Brandon Marshall was already ramping up for the Steelers earlier this week, remembering what veteran cornerback Ike Taylor, 33, did against him when Marshall wasn’t prepared.
“I remember a few years ago playing against him in Miami,” Marshall said. “I disrespected him a little bit. I didn’t do my film study and I got out there and he did some things that really put me in a tough spot. So I’ve been going back to by Denver days and my Miami days just watching him and seeing how he played me, watching a lot of film because I have a lot of respect for this guy and no longer will I overlook him.”
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With Marshall coming off consecutive 100-yard games, the Steelers are expected to work on ensuring he doesn’t make it three. Safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu as well as Taylor each have at least 11 years in the NFL.
But “we like Brandon against pretty much anybody in the league,” Jay Cutler stated. “What makes these guys a little different is it’s a really veteran group, so they’re going to be savvy they’re not going to give up cheap plays, they’re going to try to limit your big plays, so it’s just something we have to be aware of and just go through our reads.”
If one thing has made the 2013 Bears a better team on offense, it arguably is that more than one member of the offense is capable of creating havoc for a defense.
Wide receiver Marshall accounted for 113 yards and a touchdown vs. Minnesota. Martellus Bennett caught two touchdown passes, including the game-winner, vs. the Vikings. Those were in addition to Matt Forte catching 11 passes. Marshall caught eight for 104 and a TD vs. Cincinnati to go with Alshon Jeffery’s five catches for another 42 yards.
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Apart from his obvious entertainment component, Bennett delivered a career-best seven catches against Minnesota, and his three touchdowns through two games are closing in on his single-season best of five, set last year.
The Steelers were beaten for 11 catches and 132 yards by Cincinnati Bengals tight ends Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham but stifled wideouts A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu to a combined 7.3 yards per catch.
Pittsburgh ranks ninth against the pass, allowing just 199 yards per game. The only touchdown scored by the Tennessee Titans came on a short field, 49 yards after Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted. Andy Dalton completed 26 of 33 passes against the Bears, then struggled with 25-of-45 passing against the Steelers.
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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t seen this permutation of Chicago offense. Maybe that’s an advantage, even with modern film capabilities and scouting.
“It’s been a number of years since I’ve seen these guys, I think ’09,” Tomlin said. “Obviously, when you talk about any team, that’s a long time from a football standpoint. I went back and scanned the game and some of the plays in the game, just looking back in the recent history of the series, and it’s just not a lot of familiar faces.”