Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
The Steelers defense has failed to force a turnover in the first three games of the season for the first time in franchise history, according to Pro Football Reference. The last team without a takeaway in the first three games of the season was the 2005 Houston Texans. They finished 2-14.
That's an ominous sign for the 2013 Steelers.
The Steelers have allowed 318 yards per game, 10th in the NFL. They yielded just 159 passing yards to Jay Cutler Sunday night and 3.8 yards per rush. The unit has shown an ability to stop teams, but snatching the ball from the other team's offense every now and then is also part of the job.
The Steelers defense is behaving like a security guard when it needs to use the force of a police officer.
The D has also been vulnerable to big plays.
A 55-yard run by Matt Forte Sunday set up Michael Bush's 1-yard touchdown run to increase the Bears lead to 17-0 in the first quarter.
The Steelers trailed by as many as 21 points, but pulled to within 27-23 in the fourth quarter. Then the defense let the Bears off the hook by failing to force punts on two 3rd-and-longs. Cutler ran for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-10 and three plays later threw a 41-yard pass to Brandon Marshall, moving the ball to the Steelers 22, which set up a 17-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett.
That gave Chicago a two-possession lead with less than six minutes left.
In their Week 2 matchup against Pittsbugh, the Cincinnati Bengals gouged the Steelers defense with a 61-yard pass to rookie tight end Tyler Eifert that set up a touchdown. Then there was the 27-yard touchdown pass to first-year back Giovani Bernard that gave Cincinnati the lead for good.
Those plays wouldn't be so costly if the Steelers defense was causing fumbles and interceptions.