Avoiding a letdown is Steelers’ goal
LAKE FOREST, Ill.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ record is perfect. Their play is not.
They come into today’s game against the Chicago Bears not scoring the way they envisioned or forcing turnovers the way they would like.
“No one is going to be perfect,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We know that. We’d like to be as good as we can be. ...
“You don’t want to be playing your best football right now. You want to find ways to win football games and keep getting better so your best football is being played hopefully in December and January.”
The offense has just four touchdowns through two games against Cleveland and Minnesota. The defense has one interception and one fumble recovery.
Then again, the Steelers (2-0) are unbeaten, with soaring expectations after losing to New England in the AFC title game. Their sights are set on their first Super Bowl appearance since the 2010 season and their first championship since the 2008 team won it all.
But the more immediate issue is this: Beating the rebuilding Bears (0-2).
If that seems like a given, well, the Steelers have some letdowns against lesser teams in their recent past. One was even against Bears quarterback Mike Glennon when he was with Tampa Bay.
Last year, Pittsburgh won its first two games, then got pounded 34-3 by Philadelphia. The Eagles went 7-9.
In 2015, the Steelers were surging toward a playoff spot when they lost late in the season to a Baltimore team that finished 5-11.
The loss to Glennon and the Buccaneers in 2014 was particularly bad. The Steelers fell 27-24 — at home — on a touchdown pass in the closing seconds. Oh, and the Bucs won just two games that year.
In 2013, Pittsburgh lost to Tennessee, Chicago and Minnesota in an 0-4 start. All three finished .500 or worse, while the Steelers wound up 8-8.
And in 2012, there were losses to Oakland and Tennessee — teams that finished 4-12 and 6-10, respectively.
The Bears, meanwhile, are a combined 0-8 in three Septembers under coach John Fox. With a Thursday night game at Green Bay coming up, they could be 0-10.
Rust or no rust, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell’s season is off to a sluggish start after he skipped the entire preseason as part of a contract dispute. The 2014 All-Pro has just 138 total yards through two weeks — 19 yards less than he averaged per game in 2016 when his 157 yards per outing led the NFL.