What We Learned from the Chicago Bears’ Win over the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chicago Bears remained undefeated with a big win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime. They almost blew their early lead, but some late game heroics got them back into control. With massive momentum shifts such as those in this game, there is a lot that teams can learn about themselves. Even with the win, the Bears have some things to improve on, and they will not be able to win consistently with the way they played during this game. Here is what we learned in the Bears win over the Steelers.
The Bears miss Rod Marinelli
The Bears’ defensive line has not been able to generate much of a pass rush by itself all season, forcing the team to blitz linebackers and defensive backs more often than in years past. One of the big reasons for this is the absence of Rod Marinelli, who left for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. He is a brilliant defensive line coach and was a huge reason for the group’s 2012 success. He is by no means the only reason for their previous success and current shortcomings, but many do not realize the impact he made. The Bears sure could use him right now, despite being undefeated.
Even when struggling, the team’s identity shines through
The Bears got out to a hot start but would end up nearly blowing the lead. When the going got tough, the Bears’ team identity came through. Crucial forced turnovers are what got the team back in control with a fumble recovery touchdown by Julius Peppers and a late interception by Chris Conte that sealed the deal. Jay Cutler too lived up to his nickname of Mr. 4th Quarter with a perfect pass to Earl Bennett in the endzone. This Bears team has gone through some hard fought games and it really shows their resilience.
Dante Rosario will have a role in the offense
From the beginning of the game, Dante Rosario saw the field frequently. Even though he is listed as the third tight end on the depth chart, he saw the field much more than most teams’ third string tight ends. Although he has not been targeted, his role in the offense will emerge soon. Keep in mind, this guy was traded to the team on September 2nd, and he is even further behind learning the offense than the rest of the players. Rosario is not a dynamic tight end, or else he would not have been traded for a seventh round pick, but he can make an impact, especially when defenses are focused on Brandon Marshall and the other receivers. Look for him to pick it up in the near future.
The way to attack the Bears is deep on the outside
Through the first three games, opposing offenses have been able to get big yardage on the Bears passing it deep and to the outside. According to the NFL Game Statistics and Information Systems, the Bears are among the bottom three teams in the league on passes deep to the left and right, with opposing quarterbacks completing over 65-percent of their passes in those areas. Usually, what ends up happening is the wide receiver gets a step on the Bears’ cornerbacks and the safeties are not able to get to the receiver in time to prevent the completion. Obviously it does not happen every time, but the Bears have been vulnerable there and need to work on tightening it up.
Jon Bostic won’t be seeing the field much any time soon
Jon Bostic started in the preseason due to an injury to D.J. Williams, and it looked like he might remain the starter into the regular season. However, D.J. Williams got the start and has yet to let Bostic see the field on defense. Williams had an especially strong performance against the Steelers with four tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. If he can continue to play like this, Bostic will be forced to stick with just special teams, which may benefit his long-term development.
Matt Forte is still the man
Forte was once again one of the focal points of the offense, with 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown to go with four receptions for 24 yards. He broke a big 55-yard run in the second quarter, and he was looking dominant until he tweaked his ankle. He finished with 5.4 yards per carry, and he is once again a huge reason for their success.
Michael Bush is not
Michael Bush struggled once again even with extended playing time. He finished with 9 rushing yards on 8 carries. He did score a touchdown, only after failing to reach the endzone on the goalline on multiple attempts. Forte left the game with an injury and Bush was unable to keep up the production. His longest run was for three yards, and he does not seem like the Michael Bush of years past.
The Bears need another defensive tackle
Henry Melton went down with a bad knee injury that required him to be carted off the field. It was a non-contact injury, which usually is not a good sign. His official injury has yet to be announced, but it did not look good. If he is out for an extended period of time, as expected, the Bears will need to add some help at defensive tackle. Nate Collins did a good job in relief of him, but he, co-starter Stephen Paea, and undrafted free agent Zach Minter are the only other defensive tackles on the roster, so the Bears will need to bring someone in to bolster the group that will miss its Pro Bowler. Hopefully the injury turns out to be minor, but that looks unlikely.