Mike Martz and Lovie Smith don't know what all the fuss is about when it comes to Calvin Johnson's touchdown catch that wasn't a touchdown catch.
The Bears coach and offensive coordinator appeared on WBBM's (AM 780) "Bears Insider" Show on Monday night and said there was never any doubt in their minds that Johnson's leaping catch with 25 seconds left in Sunday's 19-14 win over the Lions was not a catch.
"That rule has been in effect for quite some time," Martz told host Jeff Joniak. "It's the only way for an official to evaluate a catch or not. Otherwise, it's just shades of gray -- did he catch or did he not catch It? It's impossible to officiate a game without a clear-cut rule like that. And that rule is not going to change."
"Cut and dried," Smith interjected. "The officials were in agreement right away. Everybody who really counts and knows what's going on were in agreement."
The Bears failure to score on four straight plays from the Lions' 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter drew loud boos from the Soldier Field crowd. It wasn't the first time it happened in the game, either. The Bears had a third-and-goal from the 1 on their first drive and Forte ended up losing a yard. Robbie Gould kicked a 20-yard field goal.
"It was just execution and preparation," Martz said of the failure. "They were a little bit different on the goal line in what they did by structure and we should've from a coaching standpoint spent more time going over if-they-did-this-we-do-that kind of thing. They did a nice job down there. We just didn't execute some things that we could've and should've. We have to clean that up and we will.
"That leaves a bad taste in your mouth no matter what happens. When you get down to the 1-yard line you want to be able to punch that thing in."
Martz said the idea is to do for Matt Forte what he did for Marshall Faulk when he was coaching the Rams, and that means using him as a receiver as much as a running back, which is what Forte did on Sunday when he had seven catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, including a twisting, 28-yard game-winner with 1:32 left.
"I don't think there's any question about it. Matt as a receiver is very unique, his ability to change direction and adjust to defenders. We can all see his speed. He's a very difficult guy for guys to match up [with]. I don't care if its a safety or linebacker. We can put him out there against a corner and he'll do well.
Martz was also asked whether calling Cutler out as often as he did was planned or whether the result of an in-game adjustment. Martz said it "just kind of came out that way." The one thing he wanted to do against the Lions was run lots of screen passes, which he did with great success. Forte's 89-yard catch and run came on a screen.
"You're obviously very excited with a win and happy with it and then reality sets in and you look at the details and there's always things to fix and complain about," Martz said. "All in all the effort was outstanding. We were a little nervous in the very beginning. We weren't real sure of ourselves and then we settled in."
Martz said he thought the offensive line, which allowed four sacks and seven quarterback hits, improved as the game went on.
"There are some things we have to clean up, obviously," he said. "We have to protect the football. You're not going to win games like that turning the ball over the way we did."
Smith was as optimistic as ever, saying the positives outweighed the negatives after an uneven performance.
"Look at all the weapons we have," he said. "Just think about when we tighten up a few things how good we could be."