Same Old Story Takes a Twist

Chicago - Whether or not the Bears wanted a quarterback controversy, one jumped into their lap on Friday.

Another poor performance by Chad Hutchinson, coupled by a solid effort by Kyle Orton leaves head coach Lovie Smith not knowing who is quarterback will be with the start of the seasons 16 days away.

"We've been evaluating it really throughout," Smith said. "We have a staring rotation for all the positions and you have to play well to stay in that position so we'll just keep going through."

On two drives Orton did more with the first string offense than Hutchinson did in 15 possessions over the course of nearly four quarters.

Hutchinson played only one half and finished with a passer rating of 0.0 after completing 3-of-14 attempts for 33 yards. He was intercepted twice and sacked three times.

"It wasn't pretty," Smith said. " We talked about a starting rotation and Chad didn't have a good night, made a lot of bad plays."

Orton got the chance to open the third quarter to the delight of the 48,107 at Soldier Field.

Following a three and out in his first possession, Orton found a rhythm in his second drive. He completed 7-of-9 passes for 73 yards and did something Hutchinson has failed to do this preseason, throw a touchdown pass. Orton connected with tight end Desmond Clark for a two-yard score, which capped a 12-play drive that took more than six minutes off the clock.

"I was really pleased with how Kyle Orton stepped in and gave our offense a boost and finished strong," Smith said.

The six-foot-4, 223-pounder rookie quarterback had limited reps with the first string offense during the week, but during the game he brought his level of play to the talent around him.

"I was hoping to get a couple series with the first team and coming into halftime I got a chance so it was good," Orton said.

"I ran with the ones, it's kind of whole new level for me.

On the scoring connection to Clark that brought the Bears within 12-10, the offense had to ad-lib because of the noise in the south end zone.

"I was actually like the third man that was supposed to catch that pass," Clark said. "The play was supposed to go the other way, but the guy bit on the play fake, I was open in the end zone and Kyle made a good throw."

If Hutchinson was looking for support from the home crowd, he was in the wrong building. On several occasions he was booed during another sub par performance.

A rough start contributed to the reaction from the fans. Hutchinson misfired on three straight pass attempts to open the game. His first completion went to Buffalo cornerback Nate Clements, who returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown. Placekicker Rian Lindell missed the point after try that kept the score at 6-0.

The Chicago passing game has failed to put anything together with Hutchinson under center. In a little less than four quarters as the starter, Hutchinson has thrown four interceptions on 22 pass attempts and zero touchdowns.

Not all the blame can be pinned on Hutchinson.

The offensive line failed to pickup a blitz on more than one occasion, while Justin Gage dropped a reception that would have resulted in a first down.

Another tipped passed resulted in Hutchinson's second interception and a field goal for the Bears. He tried to fire a pass to Jones and Takeo Spikes came up with the ball as it floated in the air.

Although Buffalo took over at the Chicago 3, the Bears defense pushed the Bills back 17 yards on the drive thanks to a Hunter Hillenmeyer sack of J.P. Losman following a bobbled snap.

Even Thomas Jones' 6.7-yard per carry average was deceiving. Two third down carries accounted for 26 yards when the Bears needed 30 and 29 yards for a first down.

However, a 40-yard run by Jones in the first quarter setup the only points in the first half, a Doug Brien 28-yard field goal.

The defense shutout the Bills in the first quarter and has not allowed a point in the opening period all preseason.

The starters produced two sacks, a fumble and made an agile quarterback run around in the pocket for the bulk of the first half. J.P. Losman finished the night 9-of-18 for 82 yards.

Losman's struggles were inconsequential compared to that of the Buffalo running game.

Willis McGahee averaged 2.9 yards on 21 carries. After the first quarter he had five yards on nine carries.

"(I'm) Really pleased with how the defense played, another night (of solid play)," said Smith. They're going to get better and better.

"I just like the way they're playing, especially the run defense."

Trailing 12-10 in the closing minutes, the Bears put together a seven-play, 50-yard drive to claim their third victory in four games.

Adrian Peterson accounted for 38 yards on the possession, including the game winning three-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the game.


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