The Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears have a long history, since the Steelers have been around since 1933. But since the Bears-Steelers game in 1980 was the first I watched, I’ll start there. That year the Bears were coming off a playoff appearance when they entered Three Rivers Stadium to take on the defending world champions. The Bears were 1-1, and promptly were embarrassed 38-3. As a fourth grader I distinctly remember watching the game at my Aunt’s house, and the game getting out of control very early. The teams didn’t play again until 1986 when the Bears won 13-10 in overtime. That game was during a stretch in which the Bears couldn’t score without Jim McMahon. In 1989, Chicago again won 20-0 during a season in which they only won six games total. In 1992, in Mike Singletary‘s last home game, the Bears won one of their only five games that season against the AFC Championship-bound Steelers. To me, that game makes me question whether the 1992 Chicago Bears were as bad as their record, or if the players quit on Mike Ditka.
The 1995 meeting at Soldier Field was also memorable. I remember Bears receiver Curtis Conway dropping multiple passes and that hideous ’95 pass defense giving up conversion after conversion on third down. The Bears lost in overtime after Kevin Butler couldn’t make the winning kick in regulation. In 1998 at Three Rivers, the Bears were overmatched and lost.
The teams didn’t meet again until 2005, in a game which many of us remember. It was the Bears’ first trip to Heinz Field. The Bears were rolling at the time, but with rookie Kyle Orton at quarterback they were bowled over by Jerome Bettis. The Steelers were on the way to a Super Bowl win, and crushed the Bears 21-9 in the bright snowfall.
Finally, in the last meeting between the two teams in 2009, the Bears won 17-14 over the reigning Super Bowl champs. It was Jay Cutler‘s first win as a Bear.
Speaking of Cutler, he’s currently the highest-rated third down passer in the NFL. That’s good to know.
But conversely, the Bears defense is allowing their opponents to convert over 50% of their third-down attempts. Not good.
I’m pretty sure I went on record when he was hired to declare Marc Trestman a fantastic “out of the box” hire by GM Phil Emery. I think we’d be hard pressed to find any Bears fan that isn’t enamored with him at this point. Trestman became just the third coach in the Bears’ 93-year history to start his career with a 2-0 record (George Halas and Neill Armstrong were the others.) But remember, Armstrong started 3-0 and finished 20-24 as a head coach. Just like last week, I think the Bears will win in Pittsburgh and start this season 3-0. But also just like last week, I don’t expect the win to be easy. The Steelers won’t roll over at home and start the season 0-3 easily. But the team has rushed for less than 100 yards in the first two games. This should make them one-dimensional. But the possibility still exists that if the Bears commit mistakes and can’t stop the pass, they could lose.
Finally, Cincinnati Bengals, if you’re as good as you and everyone else thinks you are, please beat Green Bay, will you?