The Packers got back into the win column and swept the Bears in the process. That feels pretty good. I was planning on just going with one play in this spot – in line with the name of the article – but I decided to go with two. It was a big fourth quarter for Brett Hundley and I wanted to make sure he got proper coverage in this spot.

2nd and 9. Packers are up 16-12 with 5:37 remaining in the game. Packers send 4 receivers out initially, and follow with Aaron Ripkowski [22] sneaking out of the backfield late. The right side finds Davante Adams [17] and Jordy Nelson [87] running dig routes, while Richard Rodgers [82] runs a slowly slithering in-and-up route. Meanwhile, Randall Cobb [18] is running a stop-and-go as the lone receiver on the left side.

Brett Hundley [7] signals Nelson to go in motion before the snap. The defender follows him, signaling man coverage underneath. With two deep safeties, the Bears are giving a Cover 2 Man Under look pre-snap, and that’s exactly what they do at the snap.

The Bears play this well. Hundley looks middle – likely reading Nelson first and Rodgers second – before looking out to Cobb on his left. None of those receivers has separation. With the rush getting to him, Hundley is flushed to his right.

Look at the timing on the cut by Adams. As soon as Hundley breaks contain, Adams has a violent cut back to the outside. It looks like he’s running an out, but Hundley directs him up the field.

Hundley knows Adams is going against man-to-man coverage and he can track the path of the safety while rolling out. Even though Adams is turned towards the middle of the field, Hundley throws high to Adams’ back shoulder. By doing this, he guarantees that the safety closing from the middle won’t be able to get there in time. Either Adams will make a play on this ball or no one will.

It’s an absolutely perfect throw – on the run, no less – in a big situation. Hundley has a touch of Rodgers in him, it seems. This gave the Packers a 23-13 lead with a little over 5 minutes to play.

That seemed to put the Bears in the ground, but it wasn’t enough. Mitch Trubisky marched the Bears down the field and picked up a field goal, making it a 7 point game with around 4 minutes to play.

The Packers found themselves facing a crucial 3rd and 10 with 2:12 remaining. Failure to convert here would give the Bears the ball back – down by a touchdown – on the “wrong” side of the two minute warning.

The Packers come out in a three-wide look, with Davante Adams [17] running a go route on the right while Randall Cobb [18] runs a slant and Jordy Nelson [87] runs a dig from the left side. Everyone else stays back in protection.

Bears are in Cover 1 Man Under, with Adrian Amos [38] sliding down into the box as a roving zone defender. I’m tempted to call this Cover 1 Robber, but, with Eddie Jackson [39] playing dead in the center of the field and Amos not exactly being sneaky, I don’t think they were trying to throw too much deception into this look.

When you look at those three receivers, Adams actually has the least amount of separation. Nelson roasts Prince Amukamara [20] off the line. If this was an option route or Nelson was running a go, he would have absolutely torched Amukamara. Still, Nelson gets Amukamara off balance enough to get good inside position on his dig route. He’s short of the sticks by a few yards, but a good throw would have allowed for him to turn upfield and pick up the first down.

Cobb hits Cre’von LeBlanc [22] with a jab step to the left before coming back to the middle. LeBlanc sticks with Cobb pretty well, but Cobb is able to get a step on LeBlanc. Amos is sliding under this route, but there’s a window to hit Cobb between LeBlanc and Amos. Cobb has separation and a clear path to the first down marker.

Meanwhile, Adams runs a little stutter-step-and-go against Kyle Fuller [23]. The stutter-step is enough to freeze Fuller for a second, which allows Adams to get up the sideline behind him.

Brett Hundley [7] is reading this left-to-right. I’m not sure why he doesn’t throw to Nelson or Cobb. After seeing how open they got immediately, I don’t know why Hundley hesitated. It looks like he moves on from Cobb after Cobb has made his move. Maybe he’s thinking that Cobb is short of the sticks and he wants a first down. Maybe he saw the Cover 1 look, knew he had Adams man-to-man up the sideline and he trusted Adams to come down with it.

Whatever his reason, he looks over at Adams and unleashes an absolute dime that hits Adams in stride. For his part, Adams is getting interfered with and casually makes this catch with one hand. Ho hum.

Here’s something I want to point out: look at where Adams is when Hundley releases this ball. He hasn’t yet beat Fuller up the field. Through his first few games, one of the things I’ve lamented is the fact that Hundley isn’t great at anticipating when his guy will be open. He tends to wait until his man is open before he throws it. That results in a couple issues: holding the ball too long and releasing the ball late.

Here, he anticipates Adams getting open over Fuller and releases the ball before he’s open. It’s a great throw from Hundley, but it’s the anticipation of Adams getting open that really gets me amped.

Before I close up shop for the day, I have two more points to make. One thing I hate about this play and one thing I love.

Hate: This is a big 3rd and 10. What play design do they send out? Three routes that depend on the receivers beating the man across from them. It works out here, but there is absolutely no scheming anyone open. If those guys fail to create space on their own, the scheme is not going to help them.

Love: The Packers could have gone conservative. They’re up by a touchdown and have a back-up quarterback. They could have run Jamaal Williams into the middle of the line, punted, and trusted their defense to keep the Bears out of the end zone. Instead, Mike McCarthy trusted his young quarterback enough to put the ball in his hands, and Hundley rewarded him for that trust. I still don’t love how some of the offense operates, but I love that McCarthy seems to finally be rolling with Hundley.


Album listened to: Angel Olsen – Phases

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