NEWS

Quick Shots: Bears pass better, but first love remains the run

Matt Trowbridge

In the last three weeks, Kyle Orton has:

Thrown three touchdown passes in the first half of a win over Philadelphia.

Passed for 334 yards in a rout of Detroit.

Thrown 17 passes in 18 plays to lead two late scoring drives that gave Chicago a lead over Atlanta with 11 seconds to play.

So, will the Bears ever call themselves a passing team?

"No," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "Lovie wouldn’t like it if I said that. No."

The best these throwback Bears can seem to hope for in this modern NFL is a compromise.

"We’re a running football team," coach Lovie Smith said. "We get off the bus running the ball. But if we have to pass, we can pass. How is that?"

It’ll have to do. It would work far better if the Bears passed to open up the run, but except for small doses — three quick passes led to a game-opening touchdown against Philadelphia — the Bears will likely do it backward, only turning to the pass after failing to run.

Bears coaches best of bad lot

If Bears coaches seem stubborn at times, take a look around the NFL. No one shows less imagination than your average football coach. The Colts and Eagles fail running up the middle on fourth-and-1 just as much as the Bears.

Indeed, if the Bears win the NFC North, it’ll be because they have the best coaches and front office in the division. The Lions are, well, the Lions. The Packers butchered the Brett Favre situation and have two rookies behind injury-prone quarterback Aaron Rodgers. And the Vikings mortgaged their future for a defensive end, yet tied their offense to ultra-raw QB Tarvaris Jackson and 37-year-old journeyman Gus Frerotte. Also, coach Brad Childress punted while trailing by 13 points with no timeouts and just over two minutes left in a loss to Tennessee, saying he thought Minnesota would get the ball back. The Titans easily ran out the clock.

Red Sox invigorate playoffs

The Red Sox might have revived interest in the baseball playoffs, which seemed to die when the Cubs went out so meekly. Tampa Bay making the World Series might make for a great story, but the Rays have no fans nationally. They barely have any in Tampa Bay. If they want to make more fans, they need more time on stage.

The Red Sox just gave them that by rallying from a 7-0 deficit after six innings for an 8-7 win to avoid elimination. Boston rallied from a three games to none deficit to beat the Yankees and win its first World Series in 86 years. It came from 3-1 down against Cleveland to go on and win its second. Now another rally.

That’s the type of theater baseball needed in a long and boring postseason. Too many off days destroy fan enthusiasm and change the game. Baseball teams need pitching depth because they play every day during the season. In the playoffs, NL champ Philadelphia can throw Cole Hammels two games in a row.

Bulls should make playoffs

Why is everyone so pessimistic about the Bulls' chances? This is virtually the same team that everyone thought would win 50 games last year. Except they’ve added Derrick Rose, their most-hyped rookie since Michael Jordan. The Bulls should win 45 to 50 games.

Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 ormtrowbridge@rrstar.com.