Key Matchup: Jay Cutler Against The Pittsburgh Steelers Pass Defense

Key Matchup: Jay Cutler Against The Pittsburgh Steelers Pass Defense

The Chicago Bears get their first taste of football outside of Soldier Field when they travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Despite the fact that the Steelers are 0-2 for the first time since 2002, Mike Tomlin's bunch has been steady on defense.

The Steelers rank first overall in total defense. They've allowed an average of 90.6 yards per game on the ground (2nd) and a measly 185.2 yards per game through the air (1st).

They allowed 16 points in Week One to Tennessee and 20 points last Monday night against Cincinnati.

They've scored just 19 points on the offensive side of the ball through two games, which has placed a lot of pressure on the entire defense.

With all that being said, the Bears can't take Pittsburgh for granted or it quickly turn into a trap game.

Quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears' offense have averaged 187.4 yards per game passing which is good for just 29th in the league among NFL offensive ranks.

The Bears have shown flashes of an improved offense over their first two games, but they haven't been able to sustain the production they desire for all four quarters.

In Week One, it was the running game that struggled and in Week Two, it was the offensive efficiency that struggled specifically near the redzone.

Cutler made a couple key mistakes that could have certainly cost his team.  He tossed two ugly interceptions and also fumbled a ball away that was taken back for a touchdown by Vikings defensive end Brian Robison in the second quarter.

I totally understand that Cutler is a competitor and he is trying to make plays, but he made some bad mistakes. The fumble was simply a play that he made out of confidence. He tried to extend the play with his legs and it backfired quickly when Jared Allen rung his bell.

"We talk about it all the time, watch tape on it, quarterback after quarterback getting stripped like that," Cutler said via Chicagotribune.com. "We drilled it. I was trying to bring it back in. He made a play. I just need to be smarter than that."

The interception at the Vikings one-yard line should have never been attempted. As a veteran quarterback, he should have audibled out of the play and taken it himself or tossed it up to one of his big receivers in Alshon Jeffery or Brandon Marshall in the endzone.

Cutler is 2-0 all-time against the Steelers completing 49 of 67 passes for 484 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions in those two wins.

Cutler was able to guide the Bears to a 17-14 win over Pittsburgh in his second game as a Bear in 2009.

However, you have to be impressed by the aging Steelers defense that hasn't been helped much by Ben Roethlisberger and the offense. Troy Polamolu and Lamar Woodley are still very good athletes that you have to account for.

The Bears must get off to a fast start in this one. Cutler can help by just playing safe and not making any errant throws into double coverage. Getting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett involved will only help this team open up things offensively as the game progresses.

The Steelers aren't a team that will be able to keep up offensively. Without a true No.1 running back and veteran wide receivers this offense has struggled out of the gate. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The Steelers haven't done much to shore up their offense since seeing receivers Hines Ward retire in 2011 and Mike Wallace sign elsewhere this off-season.

The Bears know what has to be done to continue their success and improve to 3-0 on the season. The key to a victory on Sunday night starts and ends with Jay Cutler and his offense.

It should be a good one between two storied franchises that have met 28 times since the 1920 inaugural season.

 

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