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Overreliance on passing game setting Bears up to fail

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Oct. 25, 2010 @ 6:33 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Bears head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Martz talked about the need to be more balanced on offense after last week's loss to the Seahawks.

Perhaps they were just humoring their critics.

Despite never trailing by more than three points in Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Redskins, the Bears ran 44 pass plays compared to just 16 rushes, and only six of those runs came in the first half.

RBs Matt Forté and Chester Taylor weren't dominant, but they were productive, running 13 times for 61 yards (4.7 yards per carry). QB Jay Cutler, on the other hand, threw four interceptions to CB DeAngelo Hall, including one that was returned 92 yards for a touchdown, and Cutler was sacked four times.

The Bears now have a 2-9 record in games in which Cutler throws 36 passes or more. They are 0-8 when he throws more than one interception in a game.

The PFW Spin

There were suspicions heading into the season that the Bears didn't have the personnel necessary on the offensive line and at wide receiver to effectively run the pass-heavy attack Martz has long favored.

Martz disagreed with the doubters, and it looked like the Bears might prove those skeptics wrong early in the season, but the offense has regressed with Cutler under center since the Week Four loss to the Giants.

Cutler heard the boos and the insults from fans as he walked off the field Sunday. He'll get criticized heavily by the media, and deservedly so.

The Bears have problems throughout their offense, though. While Cutler was at fault Sunday, the offensive line has been the main culprit at times and this receiving corps has been far from mistake-free.

With a bye in Week Eight, this offense will spend time trying to figure out how to avoid repeating mistakes before traveling to Toronto to face the winless Bills in Week Nine.

But Martz has had seven weeks and an entire offseason to learn his personnel and modify his game plan to better suit the players and it doesn't seem like he has figured it all out.

It's hard to imagine him doing things much differently after the bye.

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