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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears Preview

September 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

September 16, 2009
By Donald Starver

This Sunday, the Steelers travel to Chicago to take on the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is at 4:15 PM ET.

Soldier Field has not been a friendly venue for the Steelers.  The Steelers have lost 11 of their last 12 games in Chicago.

Despite their losing record in Chicago, the Steelers have won their last 3 games against the Bears, including their November 5, 1995 37-34 win over the Bears in Chicago.

As evidenced by the fact that the Steelers haven’t played in Chicago in over a decade, these two teams don’t face one another very often.  That being the case, there won’t be a great deal of familiarity between them. 

The last time they played was in 2005 here in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers won 21-9.  Some fans may remember that game as the “Bus runs over Urlacher” game.  That’s certainly what I remember about it.


But 4 years is a long time, and these are both completely different teams.

The Bears are coming off a difficult loss to their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.  In that game, the Bears’ new franchise quarterback Jay Cutler struggled.  Cutler completed only 17 of his 36 pass attempts, and ended the game with pathetic 43.2 passer rating.  More importantly, the Packers’ new 3-4 defense had Cutler completely frazzled.  Cutler was sacked twice, and threw 4 interceptions.

This is the Packers’ first year playing a 3-4 defense, and they executed it very well against the Bears.  Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has certainly been watching the film of that game, and will have far more exotic blitzes planned for Cutler than what he saw from the Packers. 

Not only did the Packers successfully shut down Cutler, they also managed to keep Bears running back Matt Forte in check.  Forte was held to 55 yards rushing on 25 attempts.  That’s only 2.2 yards per carry.

Last season, Forte had a breakout season in which he amassed 1,238 yards and finished seventh in the NFL in rushing.

Bears' RB Matt Forte

Bears' RB Matt Forte

We all know that the Steelers defense relishes the opportunity to face premiere running backs.  They take great pride in holding the NFL’s top running backs to under 100 yards rushing.  Matt Forte should be in for a long day.

When most fans think of the Bears, they think of the stout Bears defense that carried the team to Super Bowl XLI back in 2007.  However, that team has changed greatly.  The defense is no longer the strength of the team.  The Bears’ defense finished 2008 as the 21st ranked defense in the NFL.  That’s a far cry from the 2006/2007 team. 

To make things even worse for the Bears’ defense, star linebacker Brian Urlacher was lost for the season last week.  Losing Urlacher hurts the Bears the same way that losing Troy Polamalu hurts the Steelers.  Maybe more.

So the Steelers will face a Bears team with a depleted defense and a high flying offense.  Yeah, these are not your father’s Chicago Bears.

In order to win the game, the Steelers are going to need a much better performance from their running backs than they got in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.  Willie Parker in particular is going to have to improve on the 19 yards that he accumulated against the Titans. 

The Steelers’ defense will be missing two key starters, as Troy Polamalu will be sidelined following last week’s knee injury.  The Steelers also announced that linebacker Lawrence Timmons re-injured his ankle in practice and is questionable for the game.

Despite missing Polamalu and Timmons, the Steelers should still be more than up to the challenge of facing the Bears.  Tyrone Carter is a seasoned veteran, and has played in place of Polamalu before.  Keyaron Fox is also a quality backup.  In fact, he looked more impressive than Lawrence Timmons in preseason.

My prediction is that the Steelers are going to leave Chicago with their 4th straight win against the Bears.  The final score will be Steelers 21 - Bears 10.  You heard it here first.

Fun fact:
The Steelers have won six straight games and eight of the past 9 (dating back to 1998) against teams currently in the NFC North.


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4 Comments to “Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears Preview”

  1. Being from Wisconsin originally, I grew up liking the Packers, LOVING the Steelers, & hating the Cowboys, Vikings and of course da Bears. Go Stillers!!!

  2. Pittsburgh native living in Chicago - so I get to hear a lot about the Bears. They are very respectful regarding the Steelers. Feeling like they have to play the perfect game to win. They believe that their big questions are Cutler’s leadership and rapport with his receivers; lack of a true #1 WR; a Defense that has gone from being a strength to declining in effectiveness (Urlacher now out; T Harris is diminished due to injuries; & Secondary is highly suspect.)That being said, in the preseason, they shut down the NYG ‘s first team big time. Took away the run and harassed Eli-mostly w/out blitzing. They ran the ball (Forte) very well and Cutler was accurate and effective on 3rd Down.
    This is a trap game for the Steelers. Chicago is capable of playing well (like they did against the Giants.) The Steelers have to force 3rd and long and get off the field. If Cutler gets some confidence, he is capable of playing as well as anyone. He needs to be running for his life. When he throws on the run, he can get into trouble. In the pocket, he can be dangerous.
    If the Steelers can get up and keep their foot on the throat of the Bears, they will win. The longer Chicago thinks they are in the game with the World Champs at Soldier Field, the bigger the trap becomes for the Steelers. Like Tomlin says, “This game is about us and what we do.” If we play Steeler football for 60 minutes, we will win. 24-12. Here we go Steelers!

  3. New to your site, and I’m enjoying the articles. This one especially as Pittsburgh ex-pat in Chicago.

    This may be a trap game, but it really shouldn’t be close. It will be very interesting to see how pass protection holds up on the road, though.

  4. I grew up living across the street from the Bears business manager in Indian Hill Estates off Lake Ave. in Wilmette and have always enjoyed the fiesty Bears since 1945. I came across the November 1995 Classic clash between the Bears and the Steelers on DirectTV last night and had to turn off the set at the 34-34 tie. I was hopeful that since the Bears were going to get the ball first in Overtime, they may be able to steal a quick Butler field-goal to defeat the Pittsburgh steel makers, but no such luck. Thanks for making it easy to find an NFL score almost 15 years after the fact.


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