Chris Berman’s “WHOOP” every time I watch it.I call this one the “ol茅” move - just like a matador , turn your hips and shoulders at the last second and wave bye-bye to your target. Howard even gave Tramon Williams, his target and eventual tackler, a high-five on his way by:What a nice guy.Chicago would eventually score (just like they eventually lost), so it didn’t end up affecting the drive, but this play definitely won’t be going on his year end highlight reel.That’s it for this week - remember to enjoy yourself, and as always, stay weird.Packers’ defense dominates Josh Allen, Bills in 22-0 shutout win After a disastrous stretch of defense, blowing a huge lead to the Vikings and allowing Washington to build one in the first half, Josh Allen was exactly who Mike Pettine and Co. needed to see. While Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense couldn’t quite get rolling, a dominating defense shutout the Bills, forcing three turnovers, and notching seven sacksto give Green Bay a much needed 22-0 win in Week 4. The rookie Bills quarterback finished the first half 5/19 for 58 yards en route to a Bills record for incompletions in a first half, to go with a heinous arm punt picked off by Jaire Alexander to wipe points off the board. In six possessions, the Packers forced four three-and-outs and the Alexander pick to shut out a Buffalo team that had jumped all over the Vikings in Week 3. Green Bay jumped out to a 16-0 first-half lead a week after the Bills took a 27-0 margin into halftime in Minnesota. The Packers’ defense had only forced three turnovers in the first three weeks, one of the worst figures in the league. Allen was generous in changing that, throwing two picksand sailing passes over the heads or at the feet of his receivers. Rodgers, looking much healthier but not significantly sharper than a week ago, bought time and made plays in ways we are used to seeing. He also missed some easy throws, threw his first interception of the season and nearly threw a pick-six on fourth down in the second half. Not having Randall Cobb clearly changed the gameplan for the Packers as they rotated running backs, tried to feed Jimmy Graham, and couldn’t quite generate the spark they were looking for. An opening-drive touchdown ended in a doinked extra point by Mason Crosby, a harbinger of things to come for the offense. They were consistently able to move the ball and get in position, only to come up just a little short. Costly drops and some bad throws stymied the Green Bay passing attack, with Rodgers making a number of key plays with his legs and just enough big-time throws to put points on the board. It was enough Sunday against a young Bills squad, but will have to be better for the Packers to achieve their goal of contending for a Super Bowl. Missing a hurt Cobb, the Packers lost Geronimo Allison to a concussion in the second half, forcing a pair of rookies into key roles for Green Bay’s offense. A lack continuity , experience, and rhythm held Rodgers and his group back. So did not playing Aaron Jones more often. He finished with 65 yards on 11 carries, a 5.9 average, and at this point the only person who doesn’t see he’s the best running back in town is McCarthy. Playing Lance Kendricks for any reason remains a head-scratching decision. For all the scheme improvements, some befuddling personnel decisions linger.Two promising third-quarter drives stalled out, resulting in a field goal and a turnover on downs thanks to the same problems that plagued the Packers in Week 3: drops, off-target throws, and some blown protections. In a game that should have been something like 30-0, the Packers held just a 19-0 advantage through three quarters. But the defense came through over and over. Once the lead was double-digits, Mike Pettine began to dial up pressure to confuse and befuddle Allen, ending in seven sacks and 11 quarterback hits for this Packers defense in its first game with Muhammad Wilkerson. Even Kyler Fackrell got into the act with a trio of sacks, disrupting in the Buffalo backfield and flummoxing Allen into missed throws and turnovers. Relying on the defense to pick up a streaky offense wasn’t a luxury the Packers have recently been afforded. Buffalo hardly represents a telling test, but Week 4’s performance serves as a step in the right direction for this young group. Blasting Josh Allen doesn’t prove their worth, but not doing so would have been solid evidence of their failures. And speaking of Super Bowl quality, the last shutout for the Packers was 2010, the year they last hoisted the Lombardi trophy. Rookies Josh Jackson and Jaire Alexander shined in coverage against a pedestrian group of receivers. In fact, a receiver didn’t post a reception until late in the first half for the Bills. The much-maligned Ha Ha Clinton-Dix snagged a pick early in the second half, his third straight game with an interception. Even without Kevin King, this Green Bay secondary proved it has some playmakers, a welcome change from recent vintages of this defense. Through four weeks, the Packers offense has faced four potential top-10 defenses, but the offense simply isn’t where we expect it to be a month from now. This isn’t a Super Bowl offense right now. But if the defense can build on this performance against a quarterback like Matthew Stafford — not just Josh Allen — those offense struggles are not only mitigated, but provide a boost for when Rodgers and his band of merry men finally emerge from Sherwood Forest to once again pillage and plunder. This defense, for its part, isn’t out of the woods itself, but showed the potential to dominate a matchup, even against a rookie. They needed a get-right game and they got one. Whether or not they can get right on their own could very well decide the fate of the Packers this season.

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