You're clinging to a 19-13 lead in the fourth quarter. The last two weeks your team blew second half leads to drop your record to 2-3. You know a field goal would make it a two score game, but you also have a play call you have confidence in and you have the confidence in your quarterback to make the right decision at the line of scrimmage.
Calling a running play on 3rd and goal from the 9 may seem conservative, but it was also a smart move. Through scouting, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman had a good idea of the look the Atlanta Falcons would give him on defense, so he dialed up the trap play.
"... We probably were going to get a coverage that was going to take any pass away, so we called a run with Jay having the option that if they did decide to blitz us or do something exotic, then we could get to a pass," coach Marc Trestman said. "But they played a shell. We blocked it beautifully up front."
This was the perfect play call by Trestman and it was perfect execution by his players. Trestman actually called this same play on 2nd down, but Atlanta wan't in the right look, so Jay Cutler checked out of it. That second down play was a 2nd and 13 and it came right after the refs took away a touchdown reception by Alshon Jeffery because of illegal touching.
Jay hit a little 4 yarder to Martellus Bennett on 2nd down to set up this 3rd and 9. When a play caller has a play he believes in, he has to go back to it, and that's just what Trestman did. Here's how the Falcons lined up right before the snap of the ball.
Atlanta was showing blitz as Cutler was going though his cadence. They had a defender lined up in Chicago's left side C Gap, but then he backed off before the ball was snapped. Even if he stayed in that C Gap, Cutler would have still ran the called play because he read a 2 deep look and assumed Atlanta would back off at the snap. Had Atlanta blitzed, then left tackle Micheal Ola would have been responsible for the blitzer.
The play called was a trap to the left. A trap play is exactly what it sounds like, a trap. Chicago's offensive line is allowing one player to go seemingly unblocked, while the backside guard pulls to block him. On this particular play the Bears are trapping the highlighted player below, #93 Malliciah Goodman. Bears' left guard Matt Slauson heads to the second level, leaving Goodman for the pulling Kyle Long.
It's not a devastating trap block, but right guard Long gets just enough of his man so running back Matt Forte can run off his block. Center Roberto Garza blocks down on #91 Corey Peters, who is lined up in their right side A Gap. Garza taking him frees up Long to pull to the left.
It also creates the crease that Forte is running through. I highlighted both blocks below so you can see the hole they created.
Slauson went for the 2nd level with his eyes on #55 Paul Worrilow. Left tackle Ola and tight end Bennett also went to the second level. Remember Ola was uncovered because the blitzer walked off, so he was free to release.
Now you may be thinking... But what about the defensive end that was shading Martellus Bennett's outside shoulder, who's responsible for him?
The Bears don't even need to block him. Since it was a quick hitting hand-off, Bennett could ignore the defensive end and look up-field. If that DE could come down the line and catch Forte, then it's time for the Bears to find a new tailback.
A quick coaching aside: This is often how an offense will block an eight man front. When the defense brings an 8th man up in the box, the assumption is that they have the advantage, but it's common for an offensive blocking scheme to simply ignore one of the defenders, thus evening things back out. By running a toss, a stretch play, a sweep, something quick off tackle or a quick hitter up the gut, it's possible for an offense to identify one, or sometimes two guys, to leave free. Having a tailback with enough juice to get to the edge or to hit the hole quickly is a must.
So with Slauson, Ola and Bennett (1,2,3 in the pic below) all releasing up-field, they create a wall for Forte to run behind.
"Presnap, I saw [the Falcons] kind of backed off in coverage. I guess they [thought] we were passing the ball," Forte said. "It was a quick-hitting play. The offensive line did a great job of securing the front guys, and then they kind of just ran the other guys into the end zone, and I just was behind them, so great blocking by them."
Left wide out Brandon Marshall and right slot receiver Josh Morgan both run inside, looking to cut off any Falcon defenders. Right tackle Jordan Mills is inducing his man up-field and cutting off his backside pursuit. Alshon Jeffery is lined up so far to the right, that the corner on him is out of the play.