3:43 left in the 1st.
2nd and Goal
+4 yard line.
The Texans came out in 13 personnel with three tight ends on the field with Brandin Cooks at receiver. They balanced up the formation to the each side with a TE and Cooks to the left and a TE and Jordan Akins at the wing spot. Knowing the Bears were in man coverage, the Texans called a multi-rub route pass call. The hope was that with two crossing receivers from one side, crossing with two receivers going the other way, one of the Bears would get slowed down in coverage. That Bear was covering Jordan Akins who was crossing to the back of the end zone on the offense's left.
Davis Mills spied Akins as he crossed the goal post and then threw a dart into his belly for the first Texans touchdown since the tie to the Colts.
11:24 in the 3rd quarter
1st and ten
-25 yard line
The Texans had taken a four point lead on the first drive of the second half, so the Bears went right back to the run game well. And, well, why not? Justin Fields turned and tossed the ball to backup RB Khalil Herbert to the right side. I knew it was trouble right away as I stood at the 25-yard line right down the line of scrimmage. Why? I saw three Texans in the backfield on the right side of the formation and the Bears were running left. Someone either blew a call or got beaten badly up front, but there was absolutely no one in the frontside A gap (between center and guard). Herbert saw the gaping void and darted back across the formation.
Then, he sprinted through, over and around Texans for a 52-yard run that put the Bears offense back in business down by just four. They would score a few plays later to take a three point lead. This was a backbreaking run.
I said during the game that being a penetrating front is great, but not if there isn't exquisite technique being played at the same time. That was not exquisite technique and it was a killer on that drive (and throughout the game).
1st play in the 4th quarter
3rd and six
-26 yard line.
The Bears put Justin Fields in empty on third and six. The Texans answered with nickel personnel and initially disguised man coverage, but, on the snap, the Texans safeties sprinted back into Tampa 2 and the disguise may have thrown Justin Fields off just a bit.
The Bears' slot WR eyed cover two and ran down the seam, splitting the two safeties - Jonathan Owens and Jalen Pitre. LB Christian Kirksey did a great job running with that seam route to give the safeties time to get over the top to help defend on the throw. Fields throw sailed a bit down the middle but it wouldn't have mattered because Pitre was in perfect position to snatch the throw out of the air for his second interception of the day.
I would discuss his first interception, but it was nearly the exact same play and result…just a tougher catch.
2:15 left in the game.
2nd and eight
-33 yard line.
The Bears came out in 21 personnel. They put the TE into the slot on the left side and planned to run a bootleg back to their sideline. That would mean to Justin Fields' right-hand side. The Texans had a run blitz called with Jalen Pitre coming off the edge.
So, when Fields faked the ball into RB Khalil Herbert's belly, the Bears hoped that whoever was on the far side of the formation would track Herbert down the line of scrimmage. That would leave Fields on the run with no one there and a TE in the flat for an easy completion. But, Pitre played the blitz perfectly and immediately got upfield when he saw that Herbert didn't have the ball. Fields never expected him and Pitre was able to come up with a huge sack to help get the ball back to the offense late in the game.