CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears throws a pass over the arm of Kentwan Balmer #95 of the Seattle Seahawks as the pass is intercepted by Aaron Curry #59 in the second half of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Forte
One of the reasons the Bears have been successful this season is that they haven't relied on the same weapons from week to week.
Teams preparing for Johnny Knox's ability to make long catches didn't expect that Earl Bennett could do the same thing. Stopping Julius Peppers is such a feat for offensive lines that it never occurred for them to stop Israel Idonije, who, like Peppers, has eight sacks.
The Seahawks clearly were not expecting that Greg Olsen would be a primary target for Jay Cutler. Olsen finished the game with 113 yards. And Seattle clearly wasn't expecting Matt Forte to try the quarterback position ... wait. That one didn't work out so well.
Seeing as the Bears and Packers already have played twice this season, could the Bears still be hiding a secret weapon? (Other than Soldier Field, of course.) Lovie Smith says they're not completely throwing out the playbook, but they are adding "a few wrinkles."
Good news, readers. We took a peek at that wrinkly playbook and can share with you the plan for Sunday.
-- Trading places: Sure, the Forte position-swap didn't work out so hot, but that doesn't mean it couldn't work for other positions. Olin Kreutz returning punts. Devin Hester on the line. Mike Martz as a wide receiver. The Pack will never expect it. Totally insane, or totally GENIUS?
-- The K-Cav misdirection play: Cutler has snagged himself a gorgeous girlfriend. Time to put her to work for the Bears. Have her cavort about the sideline, winking at the Pack and breaking their concentration as her man throws a long bomb to Knox. TOUCHDOWN BEARS!
-- Julius Peppers, running back: It worked for the Fridge. Put in Pep for a short yardage situation, and see how the Packers handle trying to take down the 6-foot-7, 290-lb. defensive end.
-- The Scooby Doo: On fourth down, fake a punt. Brad Maynard will throw a pass to Earl Bennett, waiting in the end zone. As "Maynard" runs to celebrate with his teammates, he will remove his mask to reveal that he is ... Jay Cutler!
OK, maybe those aren't the plays, but both the depth and the health of Chicago allows the team to try new things each week. This helped them turn around after the bye, and helped them steamroll the Seahawks on Sunday.