How Joe Lombardi hit his stride against Bears

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I hinted before that I wasn’t among those that believe that the Detroit Lions drubbing of their division rivals the Chicago Bears on national TV was simply beating on a weak defense.  I mean, that’s part of it, sure, but it’s indicative of bigger things.  There was already signs that the offense was moving in the right direction against the Patriots, though that seems ridiculous if you look at stat sheet.

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  • Joe Lombardi’s offense has been struggling all year, and his play calling was the chief culprit despite poor OL play and a non existent run game.  There’s more to it than just facing a bad team that made the offense suddenly start firing, so here are several plays that show that Joe Lombardi and his offense are finally doing things right.

    It all started for me with a 13 yard pass to Eric Ebron.  I know what you’re thinking.  This isn’t much of a play to highlight!  It was a short pass to a so-far-under-performing rookie tight end.  I wouldn’t be bringing this up if it wasn’t a good sign, however.

    Take a look at how undefended Eric Ebron was when the ball was released.  Part of why there is so much green around him is because of the play calling by the Bears, but Lombardi called the perfect play to counter what they were doing.

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    Ebron gets the whole field

    Ebron was only about a yard past the line of scrimmage when the ball was thrown, but he was able to take it for a first down with ease.  Why was he so open?  The Bears ran a blitz from the other side of the field.

    Ebron faked inside just enough that the LB tasked with covering him tries to pass him off before looking away.  Ebron then cut back along the LOS into a wide open sea of green.  Ebron was the first read of this play, which started with a fake toss to the blitzing side.

    Lombardi was able to anticipate the blitz here, or at least a more favorable coverage, and called a play to one of the best athletes on the field in space.  This is also the play where the Lions first round pick hurdles the Bears first round pick, so it holds a special place in my heart!

    Next: Bucking a trend