How Alshon Jeffery emerged as a crucial piece of the Bears' offense
The first play is Jeffery's lone catch of the night. It's 1st and 10 at the Bears' 33-yard-line about six minutes into the second quarter. Jeffery is lined up to the right of the formation with both Marshall and Martellus Bennett split out to the left. That essentially forces three of the Giants defensive backs into man coverage. Here's the look at the start of the play.
Terrell Thomas' coverage on Jeffery isn't bad, but Cutler is one of the best in the league at putting the ball on the receiver's back shoulder. That's exactly what he does here. Jeffery makes the necessary adjustment and comes down with a 27-yard catch.
The first screenshot below is the start of the play. In the second, you can see Jeffery fighting through Thomas' hands. That's exactly what you should do when you're a 6-foot-3, 216-pound receiver. Getting through Thomas' hands-on coverage is what allows Jeffery to burn him deep. Unfortunately for the Bears, Jeffery, Cutler and their fantasy owners, Cutler overthrows him just a bit, as you can see in the final screenshot in the series.
The final play comes with just a little more than six minutes remaining in the game. The Bears lead 27-21 and have a 1st and 10 at their own 46-yard-line. We've seen this look before. Jeffery is out wide to the right with Bennett lined up as a traditional tight end on his side of the field. As he did most of the night, Jeffery draws man coverage from Thomas. He beats him off the line and gets through handfighting again to give Cutler a chance to hit him deep. This time, the missed connection is on Jeffery. He stumbled a bit, which threw off his timing. If he doesn't stumble, this is likely six points and effectively the end of the game.
Jeffery has become an integral part of the Bears' offense, which is firmly based around Cutler and the passing game. The Redskins have allowed 8.6 yards per attempt this season. Only the Packers have allowed more. You want to start Jeffery in nearly every situation, but you definitely want him in your lineup against Washington. He has WR1 potential this week.