OK, Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s time to stop toying with my emotions. I can’t take it anymore. Sunday night’s 40-23 loss at home to the Chicago Bears dropped the Steelers to 0-3. And it wasn’t pretty.
The game began like a dream. Felix Jones began the Steelers offense with a beautiful running play for 11 yards (after the team only racked up 75 rushing yards in the first two games). And then, as if from a nightmare, BenRoethlisberger fumbled the ball, handing to it the Bears who marched it down the field for a touchdown. Ah, well.
The first half was riddled with the same old mistakes we have seen all season (for examples, see my various articles about them here, here, and even here). Although the majority of the responsibility sat squarely on the Steelers, the Bears did their part to make it difficult for them. For example, one thing about Jay Cutler made it very difficult on the Steelers defense: how quickly he released the ball.
A combination of his quick release and an active Bears offensive line ensured that the Steelers had very few shots at Cutler himself. However, it was the Steelers themselves who had the major issues. By halftime, they were trailing 24-10, and Roethlisberger had turned the ball over twice. Things were looking bleak.
But then something amazing happened in the second half: the Steelers began to look like their old selves (well, at least after Jones fumbled the ball during the second-half opening series). The offense came alive after that, moving effectively down the field and coming back within four points of Chicago. It was nice to see that familiar rhythm to the team that has been missing for awhile now.
But the Steelers were not done beating themselves, turning the ball over three more times. Ultimately, the mistakes were too much to overcome. Overall, the Steelers committed five turnovers, four that led directly to 23 points for the Bears. That kind of sloppy play will continue to reverse any improvements on offense that the Steelers experience, so they must make that the priority before anything else.
The Steelers take on the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern at London’s Wembley Stadium.