Bears’ offense has a good idea and needs to run with it. I don’t know who kidnapped Mike Martz and took his place in the Carolina game last Sunday, but he needs to be promoted. The Bears had beat their collective heads into the turf, or rather opposing pass rushers had beat Jay Cutler into the turf, running pass play after pass play in their last two games against the Packers and Saints, but finally the Bears had a breakthrough on the ground rushing for 224 yards.
The main difference between those games and the Carolina game was that Martz came into the game looking to run the ball, and didn’t give up after the first play. In fact, the Bears entire first drive consisted of eight running plays and zero pass plays if you count Jay Cutler’s scramble as a run.
Running the ball and playing good defense has been the staple in Chicago for decades, and the current Bears team is built to play that way. Mike Martz has a history in Detroit and St. Louis for reviving passing games and paying little attention to running, but he has to work with what he has, which is an all-pro caliber running back in Matt Forte and a good run blocking offensive line.
The fact is that while dropping back in five and seven step drops and heaving the ball down the field may have worked when Kurt Warner was your quarterback and Torry Holt and Issac Bruce were your wide receivers, having those Hall of Fame caliber players at those positions tends to inflate the stats a bit. Let’s face it; no Bears fan in their right mind will say Jay Cutler is a Hall of Famer, but it isn’t his fault that the Bears offense is not succeeding.
Another very important component to Martz’s “greatest show on turf” offense was Orlando Pace, who was another Hall of Famer who helped anchor an offensive line that allowed deep pass plays to develop. The Bears may have drafted an Orlando Pace in Gabe Carimi, but Martz constantly shuffling the offensive line due to injury is preventing the line from establishing any continuity. This leads to poor protection, which, coupled with the Bears lacking Pro Bowl receivers much less Hall of Fame caliber wide receivers, creates a perfect storm to disrupt the Bears’ offense.
What is lost in all this is the fact that the Bears’ greatest offensive weapon is not being used, especially in games against elite quarterbacks. Martz tends to want to get into shootouts with top quarterbacks, which his offense just isn’t built for. It doesn’t always light up the scoreboard, but running the ball is the best way to compliment a good defense.