Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Previewing the matchup

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

Can the Chicago Bears hold their own when they face the offensive firepower and defensive pressure of the Pittsburgh Steelers?

The last time the Chicago Bears played the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in 2009, the world was far younger and more full of hope.

I was just starting my freshman year of college. The Bears had just traded for Jay Cutler. No one had ever heard of Marc Trestman yet. Ah, those were good times.

Well…I guess things turned out alright for me. The Bears, though? Not so much, as it turns out.

Eight years later, the Steelers – who won the Super Bowl that year – are returning to Soldier Field this Sunday still a perennial playoff team led by Ben Roethlisberger. And the offensive playmakers they’ve put around him represent one of the best supporting casts he’s ever had.

The Chicago Bears first languished in mediocrity and then opted for all-out bad, which is where they still reside at the moment.

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After flushing their first rebuild post-Lovie Smith, they’re probably going to can John Fox at the end of this year, too. And sooner or later, they’re going to get as tired of watching Mike Glennon play quarterback as we all are and bring on the future himself, Mitch Trubisky, whom even Roethlisberger really likes.

All in all, while I’d love to point to the Bears’ two-game winning streak over the Steelers as some hope in this dark time, Chicago could very well be heading to a 0-3 start in 2017.

Too much needs to go right to ensure that doesn’t happen. But hey, against a team that struggles at times on the road against inferior opponents? Any given Sunday, right?

Offense: Steelers coming after “statuesque” Glennon

Did you think Mike Tomlin was just being nice when he talked about Glennon this week prior to this matchup?

Oh sure, he said the right things, as reported by CBS Chicago.

"“Got a lot of respect for his talents,” Tomlin told reporters in Pittsburgh on Tuesday… “No one understands (better) why they went out and acquired him. He has physical traits that you can’t coach. He’s statuesque and allows great field vision. He can make any throw on the field. He’s a great anticipator.”"

Ah, that’s cute, Coach.

“Statuesque”? Nice one. Tell me that’s not code for “we’re going to blitz you until you curl into a fetal position.”

“Physical traits you can’t coach”? True…I don’t think any coach can do anything about his resemblance to a flamingo.

“Great anticipator”? I bet Tomlin and his staff hope that Glennon’s famed “anticipation” leads to more plays like this.

Oh, and that bit about making every throw on the field. That’s probably why the Bears’ previous opponents have utterly disrespected Glennon’s ability/willingness to throw the football. Man, he really pulled out all the coachspeak stops there.

The Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers set the blueprint for stopping Glennon already: stop the run and pressure him. And the Steelers are going to keep that up.

To counter it, the Chicago Bears need to do two things of their own: run the football more effectively and win one-on-one matchups outside.

Kyle Long should play this week, so that will boost the Bears’ run game, in theory. And perhaps Markus Wheaton can show more ability to break man-to-man coverage than his teammates have thus far. If the receivers can’t win fast enough, Glennon’s master play-reading skills might escape him as he’s buried under a mound of black and yellow.

Unfortunately, when Glennon’s your quarterback, a lot needs to go right for your team to succeed. Despite the compliments he lobbed his way, Tomlin and the Steelers are counting on that very fact. And they’re going to try to mess things up as much as possible, counting on him to compound the problems.

Defense: A lot of weapons to contain

After being defined so for long by their defense, the Steelers have amassed a significant arsenal of offensive weapons for Roethlisberger to use. And they have emerged as one of the league’s top offenses, ranking seventh in total yards last year (372.6).

The Chicago Bears will have a lot of people to try to slow down on Sunday if they want to keep this one close.

Though their star running back, Le’Veon Bell, has started off slowly this season, you can never sleep on him.

He’s consistently one of the most dangerous backs in the league, with his unusual patience, open-field ability and pass-catching prowess. And with Jerrell Freeman out, Danny Trevathan will need to shoulder the burden of tracking Bell wherever he goes. He’s the only linebacker the Bears have left that can.

And on the outside, the Bears secondary will be facing another monstrous task in containing Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

Brown’s incredible route-running and quickness will get him open plenty no matter who’s covering him in this one. He’s easily either the best or second-best receiver in football, depending on who you ask.

And Bryant’s ridiculous speed, athleticism and big-play potential can destroy a defense at any time. Despite just five receptions, Bryant boasts an absurd 21.0 yard-per-catch average, including a 27-yard touchdown last week.

Getting Prince Amukamara back this week would bolster a secondary that’s going to need all the help it can get this week. And though Marcus Cooper matches up best with Bryant, I think Kyle Fuller deserves to stay in the starting lineup if one of them must sit with Amukamara’s return. He’s arguably playing the best football of his career right now. After his play against DeSean Jackson last year, I’m encouraged that he could at least hold his own against Brown.

And though Marcus Cooper matches up best with Bryant, I think Kyle Fuller deserves to stay in the starting lineup if one of them must sit with Amukamara’s return. He’s arguably playing the best football of his career right now. After his play against DeSean Jackson last week, I think he could at least hold his own.

Next: Five players to watch when Bears face Steelers

Also, now would be an amazing time for the safeties to make a play on the football. I’m looking at you, Eddie Jackson, because we still have an APB out for Quintin Demps.

Make that happen, and the Chicago Bears can at least keep this game interesting.


As a fan, you always love to pick your team to win. But I’m going with my brain on this one. Truthfully, it’s hard to see a good outcome the way the Chicago Bears currently look, especially on offense. But hey, stranger things have happened…

24. 55. 13. 57. Final