There's plenty of culprits to blame for Steelers' loss
At the beginning of Sunday's game, with the Steelers' opening possession in the shadow of their own goal post, they employed a three-wide receiver set.
On third-and-short, when the Steelers needed to pick up a first down, they played three receivers.
During crunch time, when the Steelers needed to move the ball, they had three receivers on the field.
Get the picture?
That break from tradition isn't why the Steelers suffered their first loss of the season, 17-14, to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Who was that man disguised as kicker Jeff Reed anyway?
Normally reliable under pressure, Reed's two missed field goals in the fourth quarter on a wet and loose playing surface were the difference in a game the Steelers carelessly let slip away.
"Of course, this is uncharacteristic of him," Mike Tomlin said in what may have been his shortest postgame news conference as Steelers coach. "He just kicked the game-winner in overtime last week, and that's what we're used to. We aren't used to what happened to him today."
Strange things happened to the Steelers against the Bears. And not because it seemed like offensive coordinator Bruce Arians ran more three-receiver sets than the pass-happy New Orleans Saints.
Just kidding. No team runs more three-receiver sets than Drew Brees' Saints. But give the Steelers a gold star for trying.
No, there were fingerprints from all corners of the locker room after this loss.
How about the defense giving up three costly scoring drives against a Chicago offense that sputtered a week earlier against a Green Bay defense in its first year of playing a 3-4 alignment borrowed from the Steelers?
That final drive led to Robbie Gould's 44-yard game-winning field goal with 15 seconds remaining.
"We felt like we had an opportunity to finish the game out," linebacker James Farrior said of the Steelers blowing a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter. "We had the lead and let them come back. That's very disappointing as a defense."
Not only did Chicago rookie receiver Johnny Knox beat strong safety Tyrone Carter for a 7-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that made the score 14-14, Carter was beaten as Troy Polamalu's replacement.
Now Carter has to hear all week about how the Steelers' secondary is in trouble because Polamalu will be sidelined at least two more games with a knee injury.
"I should have called timeout," said Carter, who injured his left thigh after breaking up a pass for tight end Greg Olsen in the second quarter. "Because of my leg I couldn't move. I was just out there. I think I kind of hurt my teammates by either not coming out of the game or calling timeout."
And there was Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes explaining what appeared to be his drop of a potential touchdown pass against Bears cornerback Charles Tillman late in the game that would have given the Steelers a 21-7 lead.
"I saw the tip of the ball. That's all I was watching the whole time," said Holmes, who had five receptions for a game-high 83 yards but allowed three catchable balls to slip through his fingers. "I put my hands in the right (position). When I thought the ball was landing, (Tillman) got his hands up at the last second and nudged the ball, and it fell between my arms."
One play later, Reed missed a field goal.
Eight plays after that, Gould put Chicago ahead for keeps.
After fumbling away a win, Sunday's game at Cincinnati can't arrive soon enough for the 1-1 Steelers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers sign 7th-rounder Holliman
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Blake gets outside shot in nickel
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- NFL notebook: Broncos left tackle Clady tears ACL, likely out for season
- Steelers’ Brown: Attendance ‘never a doubt’ for offseason workouts
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison open for larger role
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players