The tumbleweed of turmoil continues in Pittsburgh as the team drops their third straight game to start the season versus the revamped Bears. The score was pretty indicative of how the game went. Chicago really blew this game wide open in the first half, carrying leads of 17-0 and 24-3 at separate points in the first half. The Steelers were able to cut the game to a 27-23 margin at one point, but from that point forward the Bears shut the door.
The one thing I would really like to mention before this review gets any further is how great the Chicago Bears defense is. They returned two turnovers for touchdowns in this game; it is ridiculous how they seemingly are able to do this every week. Julius Peppers returned a fumble for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter (that was the play that officially put this game to rest) and Major Wright weaved his way into the end zone in the first half with a pick-six. The Bears created a total of five takeaways and scored 23 points off of them. They were also able to pick up three sacks of Big Ben Roethlisberger, which is no easy task. The bottom line here is that the Chicago defense won this game for them.
Despite my previous statement there was one offensive drive that changed this game. It took place about midway through the fourth quarter when the Bears were holding on to that slim 27-23 lead. On a 3rd and 10, Jay Cutler was able to use his athleticism to avoid a sack and scramble forward for a 13 yard gain and a first down. This guy does not shy away from contact either. He lowered the boom on Pittsburgh safety Robert Golden, knocking him backwards. Later on the drive on a 3rd and 12, Cutler heaved the ball down field to his best friend Brandon Marshall for a 41 yard completion. To finish the impressive drive the Bears’ QB made one of the greatest throws I have seen in a while towards the end zone. Earl Bennett made an extraordinary catch for a Chicago touchdown, pushing their lead to 11. Seriously, if you did not see this play you should check it out here.
The Steelers did a slightly better job running the ball in this game, but before they knew it they were in a 17 point hole and so it was hard to stay committed to the run. It is easy to criticize them for not trying to pound the ball more but if you are constantly playing catch-up, running the ball is almost pointless. Thus, Big Ben had to air it out, and air it out he did. He passed for a whopping 406 yards (most of them were not garbage yards). He found Antonio Brown nine times for 196 yards and two touchdowns; each of them were extremely special plays, especially the one handed catch in the back left corner of the end zone. Even with his two interceptions and two fumbles, I thought Ben Roethlisberger played pretty well. He was baiting the aggressive corners with pump fakes, and they were taking the cheese. He extended plays with his feet and strength in the pocket and was able to step out of a ton of sacks. The three he took were only a fraction of the amount many other quarterbacks would have taken. Roethlisberger didn’t have the greatest game, but I really thought his offensive line let him down.
The Bears are 3-0 thanks in large part to Marc Trestman’s new system. As of right now, the Bears look almost exactly the way they did last year, only with a better offense. If this team can continue this pace and really hit stride, they could be a scary team to face down the stretch. Chicago will head to Detroit to take on the Lions where they will look to go 2-0 in the division and 4-0 on the season. After eeking out a couple of close wins at home it must feel nice for Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman, and the Bears to win a game handily on the road. As of this point and time, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I really like what this team has been doing and I think they are one of the best teams in the league.