Like most Bear fans (or at least the ones who weren't still shell shocked about the demise of the Cubs in the days prior) I was giddy as can be about the stellar performance of Neckbeard Army General Kyle Orton in the Bears decisive victory over Detroit last Sunday.
The Lions were clearly intent on shutting down Matt Forte and the Bears running attack and Orton made them pay by tossing for a career high 334 yards and two TD's while committing no turnovers in Chicago's 34-7 rout against the lowly Lions.
While it is exciting to imagine Orton as the quarterback savior this team has been looking for over the past three centuries or so, I implore those of you who are ready to hail him as such to take a history lesson. And I mean a very recent one.
It was at this time two years ago when all of us were declaring our individually impassioned man crushes on Rex Grossman, who had been lights out in the first five games of the 2006 season.
Then came the first of multiple epic disasters, when he turned the ball over six times and recorded a dismal 10.2 quarterback rating in what proved to be a miracle 24-23 Bears victory over Arizona in one of the most stunning games in the history of Monday Night Football.
This began the "Good Rex, Bad Rex" roller coaster ride that was the rest of the season (a ride which included two games in which he actually compiled two QB ratings worse than the disastrous effort in Arizona) and ended in his bumbling performance in the rain as the Bears fell to Indianapolis 29-17.
Then came last year. After failing to recover from the mental shakeups that plagued him, Grossman was benched in favor of Brian Griese. Griese was hailed as a potential savior because of his supposed stability.
He even got fans ultra-elated after leading a stunning two minute, 97 yard drive with no timeouts to lead the Bears to a come-from-behind 19-16 win at Philadelphia. This drive alone was enough to get Chicago fans elated.
It didn't matter that the Bears depleted defense was playing awful or that their starting running back was as useless as a rotted tree stump; there was quarterback "stability" and that was all the Bears needed to get back to the Super Bowl, and to this time win it.
Fast forward a week. Griese threw four interceptions, three in the end zone, and the Bears stumbled to an embarrassing 16-7 home defeat at the hands of the always lowly Lions. Just like that our newest messiah had forsaken us.
Two weeks later Griese went down with a shoulder injury and never started another game with the Bears (though we were treated with a reminder of what a tease he was when he conducted a comeback win similar to the one he led against the Eagles when facing the Bears as Tampa Bay's starting quarterback three weeks ago).
Now it would appear we are at the same type of crossroad with Kyle Orton. He's played enough to show that he doesn't have the crippling mental weakness of Grossman and he hasn't played enough to offer up the journeymen skepticism there was with Griese.
But if history has taught us anything, there always seems to be some type of hidden plague just waiting to stricken a Bears quarterback, just as the fan base is ready to hail him as the answer to our long suffering prayers.
This isn't to say I have no faith in Orton, as his improvement a passer in recent weeks is evident. His play has even provoked sparkling articles from sites such as Yahoo! and ESPN.com. Sadly, these are the same types of articles that were thrust upon "Sexy Rexy" and "Griesed Lightning" in the past two seasons.
While Bears fans can seemingly be cynical about most anything, the promise of a quality, consistant starting quarterback is just too exciting to be hard-assed about because the wait for one has been insufferable.
But we owe it to ourselves to see if Orton does in fact have what it takes to make it though an entire season and into the post-season without succumbing to all the prat falls that have occurred to his contemporaries at the position.We as a fan base have endured too much to blindly hail Orton as the long term cure to our wounds.
And we've got the fresh scars to prove it.
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