No QB Change on the Horizon

PITTSBURGH _ Even though the Bears eight-game winning streak came to an end, quarterback Kyle Orton will keep his job after Sunday's 21-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Orton had vowed to produce his best passing effort of the year after being criticized by media and fans all week. He wasn't far off. He went without an interception for the first time in five games and had his second-best game in terms of yardage with a 17-of-35 effort for 207 yards.

"I'm disappointed that we lost," Orton said. "I thought we got a little bit better in the passing game today. We still probably had some chances that we didn't take advantage of.

"No matter how you play, when you lose you obviously didn't play well enough. I'm not happy with how it went. You've got to do your part and play better and you can't really say that you played well whenever you lose."

Orton had come under intense media scrutiny all week while Rex Grossman took some first-team practice snaps. He maintained all along that he didn't care about yardage and was only trying to run the offense as directed in past games.

"You (media) guys are the ones talking about yards and all this stuff, but when you get down to it, it's wins and we didn't win today," he said. "We throw for more yards but we didn't win. So I'm disappointed."

Ironically, it was trailing in a losing effort that gave Orton the chance to throw more and perhaps improve his game.

"I like to be able to get into a rhythm and throw the football," he said. "I think we did that today. I think we started off with a couple completions right away and I think that's good for any quarterback, not just me.

"So I was pleased with the way that went. I felt in a rhythm all day. I know we kind of struggled there midway through (the game). They did a good job defending us and we had some tough looks, but all in all I think we got a little bit better today."

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner called two passes to start the game and passed on the first play of three of the Bears' first four possessions in order to get his quarterback involved early.

"We knew they were going to be blitzing a lot," he said. "We started the game, the first two plays of the game, I think, for him to get some completions, get some confidence.

"I thought he stepped up and he did a nice job. I really did. With everything going on all week and all the other stuff, after last week and with him this week, I thought he prepared very well. I thought he stepped up and played a lot better, played a good football game."

Orton was asked if he thought he would keep his job again.

"I'm not even thinking about that, so I don't know," he said.

Smith agreed, but was somewhat vague in summation.

"Just like last week, you look at how you played," he said. "He made some progress in his position."

Turner was a little more definitive.

"We won't forget about Kyle," he said. "We won nine games with him as the starting quarterback. We're going to keep going that way, we're going to get Rex ready to go, get him a few reps (in practice).

"Obviously Rex, he hasn't had any until this last week. So we'll give him a few while we're getting Kyle ready to play."

His performance even earned a compliment from hard-to-please Bears wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad.

Well, sort of.

"I thought he threw the ball better than he threw the ball last week," Muhammad said. "He had more attempts this week and generally when you throw the ball more you have a tendency to get in a better rhythm. He was able to get in a better rhythm throwing the ball and seeing the defense."

And then Muhammad, who has been somewhat critical of Orton all year, added: "Of course, being a young guy he missed some plays too, and you expect a young guy to make mistakes here and there."


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