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Friday, September 20, 2013

Bears Will Have to Scratch Out Victory Against Steelers

The Chicago Bears are rolling, snatching victory in their first two games of the 2013 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are reeling, having lost to the lowly Tennessee Titans and to division rivals Cincinnati Bengals.


But I don't think for one minute that the Bears are going to stroll into Heinz Field and walk away with a victory without breaking a sweat Sunday night. This is going to be a tough one for the Bears. The Steelers have their backs against a wall and need a victory badly at home.


I'm curious to see how new head coach Marc Trestman handles the rigors of the road coaching his first NFL game away from Soldier Field as the ringleader. So far he's done just about everything right and kept a level head since the day he was hired. I don't think he'll be too rattled, but it will be a good test for him.


I've been waiting for that game where the two rookie offensive lineman - Kyle Long at right guard and Jordan Mills at right tackle - have a long day. It hasn't happened, yet, but it very well could this week. Despite their woes, the Steelers have a tough defense, and the pair of rookies have yet to face a 3-4 defense in an NFL. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau does a good job of hiding blitzes and confusing linemen, so Long and Mills can expect to see a lot of weird, new stuff Sunday night.
The pair have performed better than I expected so far, but I just know they are going to have a rough game real soon. LeBeau knows whose playing on the right side of the Bears o-line, and I'm sure he's been licking his chops to show them how big boy NFL defenses work.


The Steelers still have Ben Roethlisberger behind center, and he can make things happen. The Steelers offense has been awful during the first two games. They can't run the ball and Roethlisberger has a corps of receivers that doesn't impress. The line is rotten, too. That whole unit is just a mess right now.
How long will Todd Haley last as OC over there?


Luckily for the Steelers, the Bears defensive line has done absolutely nothing other than show up on game day and take the field. It's been just two games, but if they can't get behind the line of scrimmage and after Roethlisberger in this game against that o-line, I'm going to start worrying about that unit. Between Henry Melton and Julius Peppers alone, the Bears are dropping about $22 million this season. It's time for that investment to start paying dividends.


Even if they do get to Roethlisberger, it's tough to get him to the ground. He's a big guy who won't go down easily, so the Bears most likely won't stuff the stat sheet with sacks this week, either.
Still, if the line gets at Roethlisberger, there's a better chance of getting turnovers, which the Bears have been very good at doing so far.


One advantage the Steelers typically have is that visiting teams usually don't play on surfaces as lousy as Heinz Field. It's not so much an advantage when the Bears come to town. They play on Soldier Field which could vie Heinz as the worst playing surface in the NFL.


I expect this matchup to be a low-scoring affair. Bears QB Jay Cutler has won both games this season with fourth-quarter drives. Last week's against the Vikings was in the very last minutes of the game. He looked cool, composed and in complete control - which is a side of Jay Cutler we've rarely seen here in Chicago. Against the Steelers defense, in their building, Cutler might have to become Mr. 4th Quarter again to pull this one out. It would be great to see him do it on the road.


I fully expect the Bears to pull this one out and move ahead to 3-0 if only because the Steelers have yet to find any way to score points. But it isn't going to be easy.

by Casey Moffitt
@MrCaseyMoffitt

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