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Anatomy of a Drive: Run to Failure

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Anatomy of a Drive: Run to Failure
Getty Images Chester Taylor Getty Images

The Mike Martz-run Bears offense has been, to put it mildly, pass-heavy. Jay Cutler tried passing 181 passing times this season and Matt Forte's tried 90 rushes.

Keep in mind that Forte has played one more game than Cutler.

The knock against a more balance attack has been that with the anemic offensive line, the Bears can't be as successful on the ground as they can in the air. But a third quarter drive proved that the Bears can move downfield using short runs, giving Cutler a break and eating up clock at the same time.

C. Taylor rushed to the left for 12 yard gain
-- The Bears turned to Taylor, the off-season pick-up from the Minnesota Vikings, and he delivered. After this first-down run, he broke out for another 12-yard gain.

J. Cutler passed to M. Forte to the left for 13 yard gain -- Forte showed off the versatility that has been his trademark this season, coupling this catch with a 3-yard run that brought the Bears into Redskins territory.

J. Cutler passed to C. Taylor to the right for 5 yard gain -- An interesting part of the Bears offense this season has been the use of running backs as short-yardage receivers. Forte is actually the Bears' second most-productive receiver, and on this play, Taylor got in on the act.

J. Cutler passed to D. Hester down the middle for 7 yard gain -- This was the Bears first third-down conversion in 29 tries, as well as the first appearance of a traditional wide receiver on this drive.

M. Forte rushed to the left for 10 yard gain
-- Another first down brought the Bears into the red zone, again, all with running.

M. Forte rushed to the left for 3 yard gain -- Forte moved the team into first and goal position. From here, things got sticky.

J. Cutler passed to M. Forte to the right for no gain -- At this point, the Bears were winning 14-10 and still had one more chance to punch it in. If they didn't get in the end zone, at least they would walk away with a field goal and a full-touchdown lead.

D. Hall intercepted J. Cutler for 92 yard touchdown
-- Except ... that happened. Cutler forced a pass to Knox, and DeAngelo Hall took it back for a Redskins TD. Just like that, instead of having a 7-point lead, the Bears were down by three.

This drive taught us a few things about the Bears. First, that the running game can work, and that Taylor is an option that hasn't been used fully. When he is given a chance, he can be incredibly productive. With the Bears in the lead, using the run not only got the Bears downfield, but it ate up most of the third quarter. The defense was given a break, and it inched the Bears closer to a win.

Secondly, it showed the Bears futility when in the red zone. The Bears are now 0-10 when trying to score from the one-yard line. Out of the many awful statistics that the Bears have produced this season, the inability to move one yard -- three feet -- is the worst.

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