Pompei: Observations From Bears-Steelers

By Dan Pompei–

(CBS) So let me get this straight. The Bears passed for just 101 yards. They missed a field goal. They were penalized 10 times. Marcus Cooper lost the ball on the Steelers’ 1. Jordan Howard fumbled. And the Bears won? Against the Steelers? Sometimes, football doesn’t make sense, as Chicago’s bizarre 23-17 win in overtime at Soldier Field on Sunday showed.

Here are my observations:

1. Cooper’s failure on the touchdown that wasn’t, I’m fairly certain, was loss of focus. That’s a more acceptable failure than laziness. But it’s still not acceptable.

2. Of all the traits Howard showed Sunday (vision, power, burst), toughness easily trumped them all.

3. Howard playing on a short week against the Packers might not be a good idea. Anybody have Jeremy Langford’s number?

4. I’m normally not a fan of running backs purposely running out of bounds. But I’ve got no problem when Tarik Cohen does it.

5. And Cohen wasn’t out of bounds in overtime. That run was insane.

6. Cohen is better than I thought he was. (Repeat this observation weekly).

7. Kyle Long is better than I remember he was. And the thing is, I don’t think he’s come close to fulfilling his potential yet.

8. The Bears ran the ball 61 percent of the time. Dowell Loggains, that’s what I’m talking about.

9. That’s precisely the way to use Mike Glennon if you want to win the game.

10. It isn’t often that a special teams player who isn’t a returner or kicker has a more significant impact on a game than a quarterback. Sherrick McMannis > Mike Glennon.

11. The Bears on Sunday hammered home a theme that has followed them for nearly 100 years: receivers are overrated.

12. Deonte Thompson, Josh Bellamy and Bobby Massie have gotten their share of criticism for offensive failures. They deserve their share of credit for what they did Sunday. Thompson and Bellamy had some key downfield blocks, and Massie had a critical fumble recovery.

13. Another unsung hero has been new offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn. With a depleted group of offensive linemen playing musical chairs because of injuries, Washburn made the line a strength instead of a weakness.

14. Dion Sims is the kind of guy who shows up more on the game tape than on the stat sheet. You need players like that.

15. Bears cornerbacks had as difficult an assignment as they will have all season. And all of them stepped up. Cornerback play has been the biggest pleasant surprise for the Bears.

16. The victory over the mighty Steelers was a false reading on this team, just like the blowout loss last week to the Bucs was a false reading. The truth on the Bears is somewhere in the middle.

Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670’s Bears pregame show. He writes for Bleacher Report and theathletic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.

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