1. Major Wright — Wright made two game-changing plays by creating turnovers. In the second quarter, he picked off a Ben Roethlisberger pass and returned it 38 yards for a Bears touchdown. On the Steelers’ opening drive of the second half, Wright’s hit on Felix Jones forced a fumble, recovered by Henry Melton.
2. Jordan Mills — The rookie had a few huge run blocks to help spring Matt Forte. On Forte’s first-quarter touchdown, Mills put a Steelers defender in the dirt. He also put a bruising block on Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, which created a huge hole for Forte to go 55 yards in the first.
3. Earl Bennett — He missed all the preseason with a concussion and got his pay docked, but Bennett came up with the play of the game when he kept both feet in on a 17-yard touchdown catch with 5:48 to go in the game, giving the Bears a 34-23 lead. Jay Cutler made a perfect throw, and Bennett showed great concentration to drag his foot while completing the catch.
3 things that worked
1. Taking it away — The Bears scored two touchdowns on turnovers — Wright's pick-six and Julius Peppers fumble-recovery touchdown, and then got another score following D.J. WIlliams' forced fumble, recovered by James Anderson.
2. Third-down defense — Another early bugaboo for the Bears’ defense through two weeks had been getting off the field on third down, but thanks to some blitzing as well as a couple Steelers drops, the Bears’ nickel defense held up. In the first half, the Steelers converted only one first down on six third-down opportunities.
3. Clutch play — Maybe Cutler just likes the pressure. The Steelers mounted a big second-half comeback, and the offense had been brutal since the first quarter, but with the momentum clearly in the Steelers’ corner, Cutler made the two big throws to put Pittsburgh away.
3 that didn’t
1. Defensive line pressure — At times it looked better, and we saw more of Peppers than we did in the first two games, but several times this unit failed to bring Roethlisberger down when given the chance. In the second half, it became apparent the Bears needed to blitz to create any kind of pressure, and that’s when the Steelers’ passing game found success.
2. Safety coverage — Too often this season, the Bears have given up big plays with either safety Chris Conte or Major Wright coming for help a hair late. The Steelers had little issue gaining big yards up the seam or down the sideline, where good safety coverage may have made the difference.
3. Goal-line offense — A little nit-picking here, because eventually they did score, but the Bears needed four chances to score from 1st-and-goal on the one-yard line. Michael Bush had three rushes before crossing the goal line, and a play-action pass to Martellus Bennett fell incomplete.
3 moments that mattered
1. Prior to his touchdown run, in which he helicoptered into the endzone, Matt Forte converted a third-and-9 to get the Bears in position. The offensive line gave Jay Cutler the time, he checked down to Forte in the flat, and Brandon Marshall made an open-field block to help get the first down.
2. The Bears had forced a punt in the second quarter, with a 24-3 lead, but Anthony Walters committed a brutal roughing-the-kicker personal foul. A couple plays later, Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a touchdown, cutting the Bears lead to 14. The Bears could have put Pittsburgh away, but Walters’ penalty gave them life, and they took advantage.
3. Before Bennett got the big touchdown to put the Bears up 11, Cutler found Brandon Marshall deep down the left sideline for a 41-yard gain. Marshall showed his impressive body control to haul in the catch on third-and-12. If that fell incomplete, the Steelers would have gotten the ball back down four with plenty of time on the clock.
It means: To this point, the Bears are flawless. Regardless of how they got there, it really doesn't matter. First place is first place.
What's next: The Bears travel to Detroit to face the 2-1 Lions, with a shot at pushing the Bears' NFC North lead to two games.