The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 25, 2013

Steelers' Bell could be ready for Vikings

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is trying to keep things as normal as he can these days, believing routine and repetition will lead to a sense of comfort and – he hopes – success.

Good luck with that.

Winless in North America in 2013, the Steelers (0-3) will try to snap out of their funk on Sunday in London when they face the Minnesota Vikings (0-3).

While Minnesota is already overseas, Pittsburgh will remain on this side of the Atlantic until Thursday evening.

By the time the Steelers arrive in London, they will have less than 48 hours to overcome jet lag and try to turn around their season. It isn’t ideal, Tomlin said, but it beats the alternative.

“I value normalcy in the early portions of the week from a preparation standpoint and from a practice standpoint – use of our facilities, the comforts of home if you will,” Tomlin said.

Even if “home” isn’t exactly comfortable these days.

Pittsburgh is off to its worst start since 2000 after falling to Chicago 40-23 on Sunday night. While the beleaguered offense took a major step forward in piling up 458 yards – the team’s highest total in four years – the Steelers also turned over the ball five times. Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, with two of the miscues leading to defensive touchdowns.

It’s the kind of sloppy play Roethlisberger has generally avoided during his 10 years at quarterback. Then again, he isn’t getting much help from the guys in front of him. The Bears stunted and twisted their way into the backfield all night, leading to what Tomlin called “confusion” that gave Roethlisberger little time to get his feet set and throw.

“All it takes is five to 10 (breakdowns) to produce catastrophic-like results, and that’s some of the things that are occurring,” he said. “Obviously, we need to strive for more consistency to minimize those things.”

A more productive running game would help. The Steelers actually took a significant step forward against the Bears, rushing for a season-high 80 yards, including a 25-yard burst from recently reacquired Jonathan Dwyer.

 

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