View from the Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

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View from the Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
10:48 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Michael Vick has yet to throw an interception this season, while tossing 11 touchdown passes. That in fact should be considered good news for the Bears. Why? Hes due.

Actually, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin agrees. Coughlin said last week that Vick passes have been in defenders hands, just not caught. Of course, that would include some Giants hands because Coughlins guys didnt pick Vick either.

In his five previous seasons as the No. 1 quarterback, all with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick threw 69 touchdown passes vs. 49 interceptions. That equates to one pick-Vick every 33 attempts.

Even factoring in the new-and-improved gyroscope in Vicks inner passer, he has thrown 191 passes this season without being intercepted yet. Again, he is due.

And while he admittedly hasnt always made the right decisions for himself, he believes he is now, in more ways than one.

I think Ive gone through my progressions, keeping my eyes down field, staying balanced when I throw the football, Vick said. It doesnt necessarily have anything to do with the running game, but making good decisions with the football.

Not to make simple he-cant-be-this-good predictions, but he cant.

Vicks passer rating of 108.7 leads the NFL. The three highest ratings in NFL history are 121.1 by Peyton Manning in 2004; 117.2 by Tom Brady in 2007; and 112.8 by Steve Young back in 1994.

Vicks season right now, extrapolating it into a full season, would rank 11th all-time, just ahead of Sid Luckmans 107.5 from 1943 and below Dan Marinos 108.9 in 1984.

In Vicks favor is that hes 30 and three of the top four on the all-time list (Brady, Young, Joe Montana) were over 30 when they posted their career-best ratings.

But turnovers are the single biggest determinant of game outcomes and for all of Jay Cutlers peccadilloes, Vick against the Bears defense is the matchup that should decided this game.

And so.
Few Bears games since the Detroit opener and maybe Carolina, even with Todd Collins starting, have been pretty simple calls to make. This one, however, is arguably the hardest to date this season. The Eagles are No. 2 in scoring at 28.4, the Bears are tied for No. 1 in defense giving up 14.6 per game, and that equates to two units each eminently capable of taking over a game.

If Mike Martz continues to direct an offense that stays on the ground without putting the ball on the ground, the Bears will have their 4-0 November.
Bears 16 Eagles 14

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears guard Josh Sitton named as injury replacement in Pro Bowl

Bears guard Josh Sitton named as injury replacement in Pro Bowl

The Bears have another Pro Bowler.

After initially getting shut out on the Pro Bowl roster, the Bears have since had two players named as injury replacements with guard Josh Sitton now joining running back Jordan Howard.

Sitton was named as an injury replacement Monday afternoon for Packers guard T.J. Lang, who left Sunday's NFC Championship game early.

This will be Sitton's third straight Pro Bowl and fourth career honor.

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The 30-year-old offensive lineman signed with the Bears before 2016 after the Packers released him.

Sitton played in 13 of the Bears' 16 games including 12 starts, helping to anchor the Bears' line when healthy.

Howard replaced Cardinals running back David Johnson on the NFC Pro Bowl roster earlier this month.

Bad blood fueled Bears-Vikings playoff bout profiled in 'Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon'

Bad blood fueled Bears-Vikings playoff bout profiled in 'Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon'

From the high ground of hindsight, what unfolded in the Metrodome that day in 1995 was actually quite a big deal. But not for reasons that you could have really understood at the time watching the Bears stun the Minnesota Vikings 35-18 in the wild card round of the 1994 playoffs.

It was not so much the game alone. It was the overall context of the time for the Bears, before and after.

Though the 1995 season would get off to a 6-2 start for the Bears before their near-historic collapse, the Minnesota game would prove to be the high-water mark for the coaching tenure of Dave Wannstedt. This was the postseason, and the Bears looked to be going where then-president Mike McCaskey envisioned when he made the play to beat the New York Giants in securing Wannstedt, who was unquestionably the hot coaching prospect coming out of the Dallas Super Bowl pantheon after the 1992 season.

To fully grasp the situation, you need to understand the undercurrent of venom that had developed between the Bears and Vikings. Bears-Packers might have been the glitzy rivalry, but what had grown between the Bears and Vikings was true hostility, with little of the respect that the Bears and Packers had managed. The Vikings carried grudges for Pro Bowl slights going back almost to the Bears' Super Bowl win. One Bears defensive lineman remarked that his most hated opponent was Minnesota right tackle Tim Irwin, adding, "He's a guy that, if I ran over him with a car, I'd back up over him to make sure I got him." Dwayne Rudd's backpedaling taunt after an interception came a couple years later, but you get the idea.

What's easily forgotten looking back through the mists of time was the epic decision made by Wannstedt to make a quarterback change, from a quarterback he wanted in free agency to one he knew well from their time together at the University of Miami. That was every bit the turning point of the season and the real reason the playoff trip and win ever happened.

The Bears had been annihilated in their first game against the Vikings in the 1994 season — 42-14 — and something was really, really wrong, which become glaringly more evident just a few weeks later, even though the Bears were reaching a 4-2 mark under quarterback Erik Kramer, the centerpiece of an aggressive offseason foray into free agency. But the Bears then lost — badly — to the Lions and Packers, with Kramer throwing three interceptions against Detroit and two against Green Bay, the latter in only 10 pass attempts.

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I talked privately to Kramer after the Green Bay game, specifically about why it was that he was playing his absolute worst against Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota, all teams with which he was intimately familiar. My thought: You know those defenses and where their people are going to be.

Kramer shook his head: "The 'other guys' I know. It's my own guys. I don't know where they're supposed to be."

It wasn't a comment on his receivers whatsoever. It was Kramer admitting bluntly that he was not getting the West Coast scheme of coordinator Ron Turner and its timing element.

Wannstedt knew it wasn't working and made the change to Steve Walsh, who'd been the Hurricanes' quarterback under Jimmy Johnson when Wannstedt was the defensive coordinator.

That was the tipping point, and Walsh and Wannstedt are among the principals of "Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon," airing on Monday at 8 p.m. on CSN.

Anyone with any time spent in or around the NFL knows that beating a team three times in a season is incredibly difficult. The Bears had been blown out in the first Minnesota game but had pushed the Vikings to overtime in the second and would have won had Kevin Butler not missed a 40-yard field goal try.

The playoff meeting was No. 3, and after the Vikings put up a field goal in the first quarter, the Bears scored with a Lewis Tillman touchdown in the second and just pulled steadily away from the winner of the only NFL division that produced four teams with winning records.

From there it would be another decade-plus — 2006 season — before the Bears would win a playoff game.