I think I know why the Chicago Bears blow so many timeouts on offense:
Jay Cutler has to get the play from the guy on the sideline, but first, the guy on the sideline has to get it from Mike Martz in the booth, but before that, Martz has to get it from Mike Tice.
The game plan against Carolina on Sunday sure seemed like a Tice production. Run here, run there, run Matt Forte everywhere. Looked a lot like last season after the bye when Martz seemingly was ordered to stop being Martz.
Either that, or Martz had a spasm of lucidity: Let your most productive player produce.
Cutler should be the Bears’ most productive player, of course. They’re paying him like it. They paid for him like it. This is a quarterback’s league. But he’s all dressed up with no place to throw.
Until the Bears get an offensive line that pass-blocks reliably and until someone tells them what an actual receiver looks like, Cutler will be Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton or dead.
It’s an embarrassment from Ted Phillips on down to Jerry Angelo to Lovie Smith to Martz. Spend all that on a quarterback and then utterly and completely fail to get people to protect or play catch with him, all of which is made worse by a crazy coordinator who regularly refuses to put his players in a position to succeed. Which means the head coach has failed for the same reason. Which means the general manager has failed. Which means . . .
Which means Forte is the answer for now. And that raises another question: If Forte is the Bears’ most productive player and it was finally recognized and he was used as such, then why is Martz still around?
He doesn’t like running plays. It’s like doing homework or takingcough medicine. That game plan isn’t what he does or likes. That creates the likelihood that he will revert to his I’m-so-tricky-watch-this-pass-play DNA, and he’ll do it at the worst time just because that’s who he is.
On the off-chance that Martz was calling his own plays Sunday, he should’ve been sent to his room without dessert for that quarterback draw on the first drive.
It was third-and-goal from the Panthers’ 4, Forte had run crazy to get the Bears down there, and he called Cutler’s number. Not Forte’s. Not play-action. Not even Marion Barber, who was brought in for those kinds of battering runs.
No, Martz called the most-sacked-quarterback on a designed run on a 14-yard field. Why Martz wasn’t fired before the next commercial, I have no idea. I mean, does this guy have a bonus clause for quarterback hits?
And what was with the pass plays late in the game when sane people would try to run out the clock?
The Bears were up 27-23 with less than four minutes to go, Forte had just run for 20 yards and again for 4, and then Martz called two pass plays. The Bears had a quarterback playing like Bad Rex, they needed to run the clock to escape with a lucky win, and the interim offensive coordinator called two pass plays. Did the Panthers look like a team you had to trick?
And now the Bears get one of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. They’ve already lost to one of those teams, the Packers, and now they get the Lions, who are 4-0 because Matthew Stafford hasn’t suffered his annual season-ending injury.
The Lions mounted a record comeback from another 20-point-plus deficit, getting two touchdowns from Calvin Johnson and two on interception returns. Good reasons right there not to throw the ball and not to let Detroit on the field to throw it, either.
What’s more, when you include the 113 rushing yards the Cowboys picked up, the Bears have all the reasons they need to stick the ball in Forte’s gut behind a fullback lead again to stabilize an unstable offense.
But say this for the Bears: They aren’t leaving any timeouts on the field.