Observations of a Mad Scientist (Pack Mobs the Bears)

The legend of the Mad Scientist doesn’t end well for the Mad Scientist (nor for his re-animated creation for that matter). But you have to ask yourself: how does a Mad Scientist with a larger-than-life monster lose to a common group of local peasants? Unfortunately, very easily. All it takes is a really large mob.

The Packers learned from the mistakes of the Jets, and blitzed non-stop. And the Bears didn’t do themselves any favors by putting themselves in obvious passing situations throughout the game; and then by actually passing once they found themselves in those obvious passing situations.

As a die-hard Bears fan, I am unable to stomach the loss of this game. We lost this game because Mike Martz failed to adjust to the defensive scheme of the Packers. We lost because Johnny Knox proved to be more like a gazelle, with incredible speed but no strength to fight off bump coverage. We lost because Jay Cutler gets nervous when he gets hit, and when he’s nervous, he loses the accuracy of his throws even when he doesn’t get hit. And, I believe, we lost primarily because Mike Martz wanted to experiment some more. Mike Martz wanted to see if he could push his passing schemes down the field against a 3-4, non-Cover-2 defense. He’s lucky Jay Cutler survived. 

Stories of the Game:

1) Return of Mr. Hyde #1 – Mad Mike Martz returned to his pre-bye form, over-emphasizing the pass, ignoring Forte’s success rushing the ball, and putting the offense in 3rd and long situations where the passing game faltered:

  • First Series: 3rd and 7 starts with a delay of game penalty on the THIRD play of the game and forces the Bears into a 3rd and 12 situation. Dump off pass to Forte nets 9 yards.
  • Second Series: Failed screen attempt, followed by a near-interception over the middle forces a 3rd and 10. Crossing pattern to Davis nets 6 yards.
  • Third Series: Back to back handoffs to Forte net 25 and 23 yards. Taylor comes in to spell Forte, rushes for 2, an incomplete pass on 2nd down forces Bears into 3rd and 8. Cutler comes back from a timeout to see a 6-man blitz, resulting in a sack.
  • Fourth Series: Completed slant pass goes for 21 yards. First down screen nets 3 yards followed by a handoff to Forte for 5. Third and two, Martz calls a pass, JC scrambles for his life but is able to dump the ball to Forte who gains their first third down conversion.
  • Do you see a pattern? The Bears converted 4 of 6 third downs of less than 7 yards. They converted 1 of 10 third downs of 8 yards of more. In the first half, the Bears needed 6 yards on average and converted only 1 of them. In the second half, the Bears AVERAGED 10 yards on third down and were still able to convert 4 of them. But three of those 4 were less than 7 yards.
  • Despite having third downs of 2, 3, 1, 1, 4 and 6 yards, the Bears ONLY passed on 3rd down. That’s right! The Bears did not attempt to rush for a third down ALL GAME!

2) Return of Mr. Hyde #2

  • Before the bye, in the first 5 full games that Jay finished (not counting the half-game against the Giants or the Carolina game where he sat out), JC averaged 34 pass attempts per game. In those games, the Bears averaged 20 points per game.
  • In the last 5 games prior to the Green Bay game, JC averaged 24 pass attempts per game. The Bears averaged 28 points a game (including the shellacking by New England).
  • If you look at the Bears performance when Jay Cutler throws more than 29 passes, the Bears average 21.5 points per game. When JC throws less than 29 times, the Bears average 25.1 points per game.
  • How many times did JC throw in the Packer game? 39 times.
  • They scored 3 points.

3) YTF! (YTF = Why? + WTF)

  • Lovie calls a timeout that erases a 15 yard gain on 3rd and 15. My only question is: YTF is Lovie calling a timeout for the Offense!?! Isn’t Lovie a Defense Guy? And wouldn’t Martz call the timeout if he felt the formation error was going to hurt them?!?
  • A delay of game penalty on the first third down of the game!!! Honestly, Martz! YTF aren’t you scripting AT LEAST the first THREE PLAYS OF THE GAME!!!
  • Congratulations to Matt Forte for passing 1000 yards this season! Matt has had a fantastic year. Without his performance, we would be worse than the Lions and Jay Cutler would be in a coma. YTF did we only run him 15 times? The 18 combined rushes between Taylor and Forte is the lowest rush attempts since the bye (not including the Pats game).

4) Mad Genius Strikes:

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night, I was so pissed off that the Bears lost a winnable game. I was (and still am FURIOUS) that Mike Martz allowed this game to get away from us. But… after looking at the stats, especially at JC’s number of passing attempts, and after reviewing the running play calls, I think I understand what Mad Martz did this week, which is why I am summarizing this game under the heading, “Mad Genius Strikes”.

Mike Martz doesn’t give a damn about the rivalry between the Packers and the Bears. He doesn’t give a damn that Lovie claimed his number one goal was to beat the Packers. Mad Mike Martz only cares about one thing: To WIN in the playoffs.

I think that Mike Martz approached this game as an exhibition game.

  • This was the second most pass attempts that JC has thrown all year.
  • This was the fewest rushes by Taylor and Forte combined since the bye (not including the Pats game).
  • This was not an accident.

I believe that Mike Martz wanted to prepare Jay Cutler for the defensive pressure he will see in the playoffs.  I believe Mike Martz wanted to prevent his team from showing anything new or tipping their hand on formations they might run in the playoffs; other than the obvious deep drops that everyone already expects of him. I believe Mike Martz WANTS to see the Packers in Chicago in two weeks. But, most importantly, I believe Mike Martz want his team to get to the Super Bowl.

After an entire season of observing him, I think Mike Martz is THE most innovative offensive coordinator the Bears have ever had. He has proven to me that he can learn from his mistakes. He has learned to use a more controlled offensive play scheme emphasizing the run as much as the pass. He has learned how to use players who would not normally fit into his schemes (Olsen, Bennett, and even Forte). He has minimized the use of players who have not performed well (Aromashadu, Schaeffer and Taylor). And he adapted his offensive approach to fit the abilities of his players.

I think Mike Martz acted like “an adult”. I think he approached the game on Sunday and said “what is our number one priority really?”!

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he really hoped to turn Sunday’s game into a shootout. Or, maybe he was test-driving them to see if they could go back to his preferred style of play. Or, maybe he just reverted back to his Mr. Hyde-self and let is offensive passions run wild. Even if any of that were true, he would have to be an idiot to see what happened on Sunday, and think for a moment that this offense can win in a shootout. It can’t and he knows this.

The Bears are a formula based team, on offense now as they are on defense. Stay within the formula and we have a very good chance of winning. Stray from it, and well, we could be one and done. But, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Bears are healthy, their defense is experienced in big games, and I believe, that in two weeks time, we’re going to see a lot of points by this Bears offense.

There’s “Madness” and then there’s “Genius”. In two weeks, Mad Mike Martz gets the chance to show everyone which word describes him best.

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