Chicago's 24-3 lead was crumbling. The Bears' defense was giving up big plays to Ben Roethlisberger, and the Bears' offense was stuck in quicksand.
This was the moment, early in the fourth quarter, that the Bears normally would go three-and-out. But something much different happened on three plays Sunday night that ultimately keyed in Chicago's 40-23 victory over the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
- Facing a third-and-10 from the Bears' 23-yard line, Jay Cutler escaped pressure in the pocket and scrambled for a 13-yard gain. Instead of sliding at the end of the play, Cutler went shoulder first into Pittsburgh safety Robert Golden. Cutler got the better end of the collision.
- Three plays later, the Bears faced third-and-12. Troy Polamalu blitzed from the left side, but Chicago's improved offensive line picked up the pressure. Cutler lofted a gorgeous 41-yard back-shoulder throw to Brandon Marshall. It was a quiet game for Marshall overall, but he made a terrific catch despite tight coverage from Ike Taylor.
- Facing third-and-5 from the Steelers' 17-yard line, the Bears already had put together a successful drive. The game was over after Cutler and Earl Bennett pulled off the play of the night. Cutler put the ball in the only place on the field where the receiver could catch it. Bennett made one of the best catches you'll ever see to somehow stay in bounds. Game over.
Coach Marc Trestman's defense remains a huge plus, forcing five turnovers and scoring two touchdowns. But the difference in this Bears team is on offense. Cutler still is capable of producing the awe-inspiring throws, but he's limiting the accompanying groaners.
For the first time in a long time, the Bears are balanced. The Green Bay Packers have some catching up to do.
The "Around The League Podcast" has already recapped every Week 3 game! Click here to listen and subscribe.