Who is truly to blame on Chicago Bears Failed Two-Point Conversion?


The Chicago Bears had a chance to win another heart-stopper on Sunday. This time, it was the Denver Broncos they tried to unseat. The Bears trailed the entire game, but leave it to Jay Cutler’s Cardiac Kids to make a game of it at the end. With 24 seconds to go, Jeremy Langford scored to cut the game to 17-15. The Bears went for two to try and send the game to overtime and a Jeremy Langford run was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. The onside kick failed and the Bears lost the game and fell to 4-6.

So what went wrong on the two-point conversion? The initial reaction was to blame John Fox and Adam Gase for the play call, but it was in fact Cutler that checked down to the run play to Jeremy Langford. Fans quickly jumped on Cutler for a poor audible at the line of scrimmage. Was it a bad call by Cutler, or was it poor execution by the team?

Here’s what I discovered (All freeze frames courtesy of CBS Sports)

As Cutler examines the line of scrimmage, he sees the Broncos have heavily covered the left side. They have eight guys left of center, and only 3 to the right. Cutler calls for man blocking and wants Langford to dive between guard and tackle on the right side where he feels the defense is at it’s weakest. The Broncos defense is stout, but based on the line of scrimmage, it’s not a bad call. We continue.

As the play begins, you can see Patrick Omameh (No.65) and Kyle Long (No.75) squaring up their men at the top of the screen. WR Cameron Meredith (No.81) heads up field (just above Long) to block the defensive back on him. A lot has been made of this next point and for good reason. No.55 Hroniss Grasu missed the call at the line of scrimmage and drops into pass protection. This is a horrible mistake by Grasu, and it allowed the Broncos defense to push the line back and create a lot of traffic for Langford to navigate. While this was a major error, it wasn’t the main reason this play failed.

As Langford gets the ball, the middle of the field is a mess. TJ Ward (No.43) of the Broncos has gone untouched and appears to have a clear shot at Langford, but look at the right side. Long’s man has deep penetration and has taken himself out of the play, meanwhile Omameh’s man has tried to go to the inside and Meredith (at the goalline above Grasu and No.72 Charles Leno) has a clean block on his man and has bottled him up. Keep in mind those were the only three men on the right side of the field. There is nobody, literally nobody, if Langford cuts right between Omameh and Long.

At this point, Langford dives straight towards the pile. Ward has him wrapped up and he has absolutely no place to go. Even at this point, you can see the foot to the right of Cutler (that’s Long’s man) and you can see how cleanly Meredith has blocked his defender. The play dies and the Bears lose. If Langford had cut to the outside, he would have had to shed a TJ Ward arm tackle, and if he did, he would have been able to moonwalk into the endzone.

Oct 18, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Of course we don’t know if the Bears would have won the game in overtime, the offense had struggled all game, but at least there would have been a chance, but this is the type of play where the Bears horribly miss Matt Forte.

Forte has great vision. He would have read exactly where the defense was moving and found the gap that Langford completely missed. Had Forte ran the ball on that possession, there’s an excellent chance that the Bears tie the game at 17.

This article isn’t to rip Langford. He had two tremendous games and the rookie is going to make mistakes. What you haven’t heard is one analyst note that Langford didn’t execute this play well. Cutler’s call at the line of scrimmage was the right one. Grasu’s mistake was very bad, but Langford’s lack of vision was the reason this play failed.

The Bears will most likely let Forte walk at season’s end, and the way Langford played his first two starts you understand why. But it’s plays like this where you truly realize Forte’s value. Ryan Pace needs to understand that Langford won’t be able to replace Forte without skipping a beat. Forte will be missed, and this play shows exactly why.

Regardless, it’s a short week for the Bears, they need to put this game behind them and focus on Thanksgiving night against the Green Bay Packers. It doesn’t get any easier. Will Matt Forte be back? I sure hope so.