Orton Growing Up in a Hurry

CANTON, Ohio - The time Bears rookie quarterback Kyle Orton spent taking snaps in training camp hadn't amounted to much.

The Bears' fourth-round draft pick got the rust out Monday night quickly after a critical interception in the fourth quarter, and then rallied the Bears to a 27-24 win.

"I was (ticked) at myself, but I wanted to get back and get at it right away," Orton said of the interception he threw to strong side linebacker Jason Glenn that was converted into a 26-yard touchdown return and 24-13 Miami lead with 10:30 to play in the game. "It was a bad ball. It's something that can't happen. I was real disappointed when I threw it but real happy with the way I came back."

Orton threw for 175 yards on 7-of-11 for a passer rating of 99.6. His biggest play wasn't even a completion.

The Bears faced third-and-six at the 14 with 2 1/2 minutes to play, and his pass to Carl Ford went incomplete. Officials called pass interference, though, and extended the drive. One play later Zack Abron went in from the 4 for the winning points.

His touchdown pass was a perfectly lofted 43-yarder to a wide-open Ford with 7:23 left in the game. He also hit Ford on the run, but a possible second TD connection was ruled incomplete and held up upon instant replay.

The impressive part of Orton's performance is the fact that he looked better in the game than he has in practice. While he has impressed with his strong arm, he has struggled to get rid of the ball on time in limited reps.

"It was a lot of fun," Orton said. "It's been a lot of time since I was out there in game conditions."

Although the Bears hope Orton will not have to do anything more than hold a clipboard as a rookie, his ability to bounce back is a positive for the future. The Bears have started at least three quarterbacks in six of the last seven seasons, including three consecutive campaigns.

Orton will have a chance to improve throughout the preseason. With four more games on the docket, the Bears will allow Rex Grossman to work his way up to a half, while Chad Hutchinson could get a quarter's worth of action. There may be some work for Kurt Kittner, but Orton will get the bulk of the second half snaps.


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