Greg Olsen hopes at least one myth about a Mike Martz-run offense now can be put to rest. His performance in Sunday’s 35-24 NFC divisional playoff win over Seattle went a long way in erasing any thoughts that Martz’s offense can’t utilize a pass-catching tight end — especially in big games. Olsen and Jay Cutler did their part in dispelling that notion during the victory, quickly and emphatically.
Greg Olsen hopes at least one myth about a Mike Martz-run offense now can be put to rest.
His performance in Sunday’s 35-24 NFC divisional playoff win over Seattle went a long way in erasing any thoughts that Martz’s offense can’t utilize a pass-catching tight end — especially in big games. Olsen and Jay Cutler did their part in dispelling that notion during the victory, quickly and emphatically.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it did feel good to get off to the fast start, and then have a couple of big plays later in the game,” Olsen said. “There’s no question it was a good feeling.”
Olsen caught a long touchdown pass from Cutler on the Bears’ first drive of the day, putting Seattle behind the rest of the way. Olsen finished with 113 receiving yards, the best playoff performance for a Chicago tight end in franchise history.
So was this enough to debunk the idea that an offense under Martz can’t (or won’t) feature a tight end?
“We’re not trying to debunk anything or prove any points. I’ve said from Day 1 that I’m happy to be a part of this offense,” Olsen said. “Everyone is all in. I think that’s a big reason why we’ve gotten this far.”
Still, it would be a hard argument to win anymore. Olsen was reportedly shopped around in the offseason after Martz was signed on to join the Bears. Instead, the team traded for blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, and Olsen was made into a movable part, setting up as a tight end, fullback and wideout as Martz implemented his offense.
Olsen was inconsistently good, putting up solid numbers – like his five-catch, 64-yard performance in Week 3 against the Packers – on some occasions, and not-so-good stats – like when he had one catch in four out of five games late in the season – on others.
He followed up his team-leading 60 receptions and eight TDs of a year ago with 38 catches and four touchdowns this regular season.
And then came Sunday.
“We hear a lot about not using our tight end; what about this,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. “Greg came out with a big touchdown pass right away, and throughout the day we felt like he could make a play anytime we got him the football.”
Cutler connected with Olsen for a 58-yard touchdown pass less than three minutes into Sunday’s playoff game, and they didn’t stop there.
“Olsen also caught a bunch of passes today,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.
No coach, it just seemed that way.
Olsen was targeted a team-high nine times, making only three grabs, but making the most of those three grabs. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end in a receiver’s body had catches of 58, 33 and 22 yards, for the first 100-yard receiving game of his four-year career. It was also the third most in Bears single-game postseason history.
“Some games it can be the receivers, the tight ends, the backs, whoever,” Olsen said. “This just happened to be my day.”
The Packers are at least wondering if he can do it again this weekend in the NFC Championship game. Cutler knows he can.
“I’ve been comfortable with Greg since I got here. He’s a really friendly target,” the second-year Bear QB said. “This is nothing new to me. A lot of teams try to take him away because they know how dangerous he is, and they know we like to get him vertical.
“It doesn’t always work, though.”
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or email@example.com.