Bears top Steelers in OT
CHICAGO — Jordan Howard had already been forced to leave Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers twice after his right shoulder took a pounding. Regardless of the pain, however, the Chicago Bears running back was determined not to allow the injury to stop him.
One final 19-yard run on Sunday proved to be the perfect remedy.
Howard’s scoring run in overtime lifted the Chicago Bears to their first victory of the season, a 23-17 win over the Steelers at Soldier Field.
Bears running back Tarik Cohen appeared to end the game with a 73-yard touchdown run earlier in OT, but officials determined he stepped out of bounds at the 37-yard line. Chicago challenged the call, but it was upheld by video replay.
Enter Howard, who finished with 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and who admitted he looked over his shoulder on the way to the end zone to ensure there were no penalty flags behind him.
“I just saw my team and they kept fighting,” Howard said afterward. “So I kept fighting.
“That (touchdown run) is a like a dream come true. You always dream about stuff like that but it never happens. So that was crazy.”
Howard’s game-winning run came after Pittsburgh (2-1) tied the game with 8:03 remaining in regulation on Chris Boswell’s 32-yard field goal.
The Steelers took possession deep in their own territory with 52 seconds remaining, but were unable to move the ball before linebacker Willie Young sacked Ben Roethlisberger on the final play of the fourth quarter.
“I need to play better football — I will take this game on me,” said Roethlisberger, who completed 22 of 39 passes and was sacked three times. “I did not play well enough. I missed too many throws, did not make good reads or whatever it is, turned the ball over on a sack-fumble.
“(I) cannot do that so this one is on me.”
The Steelers, who turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, got to within 17-14 with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter on a Le’Veon Bell 1-yard touchdown run.
The Bears led 17-7 at halftime after quarterback Mike Glennon found Adam Shaheen open in the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Connor Barth extended the lead to 10 points with a 17-yard field goal with no time showing on the clock. The kick occurred after Chicago’s Sherrick McManis blocked a Boswell field-goal attempt. Marcus Cooper recovered the ball and had a clear path to the end zone, but he slowed down at the goal line and had the ball stripped by Vance McDonald before Cooper reached the end zone following a 73-yard return.
“I thought I was in, but obviously, I wasn’t,” Cooper said. “I couldn’t do (anything) about that play. You move forward.”
He added: “I should have scored.”
The Steelers batted the ball out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Said McDonald: “I’ve never seen a half end like that before. I just hit the ball as hard as I could. I don’t know where it went.”
After video review, officials determined the Bears were on offense when the fumble occurred so the defensive penalty resulted in an untimed down. On first down, there was a false start. They then lined up Barth for the field goal that gave Chicago a 10-point lead.
The Steelers rallied in the second half behind Roethlisberger, who finished with 235 yards and a touchdown, and Bell, who had 61 yards on 15 carries. Antonio Brown, who had a 7-yard touchdown catch, had 10 receptions for 110 yards in the loss.
But after holding the Bears scoreless in the second half to draw even, the Steelers couldn’t slow down Chicago’s running game in overtime, done in eventually by Howard’s touchdown run.
“We fought our tails off, but we weren’t able to finish the job,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We faced a lot of adversity today, but most of it was created by us.”
Glennon finished 15 of 22 for 101 yards, one interception and one touchdown.
NOTES: Steelers WR Antonio Brown became the fastest NFL player to reach 650 career receptions. Brown reached the mark in his 104th game, three fewer than former Indianapolis Colts receiver Marvin Harrison. ... Steelers G Ramon Foster left the game with a hand injury. ... Bears LG Kyle Long played for the first time this season after recovering from ankle surgery. ... WR Markus Wheaton (pinkie surgery) and CB Prince Amukamara (ankle) also made their season debuts. ... TE Adam Shaheen scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard catch just before the half. ... Bears C Hroniss Grasu left the game with a wrist injury.