I’ll never understand the silliness of NFL “gurus.” You know, the guys that are supposed to know more than you and I and anyone else involved in the game?
They’re the guys who get jobs based on their brilliance in their designed field of offense or defense because they seem to make the right calls with the right personnel and everything seems to work.
Think about all of the “geniuses” that have gotten head coaching jobs based on their repertoire; Bill Belichick, defensive guru, Brian Billick, QB guru, Mike Shanahan, QB genius and last but not least Mike Martz, offensive genius. Have these men had success? Absolutely. However, more times than not their success at the head coaching position is due to players on the other side of the ball and in recent years their genius has come into question, especially Martz.
After the Bears loss to the Packers on Sunday you may see why.
The Bears looked dreadful on offense through three quarters unable to move the ball past Green Bay’s defense. There was no flow, no ability to move the ball especially through the air. Martz had changed his philosophy on offense with this team because midway through the season it was apparent that their line couldn’t protect Jay Cutler and that they didn’t have the receivers to run his vertical attack.
(And all it took was a nine sack first-half against the New York Giants that concussed QB Jay Cutler and cost them a game to figure it out. Just saying.)
Martz stuck with the ground game and the short passing game because Matt Forte was his most reliable playmaker and it worked.
The Bears were a much different team relying on controlling the line of scrimmage and their defense to win games while limiting their mistakes.
This philosophy carried the Bears to a NFC North title and a number two seed in the playoffs and to the NFC title game. So with it working so well and the Bears winning ball games why did Martz go back to his old “Greatest show on Turf” days and go vertical again today against the Packers dominant pass rush? I’m sure the Bear faithful and Lovie Smith would like to know as well.
The run game disappeared as the Bears decided to test the Packers stellar secondary and it failed. The Bears were blanked through three quarters, had less than 150 yards of total offense and Forte had little impact on the ground. Sure you could blame some of their woes on the fact that Cutler was injured before the end of the first half and didn’t return, but before he left the Bears looked clueless on offense.
Speaking of the quarterback play give third-stringer Caleb Hanie credit for the way he played under duress and to Smith for putting him in their under the circumstances of the game (Cutler’s injury and Todd Collins looking like Phil Collins) and trusting him. Hanie showed great poise late in the game giving the Bears a shot to win in the end even though he finished with two picks.
Hanie’s play mixed with the fact that the Bears finally went back to the run game got them back into the game late and set up their final drive with under three minutes left.
Hanie used Forte throughout his fourth quarter stint as his favorite weapon checking down three of four times for large gains including twice on this drive. Then on a third & three with close to a minute left the Bears called timeout to setup a play and the result left me wondering why in the world would that have been called in any situation anywhere.
They called an end around on third & 3 with one minute left deep in Green Bay territory… I’m not a Bears fan but I was mad as hell.
A reverse, with your season on the line and two downs left was about as idiotic a play as you can call. It was worse than the Forte halfback pass last week against Seattle. The play lost two yards and forced a bad fourth down throw from Hanie, which was then intercepted. Game over, have a good night.
After Chicago fought back from such a poor start and whose defense played so well and kept them in it with two picks of Aaron Rodgers, that was the sequence that ended their season. I would be ticked.
Martz’s genius and gimmick play calling cost the Bears a shot at playing in the Super Bowl. Not Jay Cutler, not their backup quarterback, not Aaron Rodgers, the brain child of the vertical passing game that took St. Louis to the top but has bottomed out since.
His game plan put them in a hole and his play calling killed them.
Don’t get me wrong, Green Bay won this game and deserved to play in the Super Bowl. They just got one big assist from one of those great NFL gurus.