Nothing seemed to click today for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they were upset 23-17 by the Chicago Bears. The Steelers were brutalized on all phases of the field, struggling offensively, defensively and special teams. A game filled with crazy and underachievement climaxed with a walk off 19-yard touchdown by Jordan Howard in overtime.
Though the team was in it until the end, the Steelers offense mustered barely 300 yards of offense, while the defense allowed over 100 yards rushing to Howard. Factor in a 4/11 third down success rate and you have recipe for a typical Steelers’ letdown.
The Steelers foreshadowed their struggles from the opening whistle. On the first play from scrimmage, Martavis Bryant had a sure touchdown pass fall right through his fingers. Receiving partner Eli Rogers would double down on the team’s early troubles, muffing a punt leading to a quick Bears’ touchdown. The first time all season the Steelers have trailed during a game.
A 13 play, 77-yard drive to open the second quarter tied the game at seven points a piece. It was the usual duo of Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown that evened the score – the wide receiver’s first touchdown of the season.
With the score now 14-7 in favor of the Bears, the Steelers looked to cut into the lead with a field goal before the half. Unfortunately, Chris Boswell’s kick was blocked and Bears’ cornerback Marcus Cooper recovered, with nothing standing between him and the end zone. But in paying homage to Super Bowl hero Leon Lett, Cooper slowed down before crossing the goal line and thanks to an incredible effort by McDonald, the Steelers tight end was able to strip the ball out of Cooper’s hands. The ball took a couple bounces into the end zone before Steelers’ punter Jordan Berry swatted it out of the back of end zone.
This was just the start of the crazy ordeals that followed.
Originally ruled the end of the half, head coach Mike Tomlin had sent his team into the locker room. A few minutes later, members of the Steelers’ defense were rushing back onto the field as the play had now been ruled Bears’ football with first and goal at the one-yard line. Luckily for the Steelers, a false start caused the Bears to reconsider, kicking a field goal instead. In what could have been a 21-7 deficit was now a 17-7 deficit for the Steelers.
This lucky break would be the turning point for a Steelers’ team that had limped through the first half. After Bear’s running back Jordan Howard fumbled to open up the third quarter, the Steelers were in an opportunistic position to get back into the game. After moving the ball to the one-yard line, Le’Veon Bell punched it in from the goal line to make a one possession game. Bell would finish the game with 61 yards rushing, still seeking his first 100-yard performance of the season.
A fourth quarter interception by Wilcox helped the Steelers tie this game at 17. Wilcox jumped in front of an errand pass by Glennon to record his first interception as a member of the Steelers’ roster. A field goal by Boswell would tie it at 17 but that would be for Tomlin’s Steelers as the team looks to regroup at 2-1.
For a unit filled with offensive firepower and defensive talent, the team has underperformed greatly, a trend that they hope to snap as they are due to take on the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at 1pm.