The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 23, 2013

Unbeaten Bears feast on Steelers turnovers

PITTSBURGH — The Chicago Bears are unbeaten. The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t stop beating themselves.

Major Wright returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Julius Peppers picked up Ben Roethlisberger’s fumble and raced 42 yards for a score in the fourth quarter as the Bears beat the reeling Steelers 40-23 on Sunday night.

Roethlisberger completed 26 of 41 passes for 406 yards, and threw two touchdowns to Antonio Brown, but the Steelers fell to 0-3 for the first time since 2000 thanks to an avalanche of mistakes. Pittsburgh committed five turnovers, four of which led directly to points by the opportunistic Bears.

Jay Cutler passed for 159 yards and threw a 17-yard touchdown strike to Earl Bennett with just under 6 minutes remaining to give the Bears breathing room after the Steelers trimmed a 21-point deficit to four.

The Steelers trailed by three touchdowns in the first half but pulled within 27-23 on Shaun Suisham’s 44-yard field goal with 10:43 to play.

Chicago’s offense, which generated little after a 17-point outburst in the first quarter, responded behind Cutler.

The quarterback scrambled for 13 yards on third-and-10 to start the drive. Cutler then hit Brandon Marshall for 41 yards on third-and-12 to move into Pittsburgh territory. Facing third-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 17, Cutler found Bennett in the back corner of the end zone.

Officials ruled the pass was incomplete, but the play was overturned after replays showed Bennett deftly dragged his right foot before sliding out of bounds.

Pittsburgh tried to get back into the game but Lance Briggs stripped Roethlisberger, and Peppers picked up the ball. The veteran defensive end followed a parade of blockers down the sideline for Chicago’s second defensive score of the night and third in two weeks.

The Bears rode a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks to a 2-0 start. A rally wouldn’t be required this time after the Steelers continued to bumble their way through a miserable September.

Roethlisberger’s second interception on a late stat-padding drive was Pittsburgh’s ninth turnover through three games. The Steelers defense, meanwhile, hasn’t recorded a takeaway through 12 quarters.

It’s a recipe that rarely leads to victory.

Chicago’s defense isn’t quite the snarling force it was when recently retired linebacker Brian Urlacher was running things, but the Bears make up for their lack of bark with a pretty feisty bite.

When opponents get loose with the ball, the Bears pounce.

The mistakes started early. Pittsburgh turned it over twice in the first half. D.J. Williams stripped Roethlisberger in the first quarter, leading to a 5-yard touchdown run by Matt Forte.

Chicago was up 17-3 midway through the second quarter when Roethlisberger threw off his back foot in the face of a blitz. The bail sailed into the hands of Wright, who sprinted down the sideline for a touchdown to give the Bears a commanding 21-point lead.

The score marked the second straight week and the 10th time since the start of the 2012 season the Bears returned an interception for a touchdown, easily the most in the NFL.

The Steelers, looking to avoid their second 0-3 start in the last 27 years, responded with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Brown with 6:35 left in the half to give Pittsburgh life.

It didn’t last long. Wright jarred the ball loose from Felix Jones. Henry Milton recovered and Robbie Gould’s second field goal pushed Chicago’s lead to 27-10.

Pittsburgh, which came in ranked 31st in the league in total offense, finally got going. Brown made a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone to get the Steelers within 27-20. Suisham’s field goal pulled them within four before the Bears put the game away.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo