Commentary

Chicago Bears more than defense

While the Chicago D gets much of the credit, Cutler & Co. are getting the job done

Updated: December 18, 2010, 10:55 AM ET
By Ned Macey | Football Outsiders
Mike Martz and Jay CutlerJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesMike Martz has found a way to make Jay Cutler and the Bears' offense effective.

Coming off a disappointing 2009 campaign, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith fired his offensive coordinator, Ron Turner. Smith was at a crossroads, entering the final year of his contract and desperate to return to the playoffs. A month-long search ensued, with multiple people rejecting the position. In the end, Smith was forced to reunite with Mike Martz. In 2001, Martz was the head coach and Smith the defensive coordinator on the St. Louis Rams Super Bowl team. Martz's deep-passing offense seemed a poor fit for the poor Bears offensive line, but the Bears are a surprising 9-4 and in control of the NFC North.

In truth, the Bears' success has largely resulted from a return to health on defense, particularly the return of star linebacker Brian Urlacher. The defense, plus some good fortune, has carried the Bears to their impressive record. Still, excepting last week's throttling at the hands of the red-hot New England Patriots and the Todd Collins/Caleb Hanie disaster of Week 5, the Bears have made significant strides offensively through the season. The Bears' increased success is a result of the famously stubborn Martz showing and working with the talent he has.


To read how the Bears' offense has evolved since its early season struggles, and why the Bears will have an easy time with the Vikings on Monday night, you must be an ESPN Insider.