Turnover Battle Will be Crucial

Kyle Orton has been smart with the football thus far, but the Bengals want to force him into mistakes.

Turnovers remain a telling statistic for the Bengals and figure to be a major indicator of how their game Sunday in Chicago will be decided.

The Bengals have scored 33 points off turnovers, including 27 on ensuing possessions after takeaways Sunday against Minnesota.

In the opener at Cleveland, the Bengals scored six points off turnovers. They lead the NFL with a plus-7 turnover differential - 10 takeaways and three giveaways.

The Bears are tied for second in the league with Jacksonville at plus-6. The Bears have scored 35 points off turnovers, including 28 last week against Detroit.

The Bengals are 11-1 under Marvin Lewis when they are plus in turnover differential and 2-0 this year.

"When you're on the plus side, No. 1, you're getting yourself off the field defensively, limiting your exposure to bad things happening to you," the Bengals coach said. "And you give your offense more opportunities to make bad things happening to the opposing team.

"You want to play defense on the sidelines."

Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton doesn't look at himself as an old pro after two NFL starts, but he's gaining confidence each week - and he wasn't lacking any to begin with.

"I don't think I'm feeling like a veteran right now," Orton said, despite last week's passer rating of 103.3, up 50.5 points from a week earlier. "Improvement needs to keep happening, and I think it will. I made a big step from Week 1 to Week 2."

Orton turned the ball over twice in the opener, throwing an interception and losing one of his two fumbles. Last week he had no turnovers and very few mistakes of any kind.

"I thought I played real solid," he said. "There were maybe only two passes I would like to have back, and that's pretty good when you're playing a full football game. I thought I made good decisions, thought I got the ball out of my hands quick and really knew the situations I was in."

The situation the Bears expect Orton to see Sunday against the Bengals is similar to what he saw in Week 1. The Redskins made their pressure defense work, bringing blitzes from every angle, and every Bears opponent is likely to do the same thing for the remainder of the season. One good game doesn't elevate Orton above rookie status.

"They'll consider him a rookie all the year," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "So we'll assume he's playing these teams for the first time. They assume that as a rookie, they should go after him. You know, Football 101, blitz the rookie. So we feel like we'll get that most of the year. It's just something we'll have to deal with."

Muhsin Muhammad, who has become Orton's go-to guy with 12 catches for 140 yards, said Orton has done his job.

"He did what we expect him to do, and that's manage the game, make good decisions, get rid of the ball when he has to and (avoid) turnovers," Muhammad said. "That's what he has to do every week for us to be able to win games."

Orton showed an exceptional ability to avoid interceptions at Purdue. In his final three seasons, he was picked off just 19 times while throwing 59 touchdown passes. He's been intercepted just once this season.

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