In this crazy year, where the Pittsburgh Pirates are the talk of the town, needing just two wins to clinch a playoff spot, it is somewhat fitting that the local NFL franchise would take on their tendencies. Just as the Pirates were the MLB sideshow for decades, the 2013 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers are taking on that persona. This was extremely evident during the miserable 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears (3-0) on Sunday night.turnovers (five) and the defense, which failed to get off the field on a critical fourth quarter drive that put the game away again failed to come through in the clutch. Yet, through all that, The Steelers were able to climb from an early 17-point deficit to striking distance midway through the fourth quarter.
As much as the offense showed some signs of life, racking up over 400 yards of offense for the first time in 2013, some things stayed the same. For the third time this season, they were one dimensional with a total lack of a running game and multiple turnovers. The defense did double their sack total with two, but again failed to force a turnover, a trend that started almost three full seasons ago. At this point the Steelers sit at minus nine (-9) in turnover differential and are one of the two teams in the league that are still waiting to force their first turnover.
No one struggled more with the turnover Sunday night than quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In all, the Steelers franchise signal caller completed 26-of-41 passes for 406 yards and threw two touchdowns (both to Antonio Brown), but he also accounted for four of the five turnovers with two interceptions and two lost fumbles. Two of which were returned by the Bears for touchdowns. In all, the Bears scored 23 points off turnovers, a stat that clearly sunk the Steelers efforts.
On the bright side, Heath Miller’s much anticipated retuned was successful. The tight end saw limited action and contributed three receptions for 35 yards. However, the story of the night was Antonio Brown, who ate up the Bears secondary with 9 receptions and a career-high 196 yards including the two touchdowns. This performance was huge, especially after news of the blow-up between him and offensive coordinator Todd Haley during the Monday night loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Recently re-signed running back Jonathan Dwyer paved the way for the disappointing running game with 12 carries for 39 yards. Felix Jones, who tallied seven carries for 34 yards, but did lose a fumble during the Steelers’ second half comeback attempt, backed him up.
Defensively, the team held the Chicago offense in check allowing only 259 yards of total offense. However, the lack of turnovers and an inability to get off the field in the fourth quarter dampened another solid performance
The Steelers now prepare to head to London to take on the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Until then fans are left to think about what could have been Sunday night against Chicago. Of course, that thinking will be taking place as the Pirates try to clinch their playoff spot in 21 years, against, that’s right, the Chicago Cubs.
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