Rex Grossman had eerily similar numbers after seven games in 2006.
Orton's passer rating is 91.4; Grossman's was 89.6.
Orton has thrown for 1,669 yards; Grossman had thrown for 1,639.
Orton has connected on 143 of 230 passes, a 62.2 completion percentage. Grossman had completed 130 of 216 passes for 60.2 percent.
As we have seen in the past, a half-season does not an NFL career make.
The Orton bandwagon is becoming more crowded with each week, and fans and media continue to suffer more hamstring pulls each week attempting to hop a ride as the impressive performances continue from the 25-year-old Purdue product, who, by the way, is less than three months younger than Grossman was during his spectacular 2006 season.
But it may be time to chill for a while and lessen the expectations on Orton. After the upcoming off week, two of the Bears' next three games are against the Titans at home and the Packers in Green Bay. Both of those defenses rank in the league's top 10 in passing yards allowed and in the top five in interceptions.
This isn't a prediction of impending doom for Orton — not by a long shot. He has a legitimate chance to be the long-term answer that the Bears have sought at quarterback for years. He has accomplished what Grossman did with a weaker supporting cast.
Orton is operating behind an offensive line that is not as talented or experienced as the one that protected Grossman and allowed him to be sacked just 21 times the entire season. The following year, that offensive line aged faster than dog years, but in 2006 it was still a quality, cohesive and experienced group. Orton has already been dropped 14 times this season, even though he has shown better mobility and escape ability in the pocket than his critics had given him credit for.
The running game was probably a bit better in 2006, considering Thomas Jones picked up 1,210 yards and it was the golden age of Cedric Benson, which unfortunately for the Bears lasted just half a season. Rookie Matt Forte may be a more talented all-around running back than either of them, but he's cooled off after a hot start, and again, he does not have the benefit of running behind a quality offensive line.
The Bears are better at tight end now than they were in 2006 because of Greg Olsen, who continues to look more and more like a difference-maker in the passing game. But the current wide receivers are not as accomplished as the 2006 group, which included emerging big-play deep threat Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad, who was still a legitimate go-to target when he wasn't tossing teammates under the bus.
That's another thing Orton and Grossman have in common — tread marks courtesy of Muhammad.
Orton overcame that, and two years in exile while Grossman got his chance, but he has emerged stronger, both mentally and physically, and has exhibited all the qualities of an NFL quarterback.
But it's still too soon for enshrinement.
When the Lions traded Roy Williams to the Cowboys last week, part of the thinking was, "Hey, they've still got Calvin Johnson!"
But in their first game without Williams, the Lions still had trouble getting the ball to Johnson — who is now their undisputed top playmaker, if he hadn't been already.
Johnson finished Sunday's 28-21 loss at Houston with a career-high 154 receiving yards, but that's deceiving. He caught only two passes — a 58-yard Hail Mary on the last play of the first half, which amounted to nothing, and a 96-yard touchdown in the third quarter. (He also caught a pass for a two-point conversion.)
The Lions threw to Johnson only two other times. One pass, he dropped. The other was broken up.
"There are no stars on an 0-6 team," running back Kevin Smith said. "But I do agree he is a beast and we want to get him the ball. We can't throw him the ball on every play. Now that Roy is gone, it is kind of like he is going to attract more people now."
Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said coverage was an issue. Sometimes the Lions called a play for Johnson, but the coverage dictated the ball went somewhere else.
Protection was an issue at times, too. The Lions would call a play for Johnson, and quarterback Dan Orlovsky wouldn't have a chance to get the ball to him.
But this has been going on for a while. Johnson has caught four passes or fewer in each of the last four games.
And other teams have those same issues and still find ways to get the ball to their top receivers.
The Texans run the same type of offense the Lions do, with a zone running scheme setting up a passing attack led by a highly drafted receiver named Johnson. They got the ball to Andre Johnson, the third overall pick in 2003, 11 times for 141 yards.
"It started with the run game," Marinelli said. "They did a great job early, and a lot of his passes that he caught were in zone coverage where you're moving up to stop the run. They did a nice job.
"We started off early obviously slow, couldn't stop the run very well, and now you're committing more people to the run game, which opens that up. If you can run the ball and keep the dogs off you, it opens up opportunities for your receivers."
So what can the Lions do for their Johnson?
"We've got to get it to him more," Marinelli said. "No question."
How do they do that?
"Throw it to him," Marinelli said.
"Throw it to him," Orlovsky said.
That would be a start.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Packers coaches were going to use the first half of this bye week to get a head start on game-planning for the team's next game, Nov. 2 at the Tennessee Titans, and do some self-scouting of the first seven contests.
One player whose performances would be thoroughly assessed is featured back Ryan Grant.
Although fully recovered from a preseason hamstring injury that forced head coach Mike McCarthy to limit his carries to no more than 15 in the first four games, Grant hasn't returned to the form of when he was the best back in the league the final three months of last season.
He finally had his first 100-yard game of 2008 in the Packers' 34-14 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Grant, though, needed 31 carries to get to 105 yards. The lackluster per-attempt average of 3.4 yards came a week after Grant averaged all of 2.7 yards on a career-high 33 carries in Green Bay's win at Seattle.
"I think everybody knows — me and the coaches were talking (after Sunday's game) — there were definitely yards left out there on the field," Grant said.
For the season, Grant is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and has only one touchdown, which also came Sunday on an 11-yard run.
What's more, Grant has drawn the ire of McCarthy and running backs coach Edgar Bennett by putting the ball on the ground three times in the last five games. Two of the fumbles went for turnovers.
"I know Edgar Bennett is frustrated by it," McCarthy said. "We need to do a better job there. All of our guys that carry the football need to be conscious of protecting. We practice it every day."
Grant, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry in the regular season last year, acknowledged before the game Sunday that flaws in his running style so far this season are the primary culprit in his having few explosive gains.
"Knee drive, I have to keep my knees up a little more when I'm running," Grant said. "I felt like I could've seen a little faster, reacted a little faster (to holes created by his blockers), too. Just across the board, little fundamentals."
Perhaps a silver lining for the Packers in Grant's murky start this season is that his first 100-yard rushing game of 2007 came in Green Bay's seventh game (like this year), when he replaced an injured DeShawn Wynn.