Last week I spoke too soon. This week I must eat my words. I was very confident the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to defeat the Chicago Bears. Evidently I was wrong, very, very wrong.
What can we takeaway from yet another loss? Let’s start with what the Steelers gave away.
The Steelers gave the ball away five times during Sunday night’s game. Turning the ball over five times is definitely the best way to seal the deal for a third straight loss. Ben Roethlisberger was guilty of turning the ball over, four times to be exact. The franchise quarterback has definitely had better days.
Roethlisberger first coughed up the ball late in the first quarter tying to escape a sack. The ball was knocked loose and the Bears recovered. This led to a Matt Forte touchdown shortly after.
The second turnover from Roethlisberger came in the second quarter. Roethlisberger was looking for wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery didn’t seem to be expecting the pass, and the ball was intercepted by the Bear’s defense a returned for a touchdown.
Roethlisberger would then fumble the ball once more. After heavy pressure in the pocket, Roethlisberger was stripped of the ball and Julius Peppers took the fumble to the house for another Bears touchdown.
The Bears scored points off of four of the five turnovers the Steelers committed. The Steelers did the majority of work for the Bears by making crucial errors all game long.
Roethlisberger took the blame for his four turnovers. Although Roethlisberger can’t turn the ball over, it’s clear that he’s going to have a difficult time getting the ball out before he ends up on his back. Another sorry performance from the Steelers’ offensive line in this game. Protecting Roethlisberger has become a chore for the Steelers.
The struggling offensive line should be blamed for some of Big Ben’s mistakes. Roethlisberger has been praised for his ability to get out of sack situations but a man can only get out of the hands of a monstrous linebacker so many times. Roethlisberger loves to extend plays and for the most part he does so successfully, but other times extending the play isn’t the ideal option. When it isn’t ideal, bad things happen and Roethlisberger’s first fumble is one of the bad things that could happen. Extending plays is just the quarterback Roethlisberger is, he isn’t going to change but here and there he should consider taking the sack and live to play another down.
The fifth Steelers’ turnover came from running back Felix Jones. Jones was hit hard and he too fumbled the football. Jones started the night off a good note but after giving up the ball he rarely saw the field after that.
Having five turnovers in one game is a recipe for failure. I don’t care what team you are or what team you’re playing, that many turnovers in one game will get you nowhere. The Steelers record reflects that.
Now let’s take a look at what the Steelers couldn’t takeaway.
The Steelers’ defense has played consistently over the course of three games. The one thing the defense needs to do is generate more takeaways. The defense is playing well enough to keep the games manageable but needs to start getting more turnovers. The Steelers will never win if they turn the ball over five times and can’t get any of them back. If the defense can start to get more takeaways then the offense will benefit as well. All the other aspects of the defense seem to be fine but if they can force some turnovers, they’ll be much better off as they attempt to bounce back.
The Steelers did put up a fight in their loss to the Bears. There were some flashes of good but were definitely out shined by the bad. We saw some players begin to make the big-time plays, plays in which the team definitely needs more of. Antonio Brown had a great game and it was a solid return for Heath Miller too. Some of the pieces are coming together but there’s still a lot of work to be done if the Steelers want to dig themselves out of this deep, deep hole.