- The Bears did a good job against the Steelers run and did a reasonable job of containing Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers did better running the ball in the second half.
- As expected, the Steelers attacked the Bears corners deep on the outside. The Bears tried to stay in a 2 deep zone but Pittsburgh receivers were constantly gone at them when in man coverage. They seemed to be particularly attacking Marcus Cooper. Fortunately the coverage was generally better than last week.
- The zone defense was generally effective today. The Steelers weren’t executing all that well and you have to do that if you are going to dink and dunk down the field.
- John Time saw some playing time and made some plays.
- I thought Ben Roethlisberger struggled with his accuracy a bit more than usual this game. He did a great job extending plays, though, and completed a number of passes that you couldn’t imagine, say, Mike Glennon making.
- Generally speaking the Bears needed to get more pressure on Roethlisberger. It wasn’t awful and in fairness, Roethlisberger was often getting the ball out quick as they tried to pick apart the Bears zone with short passing. But they generally just weren’t getting to him quickly enough.
- Kudos to Pernell McPhee with a huge sac in the fourth quarter with the Steelers driving.
- As I watched the Bears defense today I really wish they had more team speed. It just seemed like the Steelers were getting too many yards after the catch before Bears defenders could get to them. The good news is that the tackling was generally good, something that’s essential if you are going to play that way.
- Somewhat to my surprise, the Steelers decided to play double tight end offensive sets with seven in the box. There’s really nothing to fear from the Bears passing game and there’s no reason not to bring down an eighth guy. Eventually they started crashing the line of scrimmage in the second half.
- Bears responded by running the ball. They scored after the Steelers muffed punt in the first quarterly running the ball six times straight with no passes. They had some success with misdirection.
- Whenever the Bears did try to pass it was generally a disaster. Glennon was in constant trouble in apparently in large part because no one was open. They did score an wide open Adam Shaheen touchdown on a nice play action pass.
- Jordan Howard ran very well, today. He may have been a bit upset at his lack of production in the first two games. He ran extremely hard and demonstrated some of that vision he had last year.
- Howard and Tarik Cohen make quite a one-two punch in the backfield with their different running styles. Both did a nice job of cutting back today, though I think the Steelers did a better job of stopping that in the second half.
- The Bears seem to be having a hard time just snapping the ball this year. Hronis Grasu had a low snap on a critical third down in the first quarter. Whitehair had a bad snap in the fourth quarter.
- I thought it was interesting that the Bears started Grasu at center with Cody Whitehair at guard instead of Tom Compton at guard. The Bears brought in Bradley Sowell at guard rather than bringing in Compton. Compton had a bad game last week.
- Anybody seen Dion Sims?
- Steelers did not do a particularly good job of tacking as both Cohen and Howard made a lot of important yardage after contact. I think the Bears wore them down by the time over time hit.
- Greg Gumbel was OK but Trent Green was a disappointment. He didn’t add much to the broadcast.
- Bears kicker Connor Barth is doing a better job of kicking off. He’s getting the ball into the end zone a lot since the Bears brought in competition for him in training camp. He missed a 47 yard field goal, though. On the Steelers side, a muffed punt in the first quarter led to a Bears touchdown. Marcus Cooper pulled a boneheaded play by slowing down short of the goal line and allowing the Steelers to knock the ball out from behind on a blocked field goal. After much tumult, the Bears got a field goal instead of the touchdown Cooper should have scored.
- The Bears struggles covering the Steelers wide receivers caused a number of penalties. Kyle Fuller had a pass interference in the first quarter and Bryce Callahan had an illegal contact. Marcus Cooper had a very damaging holding call midway through the third quarter. That gave the Steelers a fresh set of downs form the 3 yard line. They scored a touchdown. Charles Leno had a really bad false start on first and goal from the one at the end of the half. That resulted in a field goal instead of a touchdown. Roy Robertson-Harris had a crushing holding call, taking a good Tarik Cohen return back nearly 40 yards. The Steelers had their share of penalties as well. They had an illegal shift and a roughing the passer in the first quarter. There were a variety of little pre-snap penalties on both sides throughout the game, especially the Bears. All and all it was pretty sloppy.
- This was a disastrous game for Marcus Wheaton as he dropped at least 3 passes. Zack Miller had a drop. This is becoming an epidemic. Generally speaking, tough to win football games this way.
- For the Steelers, Eli Rogers muffed a punt which was recovered by Sherrick McManis. That led to a Bears touchdown. Roethlisberger fumbled the ball after holding the ball too long an a Bears blitz. That led to a Bears missed field goal but it may have cost the Steelers 3 points. On the other side, Jordan Howard lost a fumble that eventually turned into a Steeler touchdown. Glennon three a back breaking interception to J.J. Wilcox in the fourth quarter deep in Bears territory. That led to a game tying field goal.
- The Bears tried so hard to lose this game. They had a better team come into town and try everything they could to hand the game to them, especially early, with multiple turnovers and mistakes. The ball bounced their way all game. And yet they failed so often to take advantage. Penalties, their own turnovers, poor offensive and in some cases special teams play in the clutch. Once the Steelers adjusted at half time by crashing more men to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, points were tough to come by. Chicago wide receivers: 1 pass caught for 9 yards (Deonte Thompson).
Yet they still managed to pull it out with good defensive play despite repeated mistakes by the other units. Kudos to the Bears for the win and for running the ball effectively in over time. But, really should this have even been close?