Should The Steelers Be Bullish About Bears Pass Defense?

Paul BaronnerContributor ISeptember 18, 2009

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during their game against the Chicago Bears on December 11, 2005 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Bears 21-9.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Week one saw Ben Roethlisberger put up other worldly statistics, at least for a Steelers quarterback not named Bradshaw. they went something like this: 23 of 43 for 363 yards one touchdown and two interceptions

Right now you may be thinking that the two picks were inconsequential.

That's a very real possibility; as he is coming off a year in which he had almost as many interceptions (15) as he did touchdowns (17) in the regular season, yet went on to lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl win. Be that as it may, last year may have been the exception and not the rule.

First consider this: Ben's fumble rate has steadily increased since his rookie year, losing two in each of his first two years, increasing to five in year three, jumping to nine his fourth year and way up to fourteen last year. Should the running game continue to struggle and Ben has his fumble total jump again this year, those kind of numbers may be hard to overcome, even for him.

Secondly, while relying on the passing game too much usually leads to more interceptions, over the long grind of a season maybe just as important is that it also causes a disparity in time of possession.

Once you quit controlling the clock you begin to resemble the Buffalo Bills of the early nineties. Oh yea they scored a lot of points and won a lot of games, but no Super Bowl wins and along the way they also wore out their own defense with the offenses quick scoring drives.

The Bills wore them out so much they made a pretty fair defense look like the weak link on the team. obviously part of clock management is to keep the defense fresh so they can go at full speed on every play and aren't a step behind the offense.

This week the Steelers go against a Bears defense that was strong against the run last year, but weak when it came to defending the pass. Injuries to the secondary along with an inability to get pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line seemed to be the main causes for their struggle in this area.

After finishing with only 41 sacks last year, they managed four VS. Green Bay and things were looking different this year for the Bears, even though they've had some defensive line injuries, that is until Brian Urlacher went down for the year, which may be too much for the Chicago defense to overcome.

Last week Aaron Rodgers statistically had a good game against the Bears, comparable to his career averages, though a little light in yardage compared to his fantasy type numbers of last year (273 yard a game AVG. compared to 184 last week) and his one touchdown was almost one below last years AVG. of 1.75 per game.

I believe Fast Willie Parker has heard enough criticism this week to have him amply motivated, that he should have a decent game, as could the other running backs that get playing time. With Ben playing the way he is, that should be enough to beat Chicago.

The Steelers Don't have to revert back to the old days in order to get a win, when we passed 15-20 times a game and spent most of the day pounding it into the line, a decent day running should suffice. Also I would think Pittsburgh probably spent a little extra time this week on their rushing attack.

So if any of you are looking for "Big Ben" to put up some run and shoot kind of statistics the rest of the year, I think we can forget about him garnering the numbers he got against the Titans on Thursday, week in and week out, which would project out to about 5800 yards this year along with 16 TD's and 32 INT's.

One thing I believe that will project out is another win, this week in Chi-Town.