Orton #039;unBearable#039; to Dolphins, 27-24
The Associated Press
CANTON - Rookie Kyle Orton brought a breath of fresh air to the often-stale Chicago Bears offense.
Orton riddled Miami's third-string defense on two late touchdown drives, lifting the Bears past the Dolphins 27-24 in the Hall of Fame game Monday night.
The fourth-round draft pick from Purdue connected with Carl Ford for a 43-yard score with 7:23 remaining. After Olindo Mare was short on a 54-yard field goal try, Orton guided Chicago 56 yards, keyed by a 34-yard bullet to Eddie Berlin and a third-down interference penalty by Miami's Deandre Eiland.
Zack Abron ran it in from the 4, disappointing all the Dolphins fans wearing No. 13 jerseys in the crowd of 22,292. One day earlier, former Miami quarterback Dan Marino was inducted into the Hall, along with Steve Young, Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman.
Orton's strong performance - 7-for-11 for 175 yards - spoiled the debut of Nick Saban as an NFL coach and Ricky Williams' return to the Miami lineup. And the Bears got another stellar showing from a rookie, second-round pick Mark Bradley. The former Oklahoma receiver had a Hall of Fame game record 131 yards on five receptions.
Another rookie QB, the Dolphins' Brock Berlin, marched his team to the 15 before being intercepted in the end zone by Jerrell Pippens in the final moments.
Saban, who left LSU after a highly successful career in college to rebuild the Dolphins, didn't get much from Williams. Indeed, there was nothing much reminiscent of the Marino days for the team coming off a 4-12 record, its first losing season since 1988.
Williams entered on Miami's second series and had a 2-yard run. He had another 2-yard run and gained 2 yards on a swing pass on which he stumbled during the next possession.
In the second period, Williams had runs of 3, 2 and minus-1. He finished with 8 yards on five carries.
That was it for the former rushing king, who will sit out the first four games of the regular season under an NFL suspension for violating the substance abuse policy.
''I didn't feel rusty,'' he said. ''I didn't expect anything, to be honest. I was like always when I play, it takes me a while to get warmed up. But I was seeing everything good and I felt good.''
After a very slow start, the Dolphins put together a couple of scoring drives in the second quarter. Gus Frerotte, who replaced A.J. Feeley late in the opening period when Feeley sustained a contusion of the buttocks, threw to Bryan Gilmore at the goal line. Gilmore had to turn almost completely around to snag the pass, falling into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
''It's funny,'' Frerotte said. ''I wasn't really throwing to him. It just kind of slipped off my hand and floated that way and he made a great catch.''
That made it 10-7 - Mare had a 33-yard field goal earlier in the quarter.
Chicago got a nice effort from its starting offense and defense in the first period. Thomas Jones, the starter with first-round pick Cedric Benson holding out, rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries, with a 1-yard TD run. That was set up by a 34-yard pass from Rex Grossman to Muhsin Muhammad, the prize free agent receiver the Bears signed in the offseason.
''I think this offense fits our personnel,'' Jones said, ''because we're a hard-nosed offense. I thought we were pretty efficient.''
Nick Novak kicked a 22-yard field goal, and Doug Brien made a 30-yarder to lift Chicago within 17-13, but Jason Glenn picked off a poor pass by Orton and ran it 26 yards for a TD with 10:30 remaining.
Orton bounced back with a beautiful 43-yard spiral to Ford, and then put together the winning drive.
Miami defensive end David Bowens twisted his left ankle, and Bears fullback Keith Belton hurt his left ankle in the first half.