Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 3-0 (1-0)
1-2 (0-0) Green Bay Packers
0-3 (0-2) Minnesota Vikings
2-1 (1-0) Detroit Lions
The AFC North was generous to the Bears this week. The Bengals and the Browns beat the Packers and Vikings respectively. In addition, the Steelers lost to the Bears in Pittsburgh. All in all, a good weekend for the Bears
I was very impressed with how the offensive line held up in their first away game. They looked very good in the first quarter moving down the field and getting a field goal on the opening drive. Marshall was quiet this week, but Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett got in on some passing action. After the first half though, it seems that Mark Trestman pulled back his offense and was concentrating on ball security over scoring more points. It seems that the arrow is still pointing up and from the way the players are talking, Trestman still has a lot of plays that we haven't seen yet.
There were 5 turnovers, 2 pick sixes, and some hits behind the line of scrimmage that made me wonder if the Steelers carry a change of pants with them. The defense was able to get pressure on the quarterback, but often had to do it with blitzes. The front 4 still isn't getting consistent pressure and to make matters worse, Henry Melton is out for the season with a torn ACL. I feel especially bad for him since he was playing under the franchise tag and very possibly may be done as a Bear. With his recovery projected for sometime in the spring, his stock is not going to be very high next year when he hits free agency. Anyway, sorry for the derail. I'm still a bit worried about the Bears defense. The 5 takeaways were wonderful, but they're giving up way too many big plays every game. If they can't find a way to get good pressure with their front 4, it's going to put a lot of pressure on our secondary and our offense.
Our special teams group was very quiet this week. The Steelers were probably scared off a bit by Hester's performance last week so they only allowed him to return 2 kickoffs. I expect teams to forget about him again in a week or 2 so we should see some good returns in the near future. On a special teams side note. I watched a few games this weekend and I noticed a lot of kickoffs being fielded just short of the endzone. It could have been bad kicks, the weather, or avoiding particular returners, but I wonder if it might be a trend towards trying to pin a team with a kickoff. Last year with the new kickoff rule, it was easy for teams to blast the ball out the back of the end zone for a touch back, but I wonder if teams are now playing with the short distance in the same way as a directional punt. Trying not to automatically give the other team 20 yards. It'll be something to pay attention to in the coming weeks.
Play of the game
This game had so many amazing plays. To name a few: Either one of the pick 6s, Matt Forte's long run, the defense slamming through the Pittsburgh line to tackle for a loss, and Earl Bennett's amazing TD catch. My favorite one though has to be when Jay Cutler ran for 13 yards on 3rd and 10 and instead of sliding like everyone expected him to, he plowed over the Steelers' safety and knocked him on his butt. I love having a QB who's not afraid to take a hit.
Up next are the Lions in Detroit. This is going to be a tough game. The Lions were much better than their record indicated last year, and they are going to be hungry to knock the Bears out of first place in the division at home. I think this is going to be a shoot out between quarterbacks. Trestman, time to open up that playbook a bit more. BEAR DOWN!!!