The Steelers trail 17-7 heading into the second half after giving up seven points off an early turnover when Eli Rogers muffed a punt that put the Bears deep into Pittsburgh’s side of the field. Pittsburgh eventually responded with a nice-looking touchdown drive, but the Bears matched it with some dominant running and then a wide-open touchdown against the goal-line package.
The offense came back with another solid drive to end the half and set up a field goal, but it was blocked and returned for nearly-a-touchdown, short of Vance McDonald stripping the ball out of the defender’s hands before he crossed the goal line because he slowed too early.
Jordan Berry was flagged for an illegal batting penalty, knocking the ball out of the end zone, which gave the Bears possesion at the spot of the fumble, plus half the distance to the goal, which put it at the half-yard line, but after a false start, they just settled for a field goal.
Returning the kickoff from the goal line, the Bears took the ball out past the 20-yard line. Off play action Mike Glennon hit Jordan Howard in the flat, but Bud Dupree was there for the stop after two yards. Pressure from Ryan Shazier helped influence Howard being chased out of bounds for a loss of four on second down. Now third and 12, Zach Miller, the tight end, could not hold on to the pass, short of the first down, with William Gay in solid coverage.
Rogers was back to return the punt, taking it on a bounce and getting hammered after doing so with no return. Jesse James returned, but Ramon Foster remains out entering the second half.
Le’Veon Bell got the first offensive touch of the half, picking up four yards on the ground. Bell was hit immediately after a short pass for four yards. He now has the most receptions by any player in franchise history through his first 50 games. Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown in tight coverage for the key conversion.
From the 45, It was Brown again, going up in tight coverage again for a 10-yard reception, falling down inbounds. A bullet pass for JuJu Smith-Schuster was off-target and incomplete with a linebacker dropping into the throwing lane. Roethlisberger looked for Martavis Bryant deep down the field, by the cornerback nearly picked it off instead. Struggling to find an open receiver on third and 10, he threw a bit of a lame duck pass off his back foot for an incompletion. He was flexing his throwing hand on the sideline after that. Jordan Berry’s punt went for a touchback.
After a five-yard gain on first down, Howard looked as though he may have lost possession of the football before his knee was down, recovered by Shazier. It was reviewed by the booth and determined that…it was indeterminable. The ruling on the field stood as a recovered fumble.
Taking over now from the 16, Bell got the draw and picked up about four yards. Roethlisberger was off-target looking for Bryant streaking across the back of the end zone. On third and six, the quarterback scrambled for the needed yardage, setting up first and goal. Despite being double-covered tightly, Roethlisberger targeted Jesse James on a throw that was fortunate to have been just incomplete. On second down, Bell on a draw left was able to get to the one-yard line.
Going five wide on third and one, Roethlisberger had nobody to throw to, so he just threw it to Brown, and it netted a defensive holding penalty, first and goal at the half-yard line. On second or third effort, Bell recorded his first touchdown of the season, bringing the Steelers back into the game at 17-14.
The Steelers missed a run gap on first down, leaving a big hole for Howard. He fell on his right shoulder and exited the game after a long gain. Tarik Cohen was hit in the backfield by Javon Hargrave for a loss of one, making a nice play. A dumpoff to Cohen got to the edge to set up a manageable third down. A missed tackle on a screen to Cohen allowed him to dive for the first down on the Steelers’ side of the field.
The diminutive back was bottled up at the line of scrimmage on the ground, but was able to make Shazier miss in open space for eight on a reception. On third and two, Howard checked back in and got the first down with a 15-yard gain.
From the 25, Dupree was able to catch the back behind the line for a loss of four. Hargrave notched his second sack of the year, making his third and 21. Anthony Chickillo was held, and the defense chose to accept the penalty off an incompletion rather than make it fourth down in long field goal range. On third and 31, Cohen on the draw only made it to the 42-yard line, forcing the Bears to punt to start the fourth quarter.
After a fair catch at the 10-yard line, Bell continued to struggle finding running room, limited to two yards on first down. Off some misdirection, Roethlsiberger found Bell out of a five-wide set for first-down yardage to get the drive started. At the 24, he was caught from behind running right, again for just a two-yard gain. Smith-Schuster picked up about 25 yards on a reception to the left.
At midfield, another misdirection pass went to James to the right, getting five yards. Bell was stopped after two yards up the middle. On third and three, Roethlisberger seemed to pass over an open receiver, ended up taking a sack instead. Yet another fair catch forced by Darrius Heyward-Bey did pin the Bears deep in their own territory, able to flip the field after starting from the nine.
Shazier made the stop at the line of scrimmage on first down. Howard stayed down again after that carry and walked off the field, likely done for the day. Cohen somewhere leaked out for a few yards despite the defense looking set up for a stop. Now third and seven, Glennon’s pass was low and behind his target, intercepted by J.J. Wilcox.
Taking over at the 21, Roethlisberger looked for Bell leaking into the flat, but it was off his hands and bounced dangerously into the air, though fell incomplete. Bell picked up about eight on a draw to set up a third and two. Roethlisberger passed up the underneath receiver for what should have been a first down, instead looking for Bryant at the goal line, the pass being defensed, but Boswell did manage to tie the game.
Hargrave got pressure on Glennon on first down, but he was able to get the pass out to Howard for six. After a false start, a reverse draw from Howard was stopped for a loss of two. On third and 16 after another false start, the pass was thrown well shy of the sticks and the defense held to force a punt. The ball took a Steelers bounce out at the 37-yard line, setting up a potential game-winning drive with about five minutes to play.
A flag on Hubbard negated one of the better runs of the day for six yards. Now first and 20, Bell got the carry again on a draw, leaping over a defender to pick up a nice gain of 13. Bell out in the flat only picked up one yard on the reception, his fifth of the game. On third and six, Roethlisberger couldn’t get enough air on the ball to float it to Brown, the cornerback going up and able to get hands on the ball to deflect the pass away.
Berry’s punt only made it to the 20, and the coverage didn’t get there in time, allowing a return out to midfield. But a hold was enforced at the spot of the beginning of the return, instead pushing them back to around the 10, about a 40-yard swing.
From the nine, Howard, still in, was stopped after a one-yard gain. Shazier made a beautiful tackle on a dump off over the middle to limit the gain to three. On third and six, Glennon was able to find Bennie Cunningham late in the play in space to get the first down.
At the 25, a quick pass over the middle to Cohen added nine. After a fumble and incompletion on second down, a dumpoff to Cunningham picked up about eight yards, setting up fourth and two. Rogers fair caught the ball at the 15 with 52 seconds and one timeout remaining.
A shovel pass picked up four to Bell with the clock running. A quick pass to Brown to the 32 preceded the final timeout with 22 seconds remaining. Roethlisberger was sacked on the following play to force overtime.
The Bears won the toss to begin overtime and naturally chose to receive. The Steelers kicked short of the end zone to try to stop Chicago short of the 25, but they got out to the 26 instead.
Howard, still in, was stuffed on first down for a short gain. Unbelievably, the officials missed a blatant holding call on a very long run by Cohen that nearly ended the game if not for the officials ruling the runner out of bounds at the 37-yard line of the Steelers.
Burns failed to fill the run gap for another big gain by Howard, Mitchell hitting him hard out of bounds at the 19. Howard finished the Steelers off with another big run by Howard off the left sideline for the score, dropping Pittsburgh to 2-1 on the season. Burns was held on the play, but as is the theme of the overtime session, it was not called.