From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning will get a chance to be teammates after all -- at Sunday's Pro Bowl.Luck earned his way to the game when New England's Tom Brady pulled out with an undisclosed injury.He'll be joined by teammates Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis in Hawaii and Manning, the quarterback who preceded Luck in Indy.Luck was the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft and set NFL rookie records for attempts, yards passing and 300-yard games. He fell just short of the league's rookie marks for completions and touchdowns.Luck also won 11 games, the most by an No. 1 pick in the modern draft and tied an NFL mark by leading seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.--------------------RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been added to the NFC roster for the Pro Bowl after Atlanta's Matt Ryan withdrew due to an injury.Wilson was added to the team on Monday. He will be the sixth Seahawks player in the game, joining offensive linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung, running back Marshawn Lynch, safety Earl Thomas and kick returner Leon Washington.Wilson threw for 3,118 yards and tied the NFL rookie record with 26 passing touchdowns in the regular season. His finest performance of the year came in Seattle's NFC playoff loss at Atlanta where Wilson threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-28 loss.Wilson was originally voted a third alternate for the NFC.Ryan was injured in Sunday's NFC championship game loss to San Francisco.
Talking about what the Bears can do to defeat the Detroit Lions suddenly has a vague feel of irrelevance, since the downward spiral of the 0-3 start raises far broader questions and doubts than one game. But in point of fact, it IS about one game. More on that later.
Earlier in this week your humble and faithful narrator laid out three foundation points upon which the Bears could begin building a way out of the abyss. Nothing has changed in the meantime other than a few injury designations, and there is zero reason to dwell on those because the solution is about as simple as things can get. And they extend beyond Sunday’s game against the Lions.
“You’ve just got to keep improving,” said Brian Hoyer, the presumptive starting quarterback Sunday against Detroit and until Jay Cutler’s injured right thumb is sufficiently healed. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. Everybody has injuries. It’s unfortunately part of the business so everybody just has to step up.
“And not only the guy himself has to step up, the guys around him have to step up. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Which gets back to those three “turnaround” elements, because those comprise the basic formula for the Bears to overcome the Lions and themselves. Consider these the proverbial “three keys,” tailored to the immediate game at hand.
Unleash a defensive “village”
The Bears have not proved themselves capable of winning enough one-on-one matchups pretty much anywhere on the field, any side of the football. An alternative exists on defense, however: Swarm to the football, something that was axiomatic with Lovie Smith defenses but evaporated under Marc Trestman/Mel Tucker and has not developed under John Fox and Vic Fangio. It is also the only realistic way the Bears can have a dominant defensive game, which is the only realistic way the Bears can win a football game.
The Lions were never a particularly fun matchup for Chicago defenses when they had Calvin Johnson. In beating the Bears the last six times the teams met, Detroit averaged 29.3 points per game. Without Megatron the Lions are averaging 27 per game this season. Meaning: Things haven’t necessarily gotten any better since the Big Fella called it a career.
In place of Johnson, the focal point of the Detroit offense has become wideout Marvin Jones, No. 2 in the NFL in receiving yards and averaging 22.7 yards on his 18 receptions. Equally concerning: Jones has picked up first downs on 13 of those 18 catches.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
“He's made some big plays,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He's had some big ‘chunk’ plays, a 73-yarder last week, I think he had a 50-some yarder in another game. He leads the [NFC] in receiving yards and [is No. 2 in] average per catch. They've got a lot of weapons.”
The problem with that is that the Lions are predominantly a three-receiver offense, another team that will schematically force the Bears out of their base 3-4 and into nickel. The Bears intercepted a Houston Texans pass on the first possession of the season. They have not intercepted one in the 34 opponent possessions since then.
Detroit doesn’t run the football overly well (101 yards per game), but if the Bears cannot force quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw toward Jones or Golden Tate before he wants to, an undermanned secondary has no chance.
The defense no longer has a shutdown corner, even one must-account-for pass rusher or an established all-around game-changer. Jerrell Freeman is the best player on a struggling defense. The solution is a form of flash-mob flying to the football, second and third men in stripping the ball. One tackler or pass rusher has proved insufficient.
Take it on the run
It is far from any sort of exact correlation, but all six of the Bears’ wins last season came in games where they rushed more times than their opponent. A seventh win escaped them when Robbie Gould missed a kick against San Francisco. Only the Lions in Week 17 rushed fewer times than the Bears and won.
The Bears are not only among the NFL’s worst rushing teams (70 yards per game, 30th), but also its least busy, with 53 total attempts through three games. The total is mystifying because the Bears led the Texans through three quarters and the Eagles for most of two, making the reasoning that the Bears were trailing and forced to throw very difficult to understand.
The Lions allow 5.1 yards per rush, worst in the NFL. They are without top pass rusher Ziggy Ansah. If the Bears cannot run on this defense (allowing 28.3 ppg.), the issues are far deeper than feared and the philosophies and play calling of coordinator Dowell Loggains will come under even more scrutiny than they already have.
“I was pretty disappointed as well [after 15 rush attempts at Dallas],” guard Kyle Long said. “Just execution, and sometimes it’s not execution. It’s just you’ve got to beat the guy across from you and we haven’t done that enough.”
Win one play…then one drive…one quarter…one game
The Bears cannot get back to .500 Sunday afternoon. Barring a 28-point outburst, they cannot win the Detroit game in the first quarter. They led Houston and Philadelphia in first halves and lost.
To his credit, Fox has kept the target small, and simple. Because it is.
“It’s execution and it’s execution in all three phases,” Fox said. “Whether it’s the first half or the second half, they’re two equal times. And you have to put a complete game together and we have not done that through the first three games.”
And the winner is...
“View from the Moon” erred in Dallas by going against its first impression and pick back early in the offseason, that the Bears would lose to the Cowboys, which they did. The Bears have done little to suggest that they are poised to go on any sort of upswing, but the Lions inspire not a lot to suggest that they are an NFC North power. The preseason pick stays:
Bears 17, Lions 14
View from the Moon 2016 record: 1-2
Michigan's football team grabbed all the headlines in recent months for — well, for just about everything, but specifically for becoming the first football team ever decked out in Jordan Brand uniforms. His Airness himself even showed up as an honorary captain at the Big House.
Well, don't forget that in the school's apparel deal with Nike, Michigan's basketball team also gets Jordan uniforms.
The Wolverines unveiled their new hoops unis Friday, and as one might expect, they look pretty cool.
Check them out:
Unveiled: Jordan Michigan basketball uniforms pic.twitter.com/QZa6YZQ1Vi— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 30, 2016
Up close: New Jordan Michigan home basketball uniforms pic.twitter.com/QNUe5pyhTp— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 1, 2016
Michigan's new Jordan Brand uniforms. pic.twitter.com/TMKMMTnAxm— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) October 1, 2016
In true Michigan fashion, the uniforms were unveiled at some giant party event with celebrities and whatnot.
John Beilein's team will be taking the court in these sweet duds this season.