Rational Hope: Martz'd

Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley, Dan Quinn, Jerry Gray and Ken Norton Jr., but particularly Bradley, devised a game plan in week six that absolutely took apart Jay Cutler and the Bears passing attack. Seattle sacked Cutler six times, held him to a 43.6% completion percentage and turned one sack into a safety. The Seahawks did it with the Bandit package that's now a standard personnel grouping. Defensive backs Jordan Babineaux and Lawyer Milloy combined for 3.5 sacks. For all intents and purposes, Bradley and the Seahawks brain trust solved Mike Martz's offense surely as John Marshall and the 2005 Seahawks brain trust solved Dan Henning's Carolina Panthers offense.

If Martz were any other coordinator, I would anticipate wholesale changes in an attempt to avoid a repeat performance, but in the decade I have watched Martz coach, I have never seen him make major adjustments. He just seems too damn stubborn. He wants to pass it deep, he believes in passing it deep and believes sacks and interceptions are worthwhile trade offs in the pursuit of yards and touchdowns.

The results speak for themselves. The Bears field one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Cutler leads the league in sacks taken. After being sacked in only 1.8% of all pass attempts in 2008 as a Denver Bronco, and 5.9% as a Bear in 2009, Cutler was sacked in 10.7% of all attempts this season under Martz. And all that for a passing attack that's 4 of 14 on pass attempts over 31 yards, and 12 of 49 with five touchdowns and five interceptions on passes of 21 or more yards.

Martz's unwillingness to adjust his system to stop the Seahawks defensive back blitzes is particularly unconscionable when you consider Cutler was just that week returning from a concussion suffered against the Giants. Cutler was sacked nine times in 20 pass attempts by New York. It's as if Martz would rather endanger the career of a player the Bears traded two first-round picks, a third-round pick and Kyle Orton for than change his system. A system that hasn't worked with any team in over five years. A system that demands excellence from the team's offensive tackles, that is now being run through the worst pair of tackles in the NFL.

Seattle's brain trust debunked Martz's system in week six, and if they approached this weekend's game with the exact same game plan, there's good reason to think it would be just as effective. The Seahawks will not approach this weekend's game with the same game plan. They have tested the Bandit package and learned what it's best at. They have expanded Raheem Brock's role, and between Brock and Chris Clemons, Seattle can consistently pressure the edges without blitzing. Bradley and the Seahawks brain trust built a system that beat the Bears and have had 11 games to make it better.

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