NEWS

Orton passes Bears into first place with blowout win over Lions

Matt Trowbridge

No more Good Kyle/Bad Kyle. Sunday, it was Good Kyle/Bad Lions.

And very good Bears.

Kyle Orton threw for 344 yards – Chicago’s most in nine years – and two touchdowns as the Bears blew out Detroit 34-7 and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

“That’s where we belong,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been up there. Guys are feeling good right now.”

And not just because of where the Bears are, but also because of how they got there. Chicago (3-2) rolled to a 31-0 lead five minutes into the second half.

“It’s fun when you kick a little butt out there,” safety Mike Brown said. “We pretty much dominated from beginning to end. That is gratifying, but it’s all about getting the W.”

Orton set the dominant tone by completing his first five passes, including a 52-yarder to Olsen on first down from the 7 to begin Chicago’s second drive. A week after having one of the best and worst games of his career (a career-high three TDs, but four turnovers), Orton completed 24 of 34 passes for a career-high 121.4 passer rating.

“We certainly made a lot of plays and got the ball down the field, but in the first quarter we left a few points on the board,” Orton said. “The defense shut them down and gave us time to get going.”

All six Chicago first-half drives crossed midfield, but the Bears led only 3-0 after four tries when the Lions (0-4) stuffed Matt Forte on fourth-and-1 after defensive end Alex Brown had forced a fumble to give the Bears the ball on the Lions’ 24-yard line.

“We have to turn turnovers into points,” Forte (36 yards on 15 carries) said. “And not just 3 points; we need to get touchdowns.”

Chicago wouldn’t have scored a touchdown on its fifth drive, either, if not for a third-down offside penalty on defensive tackle Langston Moore. Instead of Robbie Gould lining up for a 48-yard field goal after a 7-yard loss on a screen pass, Chicago received a second chance. Three plays later, Orton threw a 9-yard TD pass to Forte.

The Bears went on to score touchdowns three drives in a row to go up 24-0.

“If we would have helped our defense early, this game would have been a lot different,” Lions receiver Roy Williams said. “But we didn’t, and then it got out of hand.”

Charles Tillman made it that much worse with a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown to make it 31-0.

“That blew the game open,” Alex Brown said.

Lovie Smith figured it was just a matter of time, even before the penalty that led to Chicago’s first touchdown.

“When we were able to score, that solidified the things we were doing,” Chicago’s coach said, “but we had the momentum from start to finish.”

The Bears left the Lions in disarray.

“The frustration keeps building,” said quarterback Jon Kitna, who sat out the second half with back spasms. “We have a lot of problems. To pinpoint anything would be a disservice. We’re not doing anything good.”

On the flip side, the Bears are suddenly doing almost everything well. Even passing. Orton has 1,100 yards through five games for a team with just one 3,000-yard passer in the last 10 years, and his 87.6 passer rating is Chicago’s third-highest in more than 40 years.

“It’s always fun to see the offense get on a roll and keep going with it,” Alex Brown said. “The whole thing was a lot of fun to play in.”

The Bears also had four sacks, forced two turnovers and held the Lions to 185 total yards -- Chicago's fewest yards allowed in 32 games -- while rolling up 425 yards themselves.

“Everybody played well in every facet of the game,” defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek said. “We were firing on all cylinders, offensively, defensively and special teams.”

Just like first-place teams are supposed to play.

“There’s a lot of football left to go,” Lovie Smith said, “but that’s our goal – getting up on top of the division and staying there.”

Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com