Entering tonight’s game between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers, one team is undefeated and the other team is looking for their first win of the season.
Had you guessed which team was the Bears and which team was the Steelers before the season, odds are the roles would have been reversed.
The Bears have impressed in their first two games of the season. In their game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bears offense in the second half of the game led the team to victory. In the team’s second game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears offense once again led a comeback victory though the team’s defense had timely stops.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have been unimpressive. The Steelers struggled in their first game of the season as the team only scored 9 points against the Tennessee Titans. Their second game this season against the Cincinnati Bengals wasn’t much more impressive as the team only scored 10 points, but struggled on defense against Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton.
Considering the Steelers o-and-2 start to begin the season, that has led to some questioning. Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been the subject of much criticism, though a report late this week indicated that Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Haley have improved their relationship with one another.
Whether or not the Steelers offense can rebound against the Bears’ defense will likely be the tale of tonight’s game. Tight end Heath Miller is returning for the Steelers tonight, and that figures to give Pittsburgh a boost on offense. The Steelers also need to show an improvement with their running game. The Steelers have rushed for a combined 75 yards in their first two games. If the Steelers are able to rush the ball on Sunday that could spell good things for their offense.
Fortunately for the Bears, their defense against the run has been one of the strong points this season. Look no further than last week when the Bears held Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson to 100 rushing yards.
One area where the Bears defense has struggled is with generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If the Bears can not generate pressure on Roethlisberger tonight, then the Steelers’ quarterback, who has excellent mobility skills, will likely be able to find some success.
Pressure is something that Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler has rarely felt this season. The Steelers possess when of the best blitzing schemes in the NFL and Bears’ rookies Jordan Mills and Kyle Long may be confronted with a pass rush that they have not played against before.
One result from the Steelers’ blitzing scheme is its ability to force the quarterback to make mistakes. The Steelers have only 1 sack on the season and that could be the reason why the team’s defense has not been able to take advantage of mistakes made by the opposing quarterback.
Cutler is certainly prone to making mistakes, but this season, the Bears’ quarterback has shown the ability to overcome his mistakes. Cutler has not played well in Sunday night games and that will be another focus point on Sunday.
The last time the Bears played the Steelers; A Robbie Gould field-goal gave the Bears the victory at Soldier Field in 2009.