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Why it Worked, Week 15: Ty Montgomery breaks loose against Bears

Ty Montgomery put together a breakout performance against the Bears in week 15. Let’s take a closer look.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Unless you’ve been living on MARS eating poo-tatoes for the past week, you’ve probably heard about Ty Montgomery’s performance this past Sunday against the Chicago Bears. The new Packers wunderkind ran around, over, and through the Bears defense on Saturday to the tune of 162 yards on the ground, with 96% of those yards coming after making contact with a defender.

While I urge caution to widespread overreaction based upon one game’s final stat line, I do have hope that Montgomery will be able to keep it up.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of his better runs on the day.

Run 1: 1st quarter, 4 yard TD

The play looks dead right after the snap. The defense reads the play well, and seems to have Montgomery bottled up in the backfield. In front of him, Montgomery sees three defenders and only one blocker, Jordy Nelson.

Instead of running into a defender hoping to push forward for a yard, Montgomery diagnoses an alternate route and turns on the jets, beating the cornerback to the outside.

The most impressive part of this play, however, isn’t bouncing the run to the outside; it’s the stiff-arm that Monty throws. Stiff-arms are probably my favorite move for a ball carrier to use; what’s more disrespectful than throwing your arm into a person’s face, preventing them from laying a hand on you? The key to a great stiff-arm isn’t having arms that can curl a small car, but the ability to run at full speed while performing the move.

Seamless. That’s a running back move.

Run 2: Second quarter, 61 yards

Another run seemingly stuffed in the backfield, only to be turned into the longest run by a Packer in 2016.

Schematically, the play should have worked well; Montgomery was to follow Lang through the hole off-tackle and get into the second level.

Unfortunately, Corey Linsley gets beat across his face by #96, Akiem Hicks, whose penetration forces Montgomery to improvise and find an alternate route.

What happens next is another encouraging sign for Montgomery as a running back; a showcase of elusiveness. Montgomery somehow manages to wriggle and slip by the diving tackles of two defenders, leaving a path of strewn bodies behind him. Before he’s completely shaken off the second attempted tackler, Montgomery is already planning his path by reading the block of Nelson and the double team by T.J. Lang and David Bakhtiari.

Out in the open field, Montgomery caused more diving than a kick to the shins in a soccer match. He again uses the stiff-arm to ward off a diving defender, maintaining full speed and picking up chunk yardage.

Run 3: Second quarter, 36 yards

This playcall caught the Bears defense cheating just like it was designed to. In the two-minute drill, defenses expect to see passes coming their way. But with two timeouts, the ball near midfield, and a running back that had already gashed the defense for big yardage, the Packers had plenty of time to try and run the ball.

The Bears come out in a nickel formation; two linebackers in the box with four down linemen. That leaves 5 blockers versus 6 defenders reading run-pass; except, one of the linebackers is reading pass first. Watch the left side of the video here:

#53, John Timu, takes off in the opposite direction of the play as soon as the ball is snapped. Instead of reading the play inside-out, his eyes are fixed on Jared Cook (presumably because he is matched up in man coverage), who flares to the outside. This leaves 5 defenders and 5 lineman; advantage Green Bay. Montgomery easily gets to the second level, again picking up chunk yardage.

The last part of this run is what is getting people excited for our run game; Montgomery seems to fight off every would-be tackler like they just insulted his saint of a mother.

While I worry about small sample size, his injury history, and possible fumbling issues (Chicago repeatedly attempted to strip the ball, and Montgomery didn’t cover the ball well when being tackled) this game gave Green Bay Packer fans a glimmer of hope for an otherwise defunct running game. Now let’s talk about that jersey number...

If there are other plays, players or schemes you would like to see covered by Bob in his film breakdowns, leave a comment below!