Black and Blue all over: Orton salvages Bears

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
We shut things down Thursday night at halftime of the Chicago Bears' third preseason game. But it appears their defense fared no better at the start of the third quarter in a 37-30 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

After a first half in which they allowed 248 yards, the Bears gave up a 62-yard drive to struggling 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Overall, the Chicago defense surrendered 425 yards, including 160 on the ground during a wholly uninspiring night for their defense.

Here's what defensive coordinator Bob Babich said about the display, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:

"Yeah, I'm very disappointed. We're very disappointed in our play tonight. We are a very good defense. We are going to be a dominant defense. We just need to make sure when we go out and play that we play at that level. We need to make sure the guys are in the right spots, and that all starts with me."

The poor defensive showing, however, didn't totally overshadow a promising start from quarterback Kyle Orton three days after he was named the Bears' permanent starter. Orton completed 10 of 17 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a nicely-placed 21-yard strike to receiver Rashied Davis.

Here's how Chicago Tribune beat writer David Haugh put it: "As many questions as the defense raised, Orton answered a bigger one in a convincing manner."

Elsewhere around the NFC North:

  • Green Bay Packers safety Aaron Rouse, whose 6-foot-4 frame makes him a pretty scary defensive back, will be relegated to special teams status again this season, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal offers a Packers roster analysis. Among those he considers on the bubble: Running backs Vernand Morency and Noah Herron, tight end Tory Humphrey, defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, defensive tackle Justin Harrell and cornerback Jarrett Bush.

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com provides a similar analysis on the Detroit Lions. His bubble players include running back Tatum Bell, right tackle George Foster and linebacker Buster Davis.

  • Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress on how he is handling quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's knee injury: "I do not want to insinuate with him that he's not a tough guy or has to play injured. He has to be able to have some of his faculties. He's got to be able to protect himself."

  • Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian is expected to play Saturday night against Pittsburgh after missing the team's last preseason game because of turf toe.