It was a soggy, sloppy home opener for the Chicago Bears, but that just accounts for the field conditions. The outcome, however, was bright and sunny as the Bears sent their fans home happy with a 17-14 win against the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite the loss of the heart and soul of their defense Brian Urlacher, the Bears held the Steelers to 14 points and pulled off an improbable win. Week 1 scapegoat Jay Cutler shined in the fourth quarter, leading the Bears to the win behind 10 unanswered points. If you missed the game, you can check out the highlights here or better yet, go check out my live blog running account of the game at Bears Game Day on ChicagoNow.com.
The way the Steelers came out of the blocks, it appeared as though it was going to be a long day at the office for the Bears and their defense. Ben Roethlisberger marched the Steelers on a 92-yard 5 minute scoring drive capped off by a TD pass to Matt Spaeth.
Meanwhile, the Bears offense looked tight and out of sync. Just to get an idea of how things went, they didn’t get a first down the entire first quarter. But the Bears D capitalized on a Big Ben INT to keep things close as the Steelers continued to move the ball. A couple of drives later, Cutler connected with backup tight end Kellen Davis to tie the score.
It felt like the Steelers were in control through much of the game, but the Bears and their defense just hung around. After Roethlisberger dove for a rushing TD of his own late in the 3rd, it felt like the defense was wearing down. That seemed especially true as the Steelers set Jeff Reed up for a a score that would have put the visitors up 10. The usually reliable Reed pushed it and kept the Bears within a single score.
The 4th quarter belonged to Cutler. He found his groove, connecting with Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and his tight ends when it mattered most. He hit Jackass (I promise I’ll stop calling him that one of these days) for a TD pass with 6:25 left in the 4th to tie the score at 14. Another drive by the Steelers came up empty as Reed missed the potential game winner with just over 3 minutes left.
Cutler marched the Bears down and as usual, the Bears got conservative with the play calling and set it up for a Robbie Gould field goal that turned out to be the game winner.
- Cutler with zero interceptions and was on point in the 4th quarter when it mattered most.
- What Cutler was to the offense, Alex Brown was to the defense in the 4th quarter. He was a force! I usually don’t like the Gator chop, but I caught myself doing it on his Roesthlisberger sack.
- Johnny Knox took advantage of his opportunities and could be a star in the making. The kid is crazy fast and is starting to develop a chemistry with Cutler. With the Bears desperate for receiver help, this kid is stepping up.
- Robbie Gould getting it done as usual. Can’t underestimate the level of difficulty on his game winner on that joke that the Bears call a field.
- The Bears must be missing the running bus. You know the one that they get off of running the football. Matt Forte only had 13 attempts for 29 yards.
- Tommie Harris was nowhere to be seen until late in the 4th. Unofficial stats show him with 1 tackle. That’s just not good enough for the 3-technique tackle in this defense.
- Jeff Reed misses 2 field goals. Good for us, bad for them, but overall, just bad.
- The field. If the playing surface is that bad in Week 2, what’s it going to look like in December? I heard a great point during the post game wrapup. The Bears are a team built for speed at every position. The defense is predicated on speed. You’ve got burners at the wide receiver positions and yet you’ve got them all running on a sloppy track. It’s time to fix this. Now.
Lots more coverage throughout the week. Next week, I head out for my annual “Bears Trip” to go to a road game and this year, it’s Seattle. I’ll be bringing the action from the Emerald City next weekend, but plenty more this week. Enjoy a Victory Monday!!!
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