The Pittsburgh Steelers will be donning their color rush jerseys for the first time this season hosting the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The Steelers have a good history of games on MNF at home dating back to 1991. They have won 19 straight at home on Monday Night Football. They have an opportunity to hold serve with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North with a win over the Bears.
The Bears will be under-manned a bit as their defensive superstar, Khalil Mack, will be absent from the game and safety Eddie Jackson is doubtful for the game. After what Myles Garrett accomplished last week against Dan Moore Jr., the Mack’s absence is likely a welcomed site for the rookie. The hidden “loser” in this situation is Zach Banner who has yet to be active on gameday. With Mack out, it is less likely Moore will be beat badly two weeks in a row, possibly extending the amount of time Zach Banner has to wait in the wings.
The Bears will be returning an offensive weapon as David Montgomery will pair up with Khalil Herbert to form a nice one-two punch. It remains to be seen the division of labor between the two backs, but with a mobile quarterback, the Steelers defense will have to respect a variety of looks in the rushing attack.
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Steelers Inactive Players
TE Eric Ebron
QB Dwayne Haskins
ILB Buddy Johnson
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
T Zach Banner
RB Anthony McFarland
Bears Inactive Players
QB Nick Foles
TE J.P. Holtz
LB Khalil Mack
RB Damien Williams
S Eddie Jackson
CB Artie Burns
ILB Alec Ogletree
After a streak of starting the game on offense, the Steelers will start with their defense out on the field after winning the toss.
START OF GAME
The Bears start out after the kickoff with a pair of runs to David Montgomery, who just came off IR. Five yards between the two runs and Jason Peters is down injured on the play for Chicago. On the first 3rd down of the night, Justin Fields threw just short of the marker to Allen Robinson. He slipped as he caught the ball and the Bears will punt.
Pittsburgh will start with great field position after a below average punt was returned 14 yards to the 41 yard line.
Ben incomplete to Chase Claypool on 1st down in heavy traffic. Illegal use of hands to the face on the Bears, so a free first down for the Steelers.
Najee Harris gets the ball on first down this time, trying to go towards Chukwuma Okorafor, but being stopped for a gain of only one. Diontae Johnson got the short pass on 2nd, brought down for a gain of 1. The beginning of that 3rd down play looked ugly, as Ray-Ray McCloud got tripped up in motion in the backfield. Ben stood tall in the pocket and hit Chase Claypool for 26 yards.
Najee Harris gets the ball on first down once more, this time for three yards. James Washington getting involved in the game plan early with a handoff for 12 yards and another first down. Being able to get the ball into the hands of several different players on those looks is important.
Now at first and goal from the 10, Ben hands off to Najee who shows good patience to the whole. He found his crease and ran it in for a touchdown. 7-0 Steelers.
The Bears getting no help on special teams, starting from their own 11 after a great special teams tackle by Derek Watt. A false start on the first play, so they now start from the 6 yard line. Justin Fields scrambled on first down for a gain of 8 to erase the penalty. The Bears call their first timeout.
After the break, Justin Fields with a nice throw to Allen Robinson for the first down, but illegal formation gets called and they come back for 2nd and 12.
Joe Haden ran step for step with Marquise Goodwin and the ball sailed a little long on the deep pass attempt. 3rd and 12, and Terrell Edmunds tackles the catch after Alex Highsmith puts pressure on Fields in the pocket. Two three-and-outs for the night already for the Steelers defense.
Ray-Ray McCloud lets the ball bounce on the punt before picking it up and running it 6 yards for near identical starting field position as last time. This time on the 42 yard line.
Najee Harris on the sidelines for the first play of the series. On 1st, Ben targets Pat Freiermuth in the middle, but it was dropped with poor placement from Ben. A little shovel pass to Pat Freiermuth on 2nd picks up 9 to set up 3rd and manageable. Najee puts on his helmet and gets in the game on 3rd down. Najee shakes off the defender in the backfield and picks up the necessary yardage for the first down.
Ben Roethlisberger takes a 5 yard sack at the hands of Robert Quinn. Dan Moore was beat soundly by the speed rush. Najee Harris goes up the middle on 2nd down for 2 yards to set up 3rd and 13. Just outside of field goal range, a pickup of 10-12 yards here might mean the Steelers go for it. Najee Harris off the field again with Kalen Ballage in the game. James Washington targeted, but in tight coverage for the incompletion. The Steelers now will now punt. Pressley Harvin III with a decent boot, fair caught at the 12 yard line.
David Montogomery starts of the series digging the Bears out of their field position hole with an explosive play for 21 yards.
On first, Montgomery gets the ball again for a gain of two. Taco Charlton making the stop. He has played a handful of snaps now spelling Alex Highsmith. Justin Fields keeps the ball on second down, scrambling for the first down.
On first, TJ Watt comes from behind to tackle Justin Fields for a -1 yard run. Cameron Heyward intercepted the ball at the line of scrimmage. He leads the league in batted down passes, and this time he gets his hands on one. A big play for the defensive captain.
Najee Harris gets the ball on first down for a gain of seven yards, using a stiff arm to avoid getting tackled in the backfield. Najee gets the ball again on 2nd and 3rd, coming up just short of the line to gain. The Steelers are well within field goal range for Chris Boswell. The offense comes back out and Najee Harris picks up 2 yards to convert on 4th and 1.
END OF QUARTER ONE: 7-0 STEELERS.
Benny Snell Jr. in for the first carry of the quarter for five yards. Offsetting personal fouls for Kendrick Green and Blackson of the Bears. Ben Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson’s back shoulder in tight coverage. An excellent catch by Diontae.
First and goal, and Chase Claypool caught the ball for 5 yards. The Steelers caught the Bears with one too many people on the field, so it will be 1st and goal from the 5. Incomplete to Chase Claypool on first short to the right side of the field in the end zone. It was potentially interceptable. On second down, Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball away out of the back of the end zone on 2nd down. Pittsburgh takes their first timeout of the half.
The Steelers will have a chance on 3rd down, and then a decision to make to go for the touchdown or settle for the field goal. Lets hope that is not a decision they have to make. Ben Roethlisberger drops back and uses a pump fake and his eyes to influence the defense before turning and hitting Freiermuth in the end zone for the touchdown. 14-0 Steelers.
The Steelers just scored their first touchdown of the season following a turnover after Cameron Heyward’s interception.
Khalil Herbert checks into the game with his first carry of the night, picking up 1 yard stopped by Alex Highsmith. Justin Fields incomplete to Marquise Goodwin over the middle as Minkah Fitzpatrick punished the route over the middle. Fields bailed out of the pocket and tried to run the ball himself on third down, but Minkah Fitzpatrick hits him hard again before he went out of bounds short. Another three-and-out for this defense.
Ray-Ray McCloud caught this punt and ran laterally before getting tackled for the Steelers worst starting field position of the night at the 17 yard line.
On first down, Chase Claypool gets tackled at the line of scrimmage on the quick screen. Najee Harris found a hole on 2nd down for a pickup of 8 yards, but Kevin Dotson was called for holding. On 2nd and 18, Najee Harris gets the ball again for 4 yards, to set up third and long. Ben checked down to Pat Freiermuth in the flat well short of the sticks taken for 7 yards. Pressley Harvin’s punt went for only 32 yards as it shanked off the side of his foot. One of the few negative outcomes on the day so far for the Steelers.
The Bears get by far their best starting field position right around the 50 yard line.
Cole Kmet delivering an explosive play for Chicago on first down for 25 yards through the air.
Khalil Herbert gets the carry on 1st, up the middle tackled by Alex Highsmith for a gain of two. TJ Watt notches his second sack of the night with a huge loss to Justin Fields as he didn’t detect the pressure. 3rd and 19 coming for the Bears. The defense responding very well to the Harvin shanked punt. A completion of 15 yards, but ineligible man downfield for the Bears. The Steelers accept the penalty to make it 3rd and 24, but give the Bears another chance to convert. Cole Kmet overthrown in the deep middle. 4th and 23, and a punt upcoming.
The Steelers start deep in their own territory again after a fair catch at the 10 yard line. With 06:44 remaining in the half, they could potentially eat up the clock with a nice drive, score, and then get the ball back after halftime. This is a huge drive for the Bears defense if they want any chance to win.
Another shovel pass, this time to Derek Watt on first down good for three yards. Najee Harris gets the carry around the right end for 5 yards to set up third and manageable. Pittsburgh local, Kevin Rader, gets the ball in the flat on 3rd, but he was tackled right away short of the sticks. Pressley Harvin back to punt again, and another bad punt. It takes a fortunate Pittsburgh roll for a net of 46 yards. Should have probably been about 35 yards.
David Montgomery picks up 9 yards and near a first down in his first two touches of the drive. Isaiah Buggs appeared to be injured on 2nd down. Look for Khalil Davis to get called up from the practice squad next week if Buggs is forced to miss time. For now, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Chris Wormley will anchor the middle, probably in rotation with Cam Heyward. Alex Highsmith makes the stop on 3rd and short. On 4th and 1, Cameron Heyward called for encroachment. You know he is going to be frustrated at himself for that after the game.
On first down, Justin Fields scrambled for about 6 yards after the play broke down. Second half adjustments for the defense should be interesting, as they aim to take away the scramble which has provided really the only semblance of offense for the Bears. Montgomery got the ball on 2nd, good for 2 yards going around the right end. Taco Charlton makes the stop, so another 3rd and short for the Bears. Probably in four down territory here.
TWO MINUTE WARNING.
Montgomery gets the ball and gets tackled right at the line to gain. The refs stop the clock to measure. Just barely it is a first down.
Cole Kmet for a gain of 8 over the middle well covered with a tough catch. Kmet for another explosive play, this time for 22 yards on the seam route. The safeties were a little out of position. The Bears down at the 10 yard line with first and goal.
Joe Schobert makes the stop on first down with Montgomery running up the middle for three yards. Justin Fields incomplete to Jimmy Graham in the end zone with Joe Haden in coverage. A bit of a drop for Graham. An impressive throw by Justin Fields. 3rd and goal, and the Bears with the false start. The stadium is so loud that Fields couldn’t hear the whistle and played on. On 3rd down, Fields incomplete to Graham with James Pierre in coverage. The kicking team is coming out, and the kick is good. 14-3 Steelers.
The Bears kickoff the ball, and the Steelers will likely take a knee to send it to halftime. The Steelers will get the ball after the half.
END OF HALF 14-3 STEELERS.
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