The use of Alshon Jeffery early was superb, going to Brandon Marshall immediately, then Jeffery on the next four passes as the Steelers stacked to stop Marshall, a Pittsburgh native in front of his own cheering section.
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The Bears also schemed to exploit specific areas in the defense as well as making timely and correct adjustments.
“We wanted to go for the outside lanes,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “In the end when they started coming back, they started to play a little more two-high, taking away some of those outside lanes.”
The Steelers were supposed to be the defensive schemers with coordinator Dick LeBeau but it was Mel Tucker who cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war. The defense showed early blitzing of Ben Roethlisberger from D.J. Williams in the middle, one producing a forced fumble on a sack and a second producing a second sack. Other blitzes included Lance Briggs, Chris Conte and Isaiah Frey in addition to showing some classic zone-blitz dropping Julius Peppers into coverage.
“They did a good job of rotating,” Roethlisberger said. “There were times that when I took the snap a saw one coverage and play faked and went with something completely different. So give our guys some credit for seeing the post snap and making plays down the field.”
[GIF: Cutler throws his shoulder into Pittsburgh DB]
A significant negative that has occurred more than once: The Bears used all three of their timeouts in the first quarter, including one on a first down and another on an overruled challenge. The offense had the ball at the Chicago 31 with 1:48 in the half, no timeouts.
On the plus side: The Bears had just three penalties, the third game in a row with less than five flags.
Moon's Grade: A