I originally titled this post, Mike Martz; Offensive Genius, but I thought that would be dripping with way too much sarcasm. So anyway... Apparently the game hasn't passed Mike Martz by. He does now how to scale back on the deep drops, and he is aware that the occasional chip on defensive ends can only be a positive for the health of his quarterback. And evidently he got the memo that the first rule in executing a successful pass play is to protect the passer. As ticked off as I was last week with his play calling, I was equally impressed with his game plan this week.
Leaving his tight ends in to help out, instead of leaving them on an island was a good start. It's just too tough a block to expect tight ends to make on a consistent basis. If you have a young tight end in college that is a great pass blocker, that kid will be instructed to bulk up and move to tackle. In the NFL there is more value on a left tackle than on a block first tight end.
On the play action pass to Devin Hester for the TD, Bears TE Matt Spaeth did a great job blocking Viking DE Jared Allen. The fake caused Allen to react, Spaeth moved his feet and washed Allen inside. It was textbook. Only releasing 2 receivers into the play is ok with me too. It's not like the Vikings know only 2 receivers will be running around, so even though they have more defenders in coverage, it's not like they'll be able to bracket each Bears receiver. The defense has to play it honest to make sure the offense isn't going to leak out a receiver into the flat or hook him over the middle.
I thought Lance Louis, who was making his first professional start at right tackle, did a fine job in pass protection, and by having the DE's chipped and redirected just a little bit really helped his blocking angles. On the left side J'Marcus Webb really benefited from the occasional chip too. It prevented the wide speed rush and it let him get his hands on the defender.
An early commitment to the run also helped slow down the pass rush. Let the Bears big guys attack the defensive line and lean on them. I thought Matt Forte looked as quick as I've ever seen him. He's really running with confidence right now. I think knowing he'll get his fair amount of touches has him running with a little swagger. He's keeping his shoulders square and looking to shoot through the first cutback lane that opens up.
Jay Cutler was vocal last week about the offense and the deep drops in particular, and good for him. I'm surprised it took him this long to pipe up with the beating he's taking. I also found it interesting that in his post game comments, he made a point to say that they did a great job in sticking with the game plan. Was Martz diverting away from the plan during games? I don't think we'll ever know, but it's obvious the type of football the Bears have to play on offense to be successful, and it's obvious that Martz can do it. When he wants to. The question remains to be seen, if he'll actually want to keep it up.
Last night I went back to the tape to see the context of the possible F-Bomb that Cutler dropped. I have no doubt it was directed at Martz, the Bears were driving and Martz went real conservative and called the draw on 3rd down. Cutler didn't like it. He had the snide glare towards the sideline, followed by the little shake of the head. I like the fire from Cutler, and I like that he shot one off to the sidelines when he did. It shows he has supreme confidence in himself and his offense to go down and get another TD. Those are the little things that take place that endears him to his teammates.