One of the laments during the Steelers' 0-2 start had been that but for a couple of plays here and there the results might have been different. That was still the case after the Steelers had fallen to 0-3 in the wake of a 40-23 loss to Chicago on Sunday night at Heinz Field.
And in retrospect, two such plays stand out.
The first of the plays was a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery on third-and-6 from the Pittsburgh 29-yard line with 9:08 left in the second quarter.
It was picked off and returned 38 yards for a touchdown by Bears safety Major Wright, a play that upped Chicago's lead to 24-3.
The second of the two plays was a third-and-10 scramble for a first down by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter and Chicago clinging to a 27-23 lead.
Cutler's 13-yard dash kept alive a drive that culminated with the touchdown that re-established control for Chicago at 34-23 with less than six minutes left.
"Ben just said he had a guy come free in his face so he had to get rid of it," Cotchery said. "That's just the way the play happened. They did a great job of disguising it and a guy came free and made him get rid of the ball early."
Roethlisberger told the media the same thing he had told Cotchery.
"A guy (defensive tackle Henry Melton) came on a blitz up the middle," Roethlisberger said. "I tried to anticipate a throw to Jerricho. I had to throw it before he got out of his break and I threw it a little too far inside and the guy made a play."
That turnover was the second of the game along the way to a four-turnover night for Roethlisberger (two lost fumbles, two interceptions).
The Steelers were able to scramble back from that gaffe and from a fumble by running back Felix Jones that set the Bears up for a field goal and a 27-10 third-quarter lead.
But they were unable to overcome Cutler's scramble and the dagger that eventually followed.
"Jay makes a good play scrambling out of the pocket," safety Ryan Clark assessed. "We were in a two-man (two-deep zone) so everybody underneath has their back turned to him.
"He creeps out of there and gets some yardage."
Defensive end Brett Keisel seemingly regretted the Cutler scramble above any other play the Steelers' defense didn't make.
"We need to make that play," Keisel said. "We need to find a way to get him on the ground, keep him in the pocket. That's our responsibility up front. It was a frustrating play but you've gotta give Jay credit and (wide receiver Brandon) Marshall credit there at the end."
Marshall's 41-yard reception on the third-and-12 the Bears faced two snaps after Cutler's scramble advanced the ball to the Steelers' 22.
The drive was finished on a 17-yard touchdown pass on third-and-5 from the Steelers' 17-yard line, a catch by wide receiver Earl Bennett that was ruled incomplete on the field but ultimately replay-reviewed into a touchdown.
"They made the plays and we didn't," Keisel said.