Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackJay Cutler has led the Bears to two fourth-quarter comeback victories in the first two weeks of the season. Cutler has made some mistakes – he threw two interceptions in the Week Two win over the Vikings – but he kept his cool in the game’s final stages and his passes were on target. Cutler has a quick release and a powerful arm, but will have problems with his accuracy at times.Ben Roethlisberger has not been on top of his games in the first couple of weeks. While he is relatively healthy, he is not on the same page with his receivers as many of his passes have been off-target. Roethlisberger has the size and strength to shake off the pass rush and then find the open receiver in the game’s most important moments.
- OffenseThe Bears are no longer trying to play old-school football. While they want Matt Forte and the running game to take pressure off of Cutler, they are a passing teams. Brandon Marshall has size, strength and big-play ability, while tight end Martellus Bennett knows how to get open on third downs and in the red zone. The Bears seem to be a more cohesive team under new coach Marc Trestman than they were in the past.The Steelers are somewhat dependent on their running game, but that element has not been viable in the first two games of the season. They need Felix Jones to give them some decent runs just to take the pressure off of Roethlisberger. Emmanuel Sanders has the moves to get open and the speed to run by the secondary. If Heath Miller (knee) is back for this game, the Steelers will be much tougher to defend.
- DefenseThe Bears are no longer dependent on their defense to win games for them, but linebacker Lance Briggs can still dominate against the run and cornerback Charles Tillman is one of the best cover corners in the league. He excels at knocking the ball away from the ball carrier. The Bears would like to see Julius Peppers improve his productivity and get to the quarterback.The Steelers are all about attacking the offense with a variety of blitzes. That’s the formula they have employed under Dick LeBeau for years and it’s not changing any time soon. Strong safety Troy Polamalu is healthy again this year and he is a game-changing force because he can attack the quarterback and intercept errant passes. Ike Taylor is a physical corner who can intimidate opposing receivers.
- Special TeamsThe Bears special teams seem to have improved quite a bit with the decision to return Devin Hester exclusively to special teams. He has been quick and explosive in the first two games. Robbie Gould may be the most dependable placekicker in the league.Special teams has not been consistent for the Steelers over the years, but they have been quite aggressive in their coverage teams in the first two games of the season. Former Patriot Zoltan Mesko gets height on his punts and he has been a decent addition to the Steelers’ special teams.
The Bears have been a tad lucky in winning their first two games of the season. They go on the road for the first time this year and they must show they can compete on the big stage in front of a hostile crowd with the Steelers hungry to get a win in front of their home fans. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor