Morning Box Score: Gould Kick Overcomes Steelers
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 21, 2009 2:40PM
For their home opener -- and Jay Cutler's regular season debut at Soldier Field -- the Bears welcomed the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers to town. With a Week 1 loss in Green Bay, the Bears couldn't afford to fall to 0-2. But could they defeat the reigning champs? In fact they could, winning 17-14 on a Robbie Gould field goal with just seconds left in the game. The Bears had never led in the game until that final kick put them ahead at the end.
The Steelers jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead by driving 92 yards on their first possession. The Bears tied the game at 7-7 scored when Cutler found backup tight end Kellen Davis for a 6-yard touchdown pass to cap a 97-yard drive in the second quarter. Behind the legs of former Illini Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh struck for a quick TD in the third quarter before the Bears sustained another TD drive in the fourth where Cutler connected with rookie Johnny Knox to even things up at 14 apiece. Pittsburgh had the chance to take the lead late in the game but Steelers kicker Jeff Reed missed wide left on a 43 yard field goal attempt. The Bears got the ball back, drove down the field and Robbie Gould put the ball through the uprights from 44 yards away.
Coming off his 4 interception game against the Packers, Jay Cutler looked much improved this week in spite of playing against the league's top defense. He completed 27 of 38 passes for 236 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. The Bears offense relied heavily on Cutler's passing because once again the running game did little. Matt Forte gained just 29 yards rushing on 13 carries. Cutler hit seven different receivers -- all at least twice. Rookie Knox led the team with 6 receptions and 70 yards receiving.
Allowing Pittsburgh a TD on their first possession, we feared how the Bears' defense was weakened by injury. The "D" fielded four different starters from last week - Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach filling in for injured linebackers brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa, while Danieal Manning and Zack Bowman were added to the starting lineup to replace ineffective Nathan Vasher and Kevin Payne in the secondary. The defense did look much improved this week. We can only hope that Alex Brown's sprained ankle doesn't sideline him after his monster game.
Next week, the Bears head out west to take on the Seattle Seahawks, who will also enter the game with a 1-1 record.