Skip to content

Lovie Smith needs to rein in Mike Martz’s play calling

Jay Cutler, Lovie Smith, Mike Martz Getty Images

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.

Permalink 47 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Chicago Bears, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
47 Responses to “Lovie Smith needs to rein in Mike Martz’s play calling”
  1. comeonnowguys says: Sep 20, 2011 2:10 PM

    Nearly every other time Cutler dropped back, he was hit, knocked down, hurried or sacked.

    He’s on pace to get sacked 88 times this year.

    That’s staggering.

  2. troybulletinboard says: Sep 20, 2011 2:10 PM

    Smith knows what’s up…. Martz will be pounding the rock this week, play action to where Collins normally is… maybe even get Marion Barber back.

  3. joelvis72 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:11 PM

    Good luck, Lovie, in reining in the “Mad Scientist” who spends hours in his secret lab creating innovative pass plays.

  4. nineroutsider says: Sep 20, 2011 2:14 PM

    It was only a matter of time…

  5. johnabis says: Sep 20, 2011 2:14 PM

    “Mike Martz called 52 passes and 11 runs.”

    Wow. And people think Andy Reid is bad at never running the ball

  6. kalispellmt says: Sep 20, 2011 2:15 PM

    Why don’t we just give the Packers our playbook?

  7. tenotnamedmiller says: Sep 20, 2011 2:17 PM

    Eye for an eye: for every sack Culter takes, Martz gets kicked in the balls. By Janikowski for some reason.

  8. chitownmike says: Sep 20, 2011 2:18 PM

    5 to 1 ratio pass to run is destined to lose…..everytime……..its a fact…..Sunday was the first time I actually felt sorry for Cutler in the pocket…..it was bad….should have put Hanie in there to finish it out….

  9. leftysmoke says: Sep 20, 2011 2:18 PM

    I’m a long time fan of this site, but it’s truly amazing that MDS gets paid for his contributions. Every one of his posts are virtually identical, with some type of pun or “last shot” at the end of every one. So annoying. The grammatical errors are ridiculous as well, although I see more from Rosenthal. I guess proof-reading isn’t practiced lol.

    As for the subject matter (which is obviously important), Lovie will get it straightened out.

  10. shaggytoodle says: Sep 20, 2011 2:21 PM

    GBs defense does give up lots yardage, but they have been able to force turnovers or come up with big plays on 4th down.

    I wouldn’t blame Martz for trying to throw on GB its quite apparent that it can be done.

    I just hope that Rodgers can keep scoring enough points to get the W.

  11. scudbot says: Sep 20, 2011 2:23 PM

    52 pass plays that produced a net of 186 yards. They hired Martz. What did they think they were going to get, 3.4 yards and a cloud of dust?

  12. blueintown says: Sep 20, 2011 2:24 PM

    This shouldn’t be an issue of run/pass ratio, as the Bears are a terrible run-blocking offensive line. You can run the ball forty times a game if you want, it’s not going to make a difference if you average -1.0 ypc. Like last year, this is a matter of getting rid of 7 or 9 or 79 step drops and being ready to get the ball out almost immediately to the hot read.

  13. mdd913 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:26 PM

    Stats are misleading. Martz didn’t abandon the run just because he got pass-happy, he abandoned it because it flat out wasn’t working.

    Forte had 60 yards on 12 carries. One of those carries went for 42 yards, and that was early in the first quarter. After that the Bears’ run game was completely shut down.

    If you want to blame Martz, that’s fine, but blame him for not making the proper adjustments to the game plan once it became clear the Bears were going to have to pass to keep up.

  14. dukemarc says: Sep 20, 2011 2:27 PM

    kalispellmt says: Sep 20, 2011 2:15 PM

    Why don’t we just give the Packers our playbook?
    ————————————–

    Yeah, that ought to be good for a laugh or two in Green Bay.

  15. techvet says: Sep 20, 2011 2:30 PM

    Martz will want to pass because Nick Collins is out for the year. Time for the Packers to tee off on Cutler.

  16. airraid77 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:30 PM

    somebody needs to reign in your misleading headlines………sort of like your poke at fox.

  17. cannonballdookie says: Sep 20, 2011 2:31 PM

    Running a pass happy offense is not a bad idea at all, but running one with the worst line in the league along with backup caliber WR’s vs a blitz happy D is a recipe for failure.

  18. tatatoothy says: Sep 20, 2011 2:31 PM

    Mike Martz philosophy:

    We Don’t Need No Stinken Tight Ends!

    To quote Boomer, “I know nothing! Nothing!”

  19. jpb12 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:34 PM

    Patriots beat the Rams in 2001 because Martz’ inability to adapt mid-game.

    He is not that bright.

  20. m2karateman says: Sep 20, 2011 2:37 PM

    As a Lions fan, I can tell you, the Martz playbook doesn’t include running in the second half of a football game. He would abandon the run in the second half when the Lions had the lead. His love of the pass game is fanatical. And his scheme is perfect. Just ask him and he’ll tell you so.

    And remember how when he left Detroit to go to San Francisco he stated that Detroit had no offensive tackles, and that’s why Jon Kitna got sacked so often? Those same tackles are still here, they’re older, and Stafford hasn’t been sacked once this season, and has barely been hit. But it was their fault, isn’t that right Mike?

    Good luck Lovie. But, you’ll never change Mike’s mind. You’re gonna have to fire him first. See you on October 10th.

  21. rpiotr01 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:41 PM

    Bears should go back to the run, but after playing the banged up and currently discombobulated Packers secondary. I’m a Packer fan and I have no doubts that the secondary will eventually get its act together this season, but you’d be nuts not to test this group while they’re still finding their way.

  22. koolbreeze7 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:43 PM

    Da SAINTS whooped dat @$%!!!!!! I was happy about it too!

  23. dino2997 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:44 PM

    blueintown and mdd913 are new to football clearly so let me help them out.

    A RB that averages 4.5 ypc doesn’t get 4.5 yards on every single carry. Even Adrian Peterson averages 3 ypc on 75% of his runs and then breaks 1 or 2 per game that lifts his average.

    Forte averages 4.5 ypc last year and also this year. Run blocking is not the problem.

  24. staffordsyear says: Sep 20, 2011 2:46 PM

    I’m sorry but mike martz hasn’t been relevant since bein the oc for the rams..he’s always been one dimensional and has never ran a balanced offense. I can attest to this bein a lions fan,ask the niners fans also, maybe it will work itself out in Chicago but I have my doubts..

  25. lrt79 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:49 PM

    mdd913 is partially right, the run wasn’t working. It almost never works for the Bears when they run it up the gut. Forte just isn’t that type of back, which is why they’ve brought in Taylor and Barber in consecutive years.

    The way to run Forte is get him outside and let him make some moves. The guy is a killer in the open field; there’s a reason after two weeks he is the RB with the most total yards from scrimmage.

    One can only hope that Martz doesn’t change so he gets fired and a sane offensive coordinator who isn’t in love with his own shadow can come in and start to clean things up a little bit.

  26. jutts says: Sep 20, 2011 2:49 PM

    The Bears problems run deeper than just Martz. It’s depth on the O-line and wide receivers. They don’t have the personell to make Martz’s system work. No audibles, are you kidding me. Cutler just might not make it to his next game in a dome….
    Week 5.

  27. madisonave99 says: Sep 20, 2011 2:51 PM

    Mike Martz has always been too busy basking in the non-existant glow of his alleged “genius” to care about running a balanced offensive attack. Cutler was sacked 55 times last season and is well on his way to that mark this year because of Martz’s cavalier attitude about offensivr playcalling and pass protections

  28. ducesblackshirt says: Sep 20, 2011 2:56 PM

    Going for it on 4th and 22 with a few minutes left in the game when you’re down 17 points and your QB has been getting killed is a bad idea? Dont tell the “genius” Martz that!

    The Bears lost that game on 2 plays. Cutler getting blindsided and fumbling deep in their own territory and the bomb to henderson.

    The sack was the fault of TE Kellen Davis, the guy who Martz had so much confidence in that they got rid of Greg Olsen. Martz likes big TE’s who can block, yet Davis has been a turnstile the past 2 games. But Martz is a genius, he should be able to handpick his TE’s because it worked so well last year with Brandon Manumaleuna who Martz wanted. Oops! He’s out of the league now, like Martz will be next year!

    The bomb to Henderson was the fault of Major Wright, who is about the 30th safety that Angelo has taken early in the draft and looks to be the 30th bust at safety that Angelo has taken early in the draft. I’m sure the 31st bad safety will be drafted early next year. But Angelo knows what he is doing, he said all offseason that the Bears WR’s were good, that’s why on Sunday their best WR was an undrafted free agent and Devin Hester is still a starter at WR. As long as Angelo is GM the Bears are going nowhere. Draft more safeties and DT’s who cant play you stupid bum.

  29. Rongar says: Sep 20, 2011 3:09 PM

    dukemarc says:
    Sep 20, 2011 2:27 PM
    kalispellmt says: Sep 20, 2011 2:15 PM

    Why don’t we just give the Packers our playbook?
    ————————————–

    Yeah, that ought to be good for a laugh or two in Green Bay.

    ————————————

    Well, at least it didn’t fall out of the back of a garbage truck…

    http://www.packergreen.com/green-bay-packers/packers-playbook-falls-off-garbage-truck/

  30. essentialsausage says: Sep 20, 2011 3:11 PM

    If history is a guide, Cutler will be sacked 100 times, get injured, and then people will call him a girl for not playing while injured.

  31. skippynj says: Sep 20, 2011 3:12 PM

    I thought Cutler was going to quit the NFL on Sunday. He did not want to go back in that game lat e in the 4th quarter after the pounding he took. Our D is pretty good but the O line of Chicago’s is awful.

  32. jpmelon says: Sep 20, 2011 3:13 PM

    The problem is that Cutler gets no protection…..I don’t understand the criticism of the imbalance….when you’re playing catchup, you need to pass more.

    I think Lovie needs to fix his O-line….it’s a much larger problem than the imbalance of running/passing plays.

  33. boisestatewhodat says: Sep 20, 2011 3:14 PM

    WHO DAT!!

  34. seanmmartin says: Sep 20, 2011 3:17 PM

    Maybe more amazing that the lack of runs called, is that the Bears knew who its OC was going into this season, yet DID NOT get a legitimate wide receiver through trade or the draft. AND they traded away Greg Olsen.

  35. mdd913 says: Sep 20, 2011 3:18 PM

    blueintown and mdd913 are new to football clearly so let me help them out.

    A RB that averages 4.5 ypc doesn’t get 4.5 yards on every single carry. Even Adrian Peterson averages 3 ypc on 75% of his runs and then breaks 1 or 2 per game that lifts his average.

    Forte averages 4.5 ypc last year and also this year. Run blocking is not the problem.

    ——————————————————

    It appears that you are the one new to football, so let me help you out.

    The goal of offense is not merely to score points. It is to move the ball down the field by making first downs.

    Getting less than two yards per carry (in this case, 1.6 yards per carry) for most of a game is not a good way to make first downs.

    Therefore, the Bears run game was ineffective.

  36. midwestguru says: Sep 20, 2011 3:35 PM

    a passing fetish doesnt help when your star Rookie tackle is having Marc Columbo surgery. Lance Lous is a bumb and the game is too big for J Webbs at this point. Now Jerry Angelo, does Jarred Gaither look to expensive or does Brian Williams look to fat?

    While im already hating let me ask this to the poeple who think Cutlers is a baby…..Could you go a season without blaming anyone or publicly crying while playing in the most complicated offense behind the worst offensive line with the worst wide reciever core in the NFL?

  37. m2karateman says: Sep 20, 2011 3:40 PM

    jpmelon says:
    Sep 20, 2011 3:13 PM
    The problem is that Cutler gets no protection…..I don’t understand the criticism of the imbalance….when you’re playing catchup, you need to pass more.

    I think Lovie needs to fix his O-line….it’s a much larger problem than the imbalance of running/passing plays.
    ———————————————————
    Did you not read the article? The Bears were within three points until late in the third quarter. Martz ran the ball 11 times the whole game.

    Did I miss something? Did the Bears spot the Saints 14 points before the coin toss or something?

    I agree that the offensive line needs to be fixed, and Lovie Smith took measures to do exactly that by selecting Gabe Carimi. Unfortunately, he’s lost for a few weeks due to injury. Besides, I’m not sure Lovie Smith’s opinion carries much weight in the Chicago War Room during the draft. It’s all about Angelo in there, I’m sure.

    You want to know what the issue is? $500,000. That’s it. The half million that Jerry Angelo refused to pay Olin Kreutz was perhaps THE dumbest single move by any team in the NFL during this past free agency period. Kreutz was the best lineman the team had, and he let Kreutz walk over a lousy half million.
    Incredibly.
    Stupid.
    Move.

  38. cosmicduster says: Sep 20, 2011 4:11 PM

    Cool story karate man. I like the part where you forgot that Kreutz was a turnstile the past three years.

  39. ducesblackshirt says: Sep 20, 2011 4:30 PM

    “I don’t understand the criticism of the imbalance”

    Bears were down 3 points with 10 minutes left in the 3rd and Martz had called 29 pass plays and 10 runs.

  40. spartytime says: Sep 20, 2011 4:40 PM

    The more important thing is, Jerry angelo and Time Ruskell should be FIRED NOW!!!

  41. cscfriarbob says: Sep 20, 2011 4:47 PM

    One run of 42 yards is good.

    Eight more runs in the first half that net SEVEN measly yards (an 0.875 yards-per-carry) are not.

    In the second half, there were two runs, one for no gain and one which lost a yard.

    The Saints aren’t a great run defense, but they are decent. And aside from one bad play where they got gashed, they stopped Forte cold pretty much all day long.

    Martz went away from the run because aside from one spectacularly good play, much of the rest of the time the effects were spectacularly bad.

    Not saying it was the right decision. It probably wasn’t. He should probably have tried another means, different formations, different plays, different runners, different linemen, something. But it was also a very understandable decision. The pass was working, to at least some degree, not spectacular but effective enough to sustain the drives. The run was spectacularly failing to sustain drives. Not an easy choice here.

  42. asublimeday says: Sep 20, 2011 5:35 PM

    And, no, cutler doesn’t worry about Duh. Unless hes worried about fat boy blowing the game with another stupid penalty.

  43. mdd913 says: Sep 20, 2011 6:41 PM

    Martz went away from the run because aside from one spectacularly good play, much of the rest of the time the effects were spectacularly bad.

    —————————————————-

    +1

    Martz gets a lot of well-deserved flack but this is not a case where Marshall Faulk is averaging 10 yards a carry and he forgets to give him the ball. This is a case where the Bears run game was producing absolutely NOTHING. What is he supposed to do? Keep running into a brick wall?

  44. mdd913 says: Sep 20, 2011 6:43 PM

    Did you not read the article? The Bears were within three points until late in the third quarter.

    ——————————————————
    Yes, and on the very next possesion the Saints marched right down the field and scored a TD. Now, all of a sudden the Bears are down by 10 and their run game hasn’t been remotely productive. 10 points might as well have been 50.

  45. lrt79 says: Sep 20, 2011 7:12 PM

    This is a case where the Bears run game was producing absolutely NOTHING. What is he supposed to do? Keep running into a brick wall?

    —————

    Here are Forte’s 9 runs in the first half. Notice a trend?

    1. up the middle for 1 yard
    2. right side for 42 yards
    3. up the middle for -4 yards
    4. right side for 4 yards
    5. up the middle for no gain
    6. up the middle for -1 yard
    7. up the middle for 8 yards
    8. up the middle for -1 yard
    9. left side for no gain

    Forte had 46 yards on 3 carries going outside, and 3 yards on six carries up the middle. It was either ignorance or arrogance on Martz’s part that made him ignore this.

  46. blueintown says: Sep 21, 2011 9:01 AM

    @dino2997 What the hell is your point? Are you suggesting the Bears offensive line excels at run blocking? Or that they are even an avergae run blocking line? If so, that is a direct contradiction to everyone who sees things. Try waking up before watching the next Bears game.

  47. effjohntaylornorelation says: Sep 21, 2011 9:13 PM

    Ownership need to rein Angelo and Lovie out of Chicago.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!