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Mike Martz changes his stripes

Mike Martz

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz walks the sidelines during the second half of the Bears’ 23-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


The Bears coaching staff entered their bye week at 4-3, faced with one inescapable fact: The team simply couldn’t pass protect.

So they did what good coaches should do and they fit their scheme to their talent, rather than the other way around. Chicago’s offense since the bye has gone from wildly pass-heavy to run-heavy. Their passing game has focused more on quick throws than offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s preferred bombs down the field.

John Mullin of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago breaks down the numbers. In November, the Bears called 136 rushes and 121 pass plays. Only the Chargers ran on a higher percentage of run in November.

It’s easy to say the Bears won all four games, which leads to more rushing attempts. That helps, but Chicago has been very balanced in the first half of games, and they stuck with the run against the Vikings and Bills even when it wasn’t paying great dividends early.

Mullin also points out that the Bears were third in the league in third down conversions in November, after a truly abysmal start of the year. They have used a lot more quick passes instead of seven step drops, which protects the team’s offensive line.

Add it all up, and this just doesn’t look like a normal Mike Martz offense. Martz and Lovie Smith deserve credit for adjusting, because we think Chicago has played its best three games of the year in succession.