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Lake Forest - Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton has locked on to Muhsin Muhammad for much of the season, but one of the most positive signs of the team's 10-6 victory over Baltimore is that the two-time Pro Bowl wideout didn't lead the team in receptions.

Tight end Desmond Clark had two short TD catches against Minnesota, the first multiple score game of his seven-year career. His 26-yard reception got the Bears' offense kick-started against the Ravens, even though it wasn't part of a scoring drive.

After the offense went three-and-out on its first two possessions, Orton found Clark deep downfield at the Ravens' 42-yard line, where he was hammered by safety Chad Williams. But Williams bounced off and landed on the wet turf, while Clark jogged back to the huddle.

"It changed field position, and we knew this was going to be a field position game with the two great defenses," Clark said. "That kind of gave us the edge early, so we got on their side of the field. But I can't lie, I felt it. He made a good hit and got me in the chest, but as a tight end, you know you're going to take those hits. That's just part of our job description."

Clark led the Bears with 50 receiving yards and tied rookie Mark Bradley for team honors with four catches.

"We've definitely made an effort to get him the ball a little bit more and once you have success throwing someone you tend to go there a little bit more too," said head coach Lovie Smith. "Desmond has done a great job holding onto the ball."

Orton has been efficient and is avoiding mistakes. He's thrown just one interception in the past three games while tossing four touchdown passes.

The key to that is finding targets other than Muhammad, who is being double-teamed on a more consistent basis. Forcing the ball to him could lead to interceptions. He has 30 (32 percent) of Orton's 93 completions and 337 (52.6 percent) of his 641 passing yards.

However, the success has not been duplicated when it comes to reaching the end zone. Of Orton's five touchdown passes, two have gone to Clark and two have gone to fullback Marc Edwards. Muhammad has just one TD catch through six games after his 16 lead the NFL last season.

The other five receivers on the roster have combined for 24 catches for 250 yards and no touchdowns. Aside from Muhammad, Bradley is the only other wideout to reach double-digits in receptions with 13 for 142 yards.

The Bears were in a similar situation last year, when the receiving corps combined for 1,561 yards and three touchdowns on 111 catches. Former Bear David Terrell and Wade tied for the lead among wideouts with 42 grabs, which was the lowest total to pace the position since Wendell Davis' 39 in 1990.

Justin Gage had just 12 grabs last season and was forgotten in Terry Shea's offense. It seems as if history is repeating itself, as he opened this season as the starter opposite Muhammad, but has just two catches for 31 yards. He was inactive vs. the Ravens and could find himself in a similar position against Detroit.

"The numbers didn't work for Justin this past week," Smith said. "But when you have a deep team it's that way. You look at what we've done this year, I mean Bobby Wade wasn't up one game, Michael Haynes wasn't."

In meantime, managing the game with a defense that is among the best in the league is good enough from Orton.

"We know that if the offense moves the ball effectively, we don't necessarily have to put up 400 yards and 28 points every week for us to win," Clark said. "Would we like to? Yes, but we know we don't have to, because we have a defense that's going to limit teams to a minimum amount of points. As long as we keep moving the ball like we're moving it and provide something for the defense to work with, we'll be OK."


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