If there is one thing that the Chicago Bears’ coaching staff can be accused of doing this season, it’s consistently failing to properly strategize against their opponents. Whether it was showing a reluctance to run the football against the Green Bay Packers or to constantly shadow Rob Gronkowski with someone capable of covering him, the team has made some really poor decisions from a coaching perspective this season.
On Sunday however, things turned around a bit in that regard, as the Bears’ offense took full advantage of a mismatch on the outside. There, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson, who stands at just 5-foot-10, was matched up against Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall at various times during the contest. With both of his main receivers holding a nearly half-foot height advantage, Jay Cutler found the duo on numerous occasions for jump balls down the field, and in just about every instance the Bears were able to get big gains out of it.
The Vikings did try to provide some help over the top with safeties, but in the instances in which they chose to blitz Cutler or to drop the safety into another area of the field, it always seemed that the ball would head toward Robinson. Combined in the game, Marshall and Jeffery had 18 catches for 225 yards and three touchdowns, and they were targeted 27 times in the game.
One play that particularly stood out in this matchup occurred in the fourth quarter of the game with the Bears leading by just four points. On a third down and goal play from the four-yard line, Marshall was lined up across from Robinson on the outside. Seeing that there was no safety to help out over the top, Marshall emphatically waved at Cutler before the ball was snapped and continued to do so after the quarterback had the ball in his hands. Cutler threw to the plyon in the front right corner of the end zone, and Marshall went up and won the jump ball to extend Chicago’s lead.
When you have receivers that are as big as Jeffery and Marshall, you’re going to get some matchups in your favor. The Vikings were slow to help out in those one-on-one situations on Sunday, and unlike other times this season where the Bears haven’t been willing or able to go for the kill shot, they went right for it in this game.
That killer instinct was a sight for sore eyes for Bears fans, and the results speak for themselves as the team picked up their first victory at home this calendar year.