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Lack of balance in Martz’s play-calling not benefiting Bears’ offense

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Dan Parr
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Posted Oct. 18, 2010 @ 2:30 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Heading into Sunday's game vs. the Seahawks, many people were questioning how good the Bears were, despite their 4-1 record. Maybe it all went to the team's head, because it played like one questioning its own ability, losing 23-20 at home.

The problems that have plagued the Bears' offense all season — poor pass protection and a lack balance between the running and passing game — figured in its demise Sunday.

Chicago was for 0-for-12 on third-down conversion attempts and was held to 61 yards rushing. Cutler was sacked six times. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called 47 pass plays and only 12 running plays (two of the pass plays resulted in Cutler scrambles).

The PFW Spin

Lovie Smith didn't add much insight when he tried to explain what happened to the rushing attack after the game.

"There was an emphasis to run the ball," he said. "We tried to run the ball a little bit, couldn't do that. It's not as simple as you look at what happened the week before and you just say 'let's do that every time' it's a little bit more than that."

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Bears should be able to run for more than 200 yards every week, as they did against the Panthers in Week Five. Running the ball more than 12 times in a game in which they never trailed by more than 10 points? That's not an unreasonable expectation.

"We didn't get a lot done with the running game today. Last week we got something going early with the running game which allows you to do it a little bit more," Smith said. "But again, today, yeah, after getting beat like that, I wish we had run it a little bit more. Then maybe we could have got a little more production from Matt (Forté), but on a day like today I don't know."

I don't know, either. I'd like to give Martz the benefit of the doubt. He knows a lot more about running an offense than I do. But it's puzzling as to why he can't bring himself to call more running plays when Cutler is in the game. The Bears have dropped back to pass 164 times compared to 89 runs in the 4½ games in which Cutler has played.

It's proving to be a dangerous strategy and one that doesn't appear to be benefiting anyone except the opposition at this point.

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