The Play Of The Game: Cutler to Olsen for 29 yds

What was the big play in the Bears game?  The Knox leaping TD catch (why did he leap?), the two missed FG's by Steeler kicker Jeff Reed, the game winner by Robbie Gould?  Maybe one of the two sacks by Alex Brown, or his pressure on Ben Roethlisberger that led to the interception by Charles Tillman?

For my money it was none of these.  If I was pressed to pick a play of the game it was a play during the Knox TD catch drive.  The playaction pass to Greg Olsen by Jay Cutler for 29 yards.  It was a great and a well executed play call.  Kudos to Ron Turner... that doesn't happen to often...

It was first and ten after the Bears converted a third down pass to Devin Hester.  They were near midfield and it was a perfect time for a play action pass.  Up to that point the Bears running game wasn't anything special, but they kept with it enough to keep the Steeler D honest.  The Bears were doing a real good job with the short quick passing game, so the Steelers had that to think about as well.  Throwing deep over the middle at that time was probably down on the list of things Pittsburgh was looking for.

During the game CBS Color man Phil Simms remarked that the usual route for Bears tight ends on that particular play was a drag across the middle, and by Greg Olsen taking it vertical it was sure to have surprised the Steelers.  Simms said it was an unusual, but well designed play.  One other aspect of the play was Olsen knowing he'd get creamed after the catch, yet hanging on.

After getting knocked silly earlier in the game down the left sideline by Tyrone Carter, Olsen showed the kind of toughness us Bears fans respect by holding onto that ball.  He knew Carter was again barreling down in him, but he secured the reception on the way to the ground.

The play itself started with Olsen coming in motion right to left and settling in the slot on the left side.  Hester (right) and Earl Bennett (left) were lined up split wide, and Kellen Davis was on the right side of the line as a TE.  Matt Forte was the lone running back.  Hester and Bennett both ran deep out routes, just deep enough for the safeties to have to respect them running a fly route, thus holding them from the middle long enough for Olsen to find an opening.  The fake to Forte held the linebackers momentarily to allow Olsen to get behind them.  Cutler actually made the pass before he had his feet set, yet he still threw a strike.  He made a confident throw, Olsen showed good concentration in holding on to the catch, and the Bears pass protection gave Cutler plenty of time to find his receiver.

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