LaMarr Woodley and the Steelers weren't able to make enough key plays on defense in the fourth quarter to rally past the Bears.
Change coming on O-line: The Steelers used a three-man rotation at offensive tackle Sunday night, and Kelvin Beachum could get a chance to unseat Marcus Gilbert or Mike Adams. "We're going to turn the stones over in an effort to find a winning formula," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "and we’re not going to be bashful about that. Kelvin Beachum has earned the right to play in the rotation." The bookends of the offensive line have struggled, raising both short-term and long-term questions, particularly about Adams at left tackle. The second-year man does not look like the answer there, and his future may ultimately be at right tackle.
Falling down the depth chart:Isaac Redman opened the season as a starter but he could be the odd man out in the Steelers backfield when rookie Le’Veon Bell returns from a mid-foot sprain. Redman barely saw the field Sunday night and did not get a carry against the Bears. The fourth-year veteran has 12 yards on 10 carries this season. Take away an 8-yard run and Redman has 4 yards on his nine other carries, and his lost fumble on the Steelers’ first possession of the season set the tone for an offense that has struggled. Bell, the highly touted rookie, could return Sunday against the Vikings. Barring a setback he is at least on track to suit up Oct. 13 against the Jets following the Steelers’ bye week. The running game showed improvement against the Bears but it still has a long way to go. The Steelers have rushed for fewer than 100 yards in nine consecutive games dating back to last season.
Get off the field: The lack of turnovers forced by the Steelers defense has been well documented. Just as costly against the Bears was the defense’s inability to get off the field after whittling a deficit that had twice been 17 points down to four. The Steelers allowed Chicago to convert on third-and-10 and third-and-12 in the fourth quarter when the Bears were on their side of the field and clinging to a 27-23 lead. Credit Jay Cutler for using his legs to pick up the first down on third-and-10 and then for making a big-time throw three plays later on third-and-12. The 41-yard pass to Brandon Marshall led to a Bears touchdown, and Chicago was 3-for-3 on third down during that critical scoring drive. "We had them in a third-down situation and we gave up a big play and allowed them to score a touchdown at the end," outside linbebacker LaMarr Woodley said, "so that was on us as a defense."
Not all is bad: The Steelers special teams, thought to be a question mark heading into the season, have been one of the few bright spots during the 0-3 start. The Steelers rendered return specialist Devin Hester a nonfactor the week after he piled up a Bears record 247 yards in kickoff returns. Hester managed just 26 yards on two kickoff returns, and the Bears’ average field position after those returns was their 11-yard line. Steelers punter Zoltan Mesko drew a roughing the kicker penalty that gave the offense a new set of downs and new life in the second quarter. The Steelers turned that miscue into a touchdown that pulled them to within 24-10. Kicker Shaun Suisham drilled all three of his field goal attempts, and he is a perfect 4-for-4 this season.