In three games of the 2013 season, the Steelers have given the ball away a total of 9 times. Five of those 9 came Sunday night, as the team limped to an ugly 40-23 loss to the Bears to drop to 0-3.
“We need to take better care of the football, I am not going to characterize it in any way other than that,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the giveaways.
The other ugly stat is the Steelers have no takeaways of their own, and they really could have used one on Sunday night vs Jay Cutler and Chicago.
The Steelers fell behind 17-0 before the end of the first quarter, with one giveaway, a Ben Roethlisberger fumble, giving Chicago excellent field position after going up 3-0.
Matt Forte made it 10-0, and then he ripped off a long run that lead to a Michael Bush TD on fourth-and-goal from the 1/2 inch line to make it 17-0.
The last time the Steelers trailed 17-0 after the first quarter was September 26th 1999 in an ugly 29-10 home loss to the Seahawks.
Sunday night the team actually did some things good, as they got close in the fourth quarter, cutting the 17-point deficit to four at 27-23, but that’s when the defense fell apart.
Cutler made a couple huge throws, the first to Brandon Marshall to get them in scoring distance, and the other an amazing throw and catch for a score to Earl Bennett to make it 34-23 with 5:48 to play.
As if the Bears needed to put a nail in the coffin, they did when Julius Peppers picked up a Roethlisberger fumble and returned for 42 yards for the game’s final score at 40-23.
On the night Roethlisberger went 26-for-41 for 406 yards with two TD’s to Antonio Brown but lost two fumbles and threw two picks.
On the other side, Cutler was 20-for-30 for 159 yards and the key TD to Bennett that put the game away with about five minutes left.
The Steelers got a huge night from number one wide out Brown, as he hauled in nine passes for 196 yards with two TD’s.
There was no blowup with Todd Haley this week, but the fans want answers, and it seems it falls on Haley, but it shouldn’t this week as it was the players that gave the ball away five times.
“We won’t fold, this isn’t a folding type group,” WR Jericho Cotchery said. “We’re going to keep grinding. We’re going to get this turned around”
The Steelers outgained the Bears 459 to 258, and the Steelers put up 7.1 yards per play, but the team is finding out fast that a -9 in the turnover category will kill you every time.
It’s a long road game for the Steelers this next week, as they will work at home and then travel to London to play the 0-3 Vikings.
“It’s business as usual,” Tomlin said of the trip. “That’s the approach we need to take, we have a lot of work to do obviously. So that is the approach we will take, we’ll deal with London when we get there.”
For now, they will have to deal with looking at the bottom of the AFC North standings as they are the only team in the division without a win.
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