Bears vs Lions: Observations of a Mad Scientist


If Mad Scientists could have alter-egos, then the Bears’ offensive game plan against the Lions was Mad Martz’s version of Clark Kent.

Observations from the game:

1) First Down Performance – Just looking at Martz’s first down playcalling and the offense’s performance illustrated how erratic they were as a team. All of the following happened on first down:

  • 15 Rush Plays versus 17 Passes
  • Martz rushed more on first down in the second half (8 rushes vs 5 passes) than the first (7 rushes vs 12 passes) – demonstrating (I think, “wisely”) a conservative approach to the game (once it was apparent that Stafford wasn’t coming back in).
  • 7 of the First Down Rushing Plays netted no gain or negative yardage (not including 2 sacks) & 8 rushing plays netted positive yardage (not including two good scrambles by Cutler). Again, consistently inconsistent.
  • 10 of the 33 plays went for over 6 yards
  • 3 Penalties put us in 1st and long
  • 3 Fumbles happened on 1st down (2 after medium gains)

Some say that teams reflect their leadership. Hopefully Mad Martz’s unconventional mind isn’t creating havoc with the minds of his players!

2) Got everyone involved – From a playcalling perspective, I believe that Mad Martz accomplished some key things:

  • He did a nice job of keeping a balance in his playcalling – across the receivers and the RBs.
  • After a player fumbled the ball, Martz dialed that player’s number on the very next play, giving Forte and Olsen a chance to redeem themselves immediately after their mistake.
  • And, on first down at least, he seemed to keep the Lions somewhat off-balance, by continuing to rush the ball, even though they weren’t having great success with it overall.

3) No early checkdowns – Cutler did not throw to any of his RB’s until 10 seconds were left at the end of the 1st quarter, even though RB check downs were available most of the game. I believe this is an issue for Cutler; he doesn’t seem to “see” his outlet options. Martz picked up on this (I believe) and started calling screens.

4) Running to the Right Side Failed – The Bears tried multiple attempts to pick up short yardage by going to the right side where Louis and Omiyale got “blowed up” every time but once. Were they afraid of Vanden Bosch… or Chris Williams on the left side? It was so bad that when they tried to pull Kreutz on a RB sweep to the right, Olin wasn’t able to get out front because he got caught up by the bull rush of the DT.

5) Surprise Call of the Day – Left Side Sweep with under two minutes in the game. Great call, gained 10 yards and caught the Lions defense napping.

6) Things that make you go “WTF?” – On 3rd and 1 on the goal line (before Lovie’s infamous “go for the loss on 4th down” call), the Bears tried to run once again to the right side and pulled a guard. With 7 men lined up on defense, they thought pulling a guard on the goal line was a good idea? The right guard no less. WTF?

7) Mad Genius Strikes – The final touchdown play was straight outta Marshall Faulk’s list of special plays. Forte lined up as a flanker, did a quick out and up, and streaked down the sideline outrunning the linebacker trying to cover him. First time they used that formation all game.