Live blitz the blitz and die by the blitz.
The Bears D gave up eleven total plays over 20 yards! ELEVEN!!! Three of those were over 30 yards and one was over 40 yards. That is simply unacceptable.
Think about that for a moment; the Bears defense outscored six NFL teams on Sunday. SIX! How do you think fans of the Giants, Cardinals, Bucs, Rams, Texans and 49ers are feeling right about now?
If I have to choose a takeaway machine with an appetite for scoring that gives up a ton of yards or a team that doesn’t give up many yards but is average in terms of takeaways and big plays, I’m not sure what I would choose. If I was guaranteed that the big play opportunistic D was going to maintain their opportunistic ways throughout the year, I would definitely choose the takeaway machine with an appetite for scoring, if there is no guarantee, I might have to choose the D that doesn’t give up many yards.
So far, this short season has been defined by a team that just doesn’t quit. That is a quality I have to credit Trestman for. In the 4Q, when the Bears needed to stop the bleeding so-to-speak, Cutler and the offense calmly drove down the field and scored a touchdown. On the drive, they converted three 3rd down and longs; Cutler’s infamous 12 yard run where he trucked over Steelers Safety Robert Golden, a beautiful 41 yard back shoulder throw to Brandon Marshall and a perfectly placed corner of the end zone throw to Earl Bennett for the touchdown.
The Bennett touchdown was initially ruled incomplete but Trestman had his guys look at the play and “it was unanimous” that he (Trestman) should challenge the ruling on the field. This was a big moment for the “young” Head Coach. If he loses the challenge it is 4th down and 5 yards to go. The Bears were only leading by 4 points and there was almost 6 minutes left in the game, which was more than enough time for the Steelers to do some damage.
Fortunately the officials saw the same thing the rest of America saw and reversed the decision on the field, and in the words of Jeff Joniak: TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN BEARS!
Marc Trestman is now 2/3 in challenges as an NFL Head Coach.
One more defensive touchdown by Julius Peppers on a fumble return was just the icing on the cake of a 40-23 Bears victory.
Each and every game I see some things that make me scratch my head in confusion, like where the offense went for two entire quarters. But I have also seen some great things like three 4th quarter drives to either win the game or seal the deal on a win, which were hallmarked by calmness, composure and big plays.
I see a team whose players believe in one another and it seems to be paying off. The Bears did not have any turnovers on offense; the coaches talk about taking care of the football all the time. Jay Cutler even mentioned not wanting to give [the Steelers] anything easy by giving up a turnover. The Bears also did not have a pre snap penalty for the 3rd straight week (I don’t count the delay of game since it looked like it was planned) and only have eleven penalties for the entire season.
This is a detail oriented, disciplined football team and I attribute that the Trestman and his staff.
The Bears do have some issues going forward. What will they do to address the hole in the middle of the D-Line with Henry Melton going on IR with a torn ACL? How do the Bears shore up the offense and make sure there are no more lulls in the action? How do the Bears stop other teams from gaining big chunks of yards and sustaining drives?
The Bears have a big test this week in the Detroit Lions. The game is in Detroit and it’s for 1st place in the division. I believe this game will be a bigger test than the Steelers were in the young season. Let’s hope Trestman and the Bears are up to the task.