NFL plays are over in seconds, but you might not believe what goes on in players' heads in that short time. With that mind, RedEye brings takes you Inside the Helmet.
During the first quarter of Thursday's Bears-Packers game, both offenses were locked down. The Packers faced second-and-16 from the Bears 39 when Bears rookie Shea McClellin nabbed his first NFL sack, which he shared with third-year defensive end Corey Wootton. McClellin and Wootton tell the story of sacking Aaron Rodgers.
Corey Wootton: We had a "pirate" called, which is a stunt by myself and the defensive tackle. It's an inside stunt for both of us to go inside the gap. Shea had just a regular rush on the right side, and he had good pressure.
Shea McClellin: I wasn't involved in the line stunt. I have to wrap around and make sure the quarterback doesn't get through. I think it was second-and-long, so I'm thinking screen, draw, something like that. I get off the ball and just kind of give [the left tackle] a little head fake, and I dip my shoulder around the corner and I see Rodgers right there.
Wootton: I'm on the left end, Shea's on the right end, Henry Melton's the left defensive tackle, and [Amobi] Okoye is the right defensive tackle. Henry and myself stunt inside, Okoye comes outside around us for contain from the nose all the way to the outside, and then Shea just has a regular rush. He's a one-on-one against the guy. He beat him, and I was able to beat my guy as well.
McClellin: [Rodgers] actually almost slipped away, so it was good that Corey was there. I would have gotten him anyways, but Corey helped me out because I grabbed his jersey and he almost slipped away. I think one hand got away. But then I pulled him in and Corey was right there too.
Wootton: As I slanted in, there was a little crease in there. The coach always says "gap's going to open up," and it's a matter of one of us getting off because the guys slammed down on Henry. And I was able to push through my guy and get there.
So do you have an increase in heart rate when you get around the first wave of the line and then you realize "Here we go! There he is"?
McClellin: [Laughs.] It's kind of like your eyes get big, I guess. I wouldn't say an increased heart rate. You're thinking, "He's right there. Hopefully he doesn't throw this away." And fortunately it happened. I got to him.
Wootton: I knew we had him. Shea got to him first and I saw him there and got in on it too and was able to get half a sack.
The first half of the game, at least on TV, we were seeing a lot of sacks and then screaming from McClellin and Clay Matthews. Are you a yeller?
Wootton: Me? Not too much. I get excited after plays. After we had that play I got pretty excited. You got a couple seconds to celebrate and then you have to move on to the next snap.
McClellin: I'm a quiet guy right now, but on the field the intensity is up, and the emotion of the game gets you. So you kind of want to scream I guess. [Laughs.]
I like the idea that every play is a contained action, that that was your play, and until the next snap goes, Shea McClellin was the star of that play.
McClellin: I think it’s that way for everyone. You know, you make a good play, and that’s your play, and the next play you move on.
Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @readjack.
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