Once panned, Bears’ O-line driving a stellar run game

The Bears had lined up in I-formation for their first offensive play of the second half Sunday when they saw Texans linebacker Blake Cashman creep toward the line of scrimmage. That triggered the Bears’ offensive linemen to change their blocking assignments — a blitz was coming to the strong side.

Center Sam Mustipher snapped the ball and took three steps forward, toward his right. Texans defensive lineman Roy Lopez went the other way — around Mustipher, to his left. Mustipher put his right foot in the Soldier Field turf and pirouetted Lopez’s way, turning his shoulders as if he was letting someone pass him in a crowded hallway.

Lopez was five yards into the Bears’ backfield, but Mustipher had him sealed off from running back Khalil Herbert.

The crease was open.

“When you can win at center against the [defensive tackle], it does cut the defense in half,” Mustipher said Thursday.

Herbert took a toss right and followed fullback Khari Blasingame toward the hole between right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom.

The defense overplayed the ball. Herbert cut back and into the crease, running behind left guard Cody Whitehair, who’d sprinted to the opposite hash to block to block linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, and Blasingame, who took on safety Jalen Pitre.

No one touched Herbert for 15 yards, and even then, it was a weak dive by a safety while wide receiver Darnell Mooney shoved cornerback Steven Nelson…

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Patrick Finley

Patrick Finley

Chicago Sun TImes

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Covering #Bears & #NFL for @SunTimes. Host, Halas Intrigue podcast: https://t.co/bKHLzyaQNl. #Depaul adjunct, #Mizzou grad, dad, husband, identical twin