The Bears didn't beat the Vikings in a pretty manner, and Marc Trestman acknowledged they could only be a couple plays from starting the season 0-2. But at the end of the year, they don't ask how you got there (unless you're in a tiebreaker scenario, right, 2012?), they ask how you did.
That being said, the Bears' season would sure look a lot sunnier if they were able to start 3-0, right? And the Steelers haven't looked so hot this season so far, so let's get right into it.
Last Year: They finished 8-8, good for third place in the AFC North and missing the playoffs.
This Year: Currently, they're 0-2, fresh off a Monday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-10, and losing their first game of the year to the Tennessee Titans. Hopefully, the Bears don't play the role of the Cleveland Browns in 2002 (losing in OT to the Steelers to bring Pittsburgh to 1-2).
When Last We Met: The 2009 Steelers played the 2009 Bears in week 2 en route to a 9-7 finish, losing to the Navy and Orange 17-14.
Total Points: 19 (30th)
Total Yardage: 472 (31st)
Passing Yardage: 397 (26th)
Rushing Yardage: 75 (31st)
The big news about the Steelers' offense? Jerricho Cotchery still has a job in the NFL. And a touchdown reception this season. I know, I'm stunned too.
But seriously now, things haven't been sunshine and roses for the Steelers' offense. La'Veon Bell has been injured. Heath Miller has been injured. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown haven't quite made that next step just yet in the Steelers' receiving corps. Felix Jones leads the team in rushing with 37 rushing yards. Thirty. Seven. I know, not pretty.
It hasn't all been Ben Roethlisberger's fault; he's been sacked seven times on the young season and the timing just hasn't been there. But Roethlisberger's got to play better. Hopefully the defensive line can actually take advantage of what hasn't been good pass protection or run-blocking and put Roethlisberger on his back a couple of times.
Let me show you a bad number. Their 0.7 points-per-drive is 31st in the NFL. Their net yards per drive of 20.5 is 31st in the NFL.
Total Points: 36 (10th)
Total Yardage: 636 (10th)
Passing Yardage: 397 (9th)
Rushing Yardage: 239 (25th)
(Before getting deeper into defense, I'd just like to point out... Both the Titans and the Bengals rushed for over 100 yards. The Steelers don't have 100 rushing yards after two games.)
The Steelers' defense on the other hand, it's still a borderline-top-ten unit. Troy Polamalu is back and healthier than he's been in a few years, Ike Taylor can still produce, and the pass rush was supplemented with the addition of first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones. Pass rush hasn't been the unit's strong suit just yet as they only have one sack on the season (by LaMarr Woodley over 65 dropbacks), but they have faced the most rushing attempts in the NFL to this point.
If the Bears do this...
The Bears have let a little pressure get to Jay Cutler over the last couple games; against a pass rush that's only gotten one sack, giving Cutler an easy day in the pocket would be good. The Steelers' "rate" categories rank a bit lower than their overall ranks, which means typically they haven't had as many plays against them as some of the other teams, so there are more opportunities to be had than one might initially think.
If the Steelers do this...
Heath Miller may return. But first and foremost, the Steelers need to get an offensive identity. They can't run the ball and they've had a hell of a time passing the ball. David Paulson showed a couple flashes at tight end, but they need something more from everyone on the offensive side of the ball. Nineteen points in two games doesn't cut it. The Bears can make the Steelers' lives difficult by getting their own pass-rush off the ground and actually doing things with it.
The last time the Bears went 3-0 to start the year, they were in the Super Bowl. Let's see if they can't at least repeat the first part.