In Sunday’s loss to the Saints, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz called 52 passes and 11 runs. Bears coach Lovie Smith says that’s a problem.
“I know the balance as far as run/pass wasn’t there,” Smith said. “All I can say is we’ll get it better. We can’t win football games with that kind of balance.”
Smith and Martz are old friends, and Smith feels a lot of loyalty to Martz because Martz gave Smith his first opportunity to be a defensive coordinator in St. Louis. So as long as Smith is the head coach in Chicago, Martz’s job as offensive coordinator is probably safe.
But it’s clear that Smith realizes Martz can go overboard in his love of the passing game. On Sunday the Saints were selling out to blitz Jay Cutler, sacking him six times and hitting him as he passed several more times. Mixing in some draws to Matt Forte would have, if nothing else, kept the Saints’ defense honest.
And it’s not like the Bears only got pass-happy because they fell behind. Although the final score was 30-13, the Bears were within three points midway through the third quarter, and the game only got out of hand in the fourth quarter — long after Martz had abandoned the running game.
The Bears’ most effective drive on Sunday came in the first quarter, when Forte got things started with a 42-yard run and the Bears mixed runs and passes on the way to going 87 yards in 11 plays and getting in the end zone for the only time on the day. It makes no sense that after that drive, the Bears only ran five more handoffs for the entire game.
Smith is right: The Bears aren’t going to win many games when they call 52 passes and 11 runs. If Martz doesn’t realize that, the Bears have a problem.