BEARS 40, STEELERS 23**
Steelers' record: 0-3
One year ago: 1-2
Series record (including playoffs): Bears lead, 21-7-1
Going into the third game of the season, this was Coach Mike Tomlin's assessment of his team's 0-2 record: "There are several reasons for that. Probably the most significant of reasons is that we aren't scoring enough points, 19 points in two football games is not going to win a lot of football in this league. If you would have told me we would have scored 19 points through the first two games, I would have told you we would have had an opportunity to be 0-2." Only Cleveland and Jacksonville had scored fewer points through the first two games of the season.
A judicious use of a replay challenge by Bears coach Marc Trestman with 5:48 left in the game was good for a four-point swing and took the wind out of the Steelers' comeback. Earl Bennett's catch in the back corner of the end zone originally was ruled incomplete, and it appeared to set up a field goal attempt that if successful would have upped Chicago's lead to 30-23. But Trestman's challenge changed the ruling to a touchdown, and the Bears' lead became 34-23.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
The Bears' domination of the all-time series between these franchises was complete during the 13 meetings between 1934-49. The Bears won all of those games by an aggregate score of 415-99, which worked out to an average of 32-8. In the 13 all-time games played in Chicago, the Steelers are 1-12, with their only win coming in 1995, a 37-34 victory in overtime.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* On a first-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 30-yard line, the Bears tried to get the ball on a quick wide receiver screen to Brandon Marshall, but Troy Polamalu diagnosed the play and turned it into a 4-yard loss. Two plays later, Jay Cutler was hurried into an incomplete pass, and the Bears settled for a 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
- The first play of the second quarter turned out to be the biggest offensive play of the season for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger located Antonio Brown deep down the right sideline for a 45-yard gain to set up a Shaun Suisham field goal that cut the Bears lead to 17-3.
- On the kickoff following Suisham's field goal, Curtis Brown and Markus Wheaton surrounded Devin Hester and dropped him at the Chicago 6-yard line.
- Chicago safety Anthony Walters committed one of the most foolish penalties of the season. Walters roughed punter Zoltan Mesko to give the Steelers new life on a possession that ended with Antonio Brown coming down with the ball in the end zone between CB Tim Jennings and S Major Wright. The touchdown cut the Bears lead to 24-10 with just more than six minutes left in the half.
- On a 25-yard run by Jonathan Dwyer out to the Steelers 47-yard line, it was a block by David DeCastro that sprung him into the second level.
- With his sack, LaMarr Woodley moved past Greg Lloyd into fifth place on the Steelers' all-time list. Woodley now has 54 sacks.
- Charles Tillman is one of the top cornerbacks in football, and Antonio Brown beat him to the far left corner of the end zone and made a one-handed catch for the touchdown that cut the Steelers deficit to 27-20 late in the third quarter.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* On the Steelers' third offensive play, Ben Roethlisberger was stripped by MLB D.J. Williams, and the fumble was recovered by James Anderson at the Steelers 17-yard line.
- Two plays after the fumble recovery, the Bears faced a third-and-9 at the Pittsburgh 16-yard line. Jay Cutler couldn't find anyone open down the field and dumped the ball to RB Matt Forte, who took it to the 5-yard line for a first down. On the next play, Forte stuck it in the end zone for a 10-0 Bears lead with 5:05 left in the first quarter.
- The Steelers second possession ended with a punt that gave the Bears the ball at their own 40-yard line. On first down, Matt Forte burst through a hole up the middle, broke a tackle by Ryan Clark and raced 55 yards to the Pittsburgh 5-yard line. Despite a three-play goal-line stand, the Bears scored on fourth down to take a 17-0 lead with 2:01 left in the first quarter.
- Following a 39-yard punt that would have given the Steelers the ball at their own 41-yard line following a short return by Antonio Brown with 10:30 left in the second quarter of a 17-3 game, a holding call on Chris Carter pushed the ball back to the 25-yard line.
- On the third down following the penalty on Carter, Ben Roethlisberger attempted to get the ball to Jerricho Cotchery. The ball seemed to be a bit high, and it also appeared as though Cotchery wasn't ready for the ball when it arrived. The end result was an interception by Major Wright, who returned it 38 yards for the touchdown that upped the Bears' lead to 24-3 midway through the second quarter.
- The idea of keeping the ball away from returner extraordinaire Devin Hester had merit, but just inside the two-minute warning of the first half, a 21-yard punt by Zoltan Mesko gave the Bears the ball at their own 31-yard line.
- On the Steelers' second offensive play of the second half, Felix Jones fumbled and DT Henry Melton recovered for the Bears at the Steelers' 29-yard line.
- On a third-and-9 from the Chicago 25-yard line midway through the third quarter, Ben Roethlisberger didn't attempt to throw the ball past the down marker, instead dumping it off to Heath Miller who was tackled after a 7-yard gain to set up a field goal attempt that cut the Bears lead to 27-13.
- It appeared as though the Steelers defense was going to get off the field, but after an incomplete pass to TE Martellus Bennett, William Gay was flagged for illegal contact to give Chicago a first down at their own 30-yard line.
- Antonio Brown fielded a short punt and was run out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 46-yard line, but he then was flagged for a 15-yard facemask penalty to give the Steelers the ball at their own 31-yard line.
- It was a second defensive touchdown, and coming as it did with less than four minutes remaining in the game it also served to ice the outcome. Ben Roethlisberger had the ball stripped away by Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers picked up the bouncing ball and ran it into the end zone for the touchdown that put the Bears ahead, 40-23.