Ten NFL quarterbacks passed for 4,000 yards last year, something no Bear has ever done. Four are on pace to top 5,000 this year. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says “the willingness to throw the football more” is the biggest change in the NFL.

Ten NFL quarterbacks passed for 4,000 yards last year, something no Bear has ever done. Four are on pace to top 5,000 this year. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says “the willingness to throw the football more” is the biggest change in the NFL.

“And I don’t think it’s unique to just the NFL. College football, high school football, everybody throws the ball a lot more,” he said in a conference call this week. “It’s not as much of a mystery to the coaches and players as it used to be.”

Passing never should have been a football mystery. But it was. Especially up north. Passing better is the one positive trend in the NIC-10. The Big Ten, once the land of “three yards and a cloud of dust,” now gives the NFL Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Even the Bears no longer look befuddled by the pass, at least as long as Todd Collins stays on the bench.

NLCS pitchers overrated

Tim Lincecum was 19th in the NL in ERA, and that’s in the league that can’t hit (or pitch) particularly well. So how can Saturday’s matchup with Roy Halladay be the start of the greatest pitching series in history? More like most overhyped. Halladay is the only NLCS pitcher who rises to the Johan Santana/Pedro Martinez/Randy Johnson level of power pitching we’ve seen in the past decade.

Local golf writer 2nd-guessed

Rockton’s Rob Bolton, the fantasy golf columnist for pgatour.com, got called out by Tour golfer Paul Goydos. Goydos complained about Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson being given low power rankings for the Ryder Cup. “These are guys that somebody for pgatour.com — I don’t know who writes for these people,” Goydos said at the news conference for the next Tour stop.

“I do,” Bolton answered.

“Do you?” Goydos answered, and then complained about Overton’s last-place ranking. “Twenty-four must mean he is the best, because he was the best guy out there. ”

By the way, Bolton predicted Europe would win 15½ to 12½, just missing the score (14½ to 13½).

Yankees keep on rallying

I wrote last week that what makes the Yankees great is the last three innings, when they score by working the count and opponents don’t because of Mariano Rivera. The Yankees, with 48 come-from-behind wins this year, did it again Friday, scoring five times in the eighth to beat the Rangers 6-5. Two of their first four batters walked and two others in the eighth reached three-ball counts. That matched New York’s combined total for walks and three-ball counts in the other eight innings combined.
The Rangers actually had more walks (six), but only one walk, and zero three-ball counts, came after Texas took a 5-0 lead in the fifth.

Pollsters value wrong things

The problem with college football is not using polls instead of playoffs, but rather pollsters paying more attention to margin of victory and preseason rankings than to who beat who. No. 1 Ohio State (117th in schedule strength) and No. 5 Nebraska (134th before beating Kansas State) should not have been in front of No. 6 Oklahoma (15th). Nebraska’s loss to Texas is a reminder that big wins over bad teams mean nothing.

Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.