Sunday night was a case of Good Kyle/Bad Kyle...Wait, where have I heard that before?
I know I've heard it somewhere...Wasn't that the reason we put Rex Grossman on the bench? And now we're hailing Orton for it...?
Anyway, for the first time, Kyle Orton surprised me. The Bears in general surprised me. The most stubborn, blockheaded, run-dedicated football team on Earth actually came off the bus...passing.
The first play from scrimmage was a nice completion over the middle from Orton, and the third play was a nice TD pass to Olsen that, as pointed out by the commentators, would have been called back if challenged.
Orton threw it just a bit too far and Olsen only managed to get one foot down while extending for the ball, but the Eagles didn't catch it, so put it on the board!
And the Bears' defense? What can I say? The entire game, they practically destroyed the Eagles, sacking McNabb four times and stopping the run quite well.
For the first time since the early Grossman days of 2006, the Bears' offense was actually complementing the defense. The D would come up with a big stop and put the offense in business inside Eagles' territory, and three different times, Orton capitalized with a TD pass.
So what's to complain about? Three TD passes from Orton and big plays from the defense. What's not to like?
Sadly enough for Orton and the offense, the game consists of four quarters. If only pro football played just two quarters in it, Orton would be king of castle right now—instead, he's about right on the same level as the QB the Bears put him out there to replace.
I've already seen the headlines two weeks in a row: "Orton gets it half right", "A Tale of two Ortons"... it's like seeing the media with Rex all over again.
Although, a good majority of the media tends to favor Orton right now—which I don't get. A performance like last night from Grossman would have found the media focusing on the two poor INTs and the fumble that kept putting the Eagles in business and the defense in a bad spot and ignoring a nice first half.
Instead, it appears as most are simply ignoring Orton's blunders and hoisting his three TD passes on high, one headline even says that the Bears "can thank Orton" after last night.
You're joking, right?
I'm not trying to put a downer on a great win, but the offense nearly cost us the game AGAIN for a third week in a row, and I'm not going to give Orton a pat on the back for a job only HALF-well done.
Orton posted his second-lowest rating of the season, condemning his solid first-half play with a dismal second half, in which he and the offense had only accumulated two yards going into the fourth quarter.
After throwing three TD passes in the first half, Orton went into halftime with an INT, came out and threw another INT after the Bears' defense had just picked off McNabb and put the Bears in business at Philadelphia's 25-yard line.
He then fumbled on the next drive, and after the Bears' defense stopped Philly again, Orton fumbled a bad handoff to Jones. It was later reported that Orton had handed off to the wrong guy on a reverse that went bad.
So although Orton is only credited with three turnovers, the fumble that sits on Jones' shoulders should be a mark against Orton.
And that's how most of the second half went. Orton and the offense making stupid mistakes and putting the defense in a bad spot.
We can rejoice and cheer all we want, and we should. A win is a win. But don't kid yourself into thinking all of our problems are over. Had Orton come out and played like he did in the first half for the remainder of the game, I'd be writing an apology instead of a complaint. But Orton's inconsistent play has cost us twice, and nearly a third time last night.
His three turnovers put Philly in business deep in Bears territory, and had McNabb had Westbrook in the backfield, you can bet there would have been no goal-line stand. Westbrook is one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the game right now.
There would have been no stop by the defense, and the Eagles would have taken the lead with 30 seconds left from a botched handoff by Orton and Jones.
If ANYBODY should be thanking ANYBODY, Orton certainly should not be getting thanks from the defense. If anything, Orton should be taking his defense out to dinner every night this week for covering up his dismal second half and pulling the blinds over everyone's eyes from seeing a QB completely fall apart.
And the three TD's are great...But all three came from inside or on the 20-yard line and all off of defensive takeaways. The Bears' offense at no time orchestrated a scoring drive under their own power.
I'm happy with the win, and I did see better play in Kyle Orton—for a half. But the Bears have twice now met with two powerhouse offenses that have luckily been depleted by injuries.
The Bears face the Lions next, whom we haven't beaten since Rex Grossman took a seat on the bench. The Falcons come after that. The Bears desperately need two wins before facing the Vikings, who tore them apart twice last season, and then the high-powered offenses of the Titans, Packers, Jaguars, and Saints.
I still am uncertain about Orton. Three TD passes inside the 20 is great, but it is nothing impressive. His long game is still a question, and he continues to put the defense in bad spots. Defense and luck saved him once more last night, but how long will his luck hold out?