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Matthew Bonesteel
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Matthew Bonesteel

Washington Post Editor and Football Guru

Chicago at Carolina, Week 2

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Based on their Week 1 upset of the Colts, it looks as if the Bears aren't asking too much from quarterback Kyle Orton. Which is probably a good thing.

Entering this season, Orton had thrown for 12 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions in his career, with a 63.2 passer rating. But against Indianapolis, Chicago offensive coordinator Ron Turner called for 39 running plays compared with 23 passes, and rookie running back Matt Forte responded with 123 rushing yards on 23 carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run.

Orton completed 13 of 21 passes for 150 yards, not flashy numbers for sure, but he also didn't throw any interceptions, and if the Bears' running game stays as strong and Chicago's defense can return to its 2006-era ways, Orton won't have to have many big games.

Meanwhile, in Carolina, the same lightened expectations could have been expected of quarterback Jake Delhomme. Coming off reconstructive elbow surgery on his elbow, which limited him to only three games last season, and playing without Steve Smith, his suspended favorite target, Delhomme rallied the Panthers to a surprising 26-24 win over the Chargers last week. On the final drive, which began with 2:27 left and was capped by a 14-yard touchdown dart to tight end Dante Rosario, Delhomme completed 8 of 11 passes for 68 yards.

Of course, such heroics from Delhomme wouldn't have been needed if he could have put the Panthers in the end zone earlier in the game. Before the final drive, Carolina was in the red zone three times but came away with only six points (two field goals -- on the other drive, the Panhters failed to punch it in from the San Diego 1 and turned it over on downs). Chicago, meanwhile, held Indianapolis to field goals in two of the Colts' three trips inside the red zone.

Look for Chicago's defense to try to shut down Carolina's running game and force the Panthers to pass. The Bears did this against the Colts. The result: only 53 rushing yards, and Peyton Manning's longest completion was a mere 20 yards, short for him.

By Matthew Bonesteel  |  September 11, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Post Gameday Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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