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Bears vs. Steelers: Notes from Chicago’s first victory

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In an emotional rollercoaster of a game, the Bears pulled away with the overtime win at home.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
Jordan Howard was a huge factor in the Bears’ upset victory over the Steelers.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.

The Chicago Bears pulled off the upset on Sunday, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 in an overtime thriller. After an up-and-down performance throughout the game, the Bears sealed the deal with a 19-yard touchdown run by Jordan Howard. John Fox won his first September game as the team’s head coach, and the fans at Soldier Field went home happy.

Not everything was all sunshine and rainbows, though. Let me share with you all some of the things I took away from Sunday’s game.

  • Marcus Cooper was probably the person who was the happiest with the Bears winning. If they lost that game, then his stupid mistakes would be even more highlighted than they already have been. For starters, this:
  • If Cooper hadn’t literally WALKED into the end zone, then that play would’ve lead to six points on the board. What a completely idiotic decision on his part. He also got called for a pass interference penalty in the end zone, and he dropped this potential interception:
  • Our own Jack M. Silverstein believes that Cooper may have entered “Chris Conte territory” with his performance tonight. Had the Bears lost, then that claim would have indubitably undeniable.
  • Mike Glennon didn’t win this game. While the Bears technically won the game with him as the quarterback, he did very little to contribute. He finished the game with only 101 passing yards while going 15 for 22 on passing attempts. Most of his passes consisted of two-yard dumps out to running backs. In fact, only one of his completed passes went to a wide receiver. Granted, Chicago is certainly lacking in talent at the position, but their lack of creativity to utilize them shows how one-dimensional their offense is with Glennon at the helm. He proved yet again that he has the mobility of a tree, and the pocket awareness of one, too. The worst possible thing about this win is, as I noted on Twitter, that the Bears may use this win as an excuse to keep starting the veteran. This was Chicago’s win. It wasn’t Mike Glennon’s win.
  • As previously mentioned, the Bears’ running backs played a big role in the team’s victory. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen alone touched the ball in 44 of their 60 offensive plays, as pointed out by our Robert Zeglinski. Our own Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. mentioned that those two, along with Benny Cunningham, were responsible for 289 of their 304 total offensive yards. Throughout the game, Cohen displayed the shiftiness, creativity and flat-out athleticism that we as Bears fans have come to love. All of those traits were shown on his phenomenal overtime touchdown run that was unfortunately called back.
  • Howard was also very impressive on Sunday. Just one week after rushing for only seven yards, he ran for 138 yards - which is his second-highest total of his career so far - on 23 carries, adding a touchdown on the ground. He also contributed catching the ball with five receptions for 26 yards. Despite being taken out of the game twice with aggravation to his shoulder injury, he toughed it out and ended up making the game-winning play. He seemed much better than he was last week: he took advantage of open holes, he was much tougher to bring down, and he just looked more explosive overall. Although his injury will likely limit his participation in practice this week, the Bears can only hope that Howard builds off of one of the best outings of his career.
  • Adam Shaheen made his first career catch on a two-yard touchdown reception. Although the second-round pick has been quiet thus far, he may see an increased role in the offense over time.
  • Leonard Floyd was underwhelming yet again today, but the rest of the Bears’ pass rush wasn’t. Willie Young and Pernell McPhee both had a sack, while a defensive back blitz resulted in Bryce Callahan bringing down Ben Roethlisberger on a strip sack.
  • Chicago currently has seven sacks as a team in the first three games. With a secondary that isn’t quite a finished product, it will be very important for them to have an effective pass rush throughout the year.
  • Kyle Long made his season debut after missing 10 months due to an injured ankle, and the guard didn’t miss a beat. He performed at a Pro Bowl level, not allowing a single sack, hit or hurry. Viewed at by many as the Bears’ best offensive lineman, it was certainly great to see Long back on the field.
  • Prince Amukamara looked solid against the Steelers. The cornerback broke up two passes, including this touchdown-saving pass:
  • In addition to that, he ended up with the highest PFF grade on the team with a score of 87.6. Though we (and others) have blasted their system in the past, it would be tough to argue with this rating.
  • The Bears chose to keep Connor Barth around for another season. While that may be fine for the time being, it’s clear that they are going to have to find a better kicker in the long run. Barth missed a 47-yard field goal, which is a makeable kick for most kickers in the league. It’s still very early in the season, but this year will likely be a repeat of last year for the 10-year veteran.