- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Front four still not pressuring quarterback: The Bears sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice, but they were only able to do that when they manufactured pressure by blitzing linebackers. One hallmark of Chicago’s scheme is the ability to generate pressure with the front four. The Bears did that on occasion, but not enough to where they weren’t putting the secondary in a bind by forcing them to cover receivers too long.
“We got good pressure from the pressures we called,” defensive end Julius Peppers said.
But the Bears wouldn’t be forced to make those calls if the front four was pressuring sufficiently.
Too many explosive plays: Going into the game, the Bears had surrendered eight completions of 20 yards or more through the first two games, only to allow the Steelers to more double that in one outing. On the way to throwing for 406 yards and two touchdowns, Roethlisberger completed 10 passes for gains of 20 yards or more, while receiver Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 196 yards and two scores.
In addition to those completions, the Bears surrendered a 25-yard run to Jonathan Dwyer in the second quarter.
That’s too much. Turnovers, obviously, offset some of those gains. Still, the Bears can’t always rely on takeaways to bail them out of trouble.
“Our goal is always to be plus-2 [in turnover ratio], but if you can get three more it’s always a bonus,” cornerback Charles Tillman said.
Overly conservative with lead: Major Wright’s 38-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave the Bears a 24-3 lead. But from there, the Bears took a conservative approach that nearly allowed the Steelers to rally.
“It was just that type of game to get up that quickly like that,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “We were sitting pretty good early on, and we didn’t want to give them anything easy.”
Injuries to key players: Already slowed by a sore knee, Tillman suffered a groin injury that forced him out of action. The Bears also lost defensive tackle Henry Melton for the season with a torn ACL. So that’s two starters on defense. Obviously, the pass rush -- which was already struggling -- will be weakened significantly by the loss of Melton. Then, with the Bears set to take on the Detroit Lions, it’s probably fair to ponder whether Tillman can be effective against receiver Calvin Johnson.