Chicago Bears hit road to take on Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field
- Updated: September 20, 2013
For the first time this year—and first time ever under head coach Marc Trestman—the Chicago Bears (2-0) hit the road to experience the joys of playing in a hostile environment. Though the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) do not appear to be a formidable opponent, the Bears can take nothing for granted at Heinz Field and must show up prepared for a physical, grind-it-out game that will not be easy.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Here are some keys to the game that will help ensure the Chicago Bears leave Pittsburgh with a shiny 3-0 record.
Dominate on defense
Pittsburgh’s offense has been terrible so far. Through two games, they have scored a total of 17 offensive points while gaining a meager 472 yards of offense. Their running game has been particularly atrocious, gaining a total of 75 yards on 31 carries (2.4 yards per carry). Their offensive line has surrendered seven sacks.
With injuries to key players like Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and starting running back LeVeon Bell, this unit simply doesn’t have the firepower to be a dynamic offense.
It can be argued that the only above-average player Pittsburgh has on offense right now is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Chicago Bears should focus their defensive attention on making his life as miserable as possible.
Unfortunately, Chicago’s defensive line has struggled through two games, notching only two sacks and bringing minimal quarterback pressure.
Nevertheless, they should be able to have a breakout performance against this sub-par run game and offensive line should. Roethlisberger is a big man (6’5”, 240 pounds) who is difficult to bring down, so it will be essential for the defensive line to play through the whistle and work hard to finish plays.
The easiest way for Pittsburgh to win this game will be to score points on defense or at least force turnovers that set the offense up in excellent field position. It will be essential for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler—who has turned the ball over four times through two games—to avoid these mistakes.
The Steelers have only given up 36 points through two games, so it will not be easy for the Bears to score. With an anemic Pittsburgh offense on the other side, the Chicago Bears offense likely won’t have to put up 30 points to win, but they need to be careful not to hurt their cause by giving the Steelers easy scoring opportunities.
Communicate along the line
An important part of avoiding turnovers is getting solid play from the offensive line, which will help keep the quarterback from being hurried and forced into bad throws. The Chicago Bears offensive line has generally done a good job of this through two games, but playing on the road will be a whole new challenge for them.
Crowd noise will make communication — in particular, relaying pre-snap audibles — more difficult, especially on the right side, where rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills are heavily dependent on instructions from veteran center Roberto Garza. Add in that this is the first 3-4 defense they have faced this season, and this could be a recipe for disaster. A costly miscommunication or two could easily result in an unblocked blitzer, which could lead to a big play for Pittsburgh’s defense that could help them win a close game.
One area where the Chicago Bears appear to have a clear advantage is special teams, thanks to the return to prominence of return man Devin Hester. Through two games, Hester appears to be on a roll, having returned six kickoffs for 280 yards and a cool 46.7-yard average.
His efforts in Week 2 earned him the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award for the thirteenth time in his illustrious career. Add in the fact that eight of Hester’s 19 career return touchdowns have come in primetime games, and it’s certain to say that Chicago Bears fans will be on the edge of their seats every time Hester touches the ball on Sunday night.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is certainly aware of Hester, saying he wants to “try to limit (his) exposure to (Hester).” I’m sure Pittsburgh will punt and kick away from him as much as they can. which will in and of itself help Chicago’s field position, but one big return could easily be the deciding factor in this game.
This should be a hard-hitting, physical game that features a lot of defensive highlights but not many points. The Chicago Bears clearly appear to be the better team thanks to a decidedly better offense (how weird is it to say that?), but Pittsburgh is at home and desperate to avoid going 0-3. It won’t be easy for Chicago, but I simply don’t see the Steelers scoring enough points to win. The Chicago Bears win ugly in a close game for the third week in a row.
Chicago Bears 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
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Interesting Injury list for the Saints:
Ex-NFL star Brian Holloway may be sued by parents of teens who allegedly trashed his upstate NY home.
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at this rate the Eagles will run the equivalent of 24 games worth of plays, they'll wear themselves out by the end of the year
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