NEWS

Sunday Quick Shots: Orton looks good, but too early to offer an extension

Matt Trowbridge

Only in Chicago can both major papers mention that Kyle Orton’s stats after seven games are almost identical to Rex Grossman’s first seven in 2006, yet also state the Bears need to start talking to Orton about a contract extension.

Orton himself thinks it’s too early. He told the Sun-Times, several times, that the time to talk is after he plays a full season like this. He’s signed through next year, so there’s no hurry.

Grossman isn’t the only cautionary example. Cleveland’s Derek Anderson shocked everyone last year with four passer ratings above 109 in his first seven games. In the offseason, he signed a three-year, $24-million deal, but has been a huge disappointment. The Browns should have been able to see it coming: In his last nine games, Anderson had only one rating above 84 (96.5). He’s a serviceable quarterback, not a star.

Orton isn’t Grossman

Kyle Orton’s stats may be the same as Rex Grossman’s in 2006, but little else is the same. Grossman had already begun to fade, with his six-turnover game against Arizona. Chicago won five of those games by 26, 27, 31, 33 and 31 points.

The only times the Bears had to rally, Grossman played little or no part. The Arizona game marked the first time in NFL history a team had rallied from 20 points behind without an offensive touchdown. Grossman did throw the winning TD pass against Minnesota, but only after giving the Vikings the lead with an interception return for a touchdown by Antoine Winfield.

Only one of the seven teams Grossman played against finished with a winning record, and Seattle (9-7) played without MVP running back Shaun Alexander.

Five of Orton’s foes are at least .500. And Orton is getting better, not worse: His last three games have been his best.

Orton’s most troubling trait

Kyle Orton is like Rex Grossman in one respect: He’s lost three fumbles this year. Orton needs to hang onto the ball when he’s sacked.

O’Sullivan fades for 49ers

Maybe the Bears weren’t so wrong for cutting J.T. O’Sullivan after all. The 49ers’ QB has slid to 24th in passer rating at 75.5 and has been sacked 29 times with 10 interceptions and nine fumbles.

Bears running in place

The Bears may be winning with Orton, but they’ve stuck to their run-first mentality. Only four teams have run more than Chicago (210), even though the Bears rank 28th in yards per carry (3.6). The Bears have come out throwing only twice, with passes on 13 of the first 19 plays against Philadelphia and 20 of the first 26 plays against Minnesota.

Playoff baseball too long

We spend too much time complaining about late-night World Series games. It's not when the games start; it's how long they last. Thursday's 4-2 Tampa Bay win in 3 hours and 5 minutes was OK -- not great, but OK -- but Philadelphia's opening 3-2 win lasted 3:23. It shouldn't take almost 3 1/2 hours to play a 3-2 baseball game. Baseball chases off all but the most die-hard fans by playing games that last at least a half-hour longer than they should.

Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 ormtrowbridge@rrstar.com.