Getting their first crack at the NFL's prime time Sunday night spotlight the revamped Chicago Bears did not disappoint in their first road test of the young 2013 season.
Pulverizing the Pittsburgh Steelers 40-23 the Monsters of the Midway did what they do best, create and capitalize on turnovers.
Moving to 3-0 for the first time since 2010 the Bears' ball hawks bewildered Big Ben Roethlisberger with blitzes all night long.
Ultimately producing three sacks, five takeaways and two more defensive touchdowns in the Steel City, Chicago may have a new coaching staff and some new personnel but their ferocious formula remains the same.
Midway through the second quarter Bears safety Major Wright picked off Roethlisberger and returned his errant pass for a 38-yard touchdown. Chicago's defense added its second score late in the fourth quarter when captain Lance Briggs' savage sack of Big Ben forced a fumble that defensive end Julius Peppers promptly scampered 42 yards into the end zone with.
After leading the NFL with 44 takeaways last season, the Bears have already generated 11 more in their first three games. In 2012 the defense's nine touchdowns were second most in league history. Including their two Sunday night scores the Bears already have three defensive TDs in 2013.
But despite their five forced turnovers Chicago's secondary did seemingly lose track of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown most of the evening. Nabbing nine balls for an amazing 196 yards and two terrific touchdowns Brown led the Steelers' offense which managed to somehow outgain Chicago 459-258 in total yards.
Perhaps their 24-3 first half lead created complacent conditions but the Bears apathetic offense dwindled away the comfortable margin and allowed Pittsburgh to narrow the gap to an almost incomprehensible 27-23.
However, staring down a crucial fourth quarter 3rd and 12 a calm and collected Jay Cutler once again found his favorite pro bowl receiver Brandon Marshall down the sideline for the game changing 42 yard first down completion.
Rather than settle for a late field goal which would have given Chicago a seven point lead, No. 6 instead found his former Vanderbilt teammate Earl Bennett in the back of the Steelers end zone. Bennett's tremendous toe-tapping touchdown grab gave the Bears the 34-23 advantage with just 5:48 remaining.
After Peppers pounced on Big Ben's ensuing fumble and scored the game sealing touchdown Chicago's 40 impressive points were the most surrendered by the Steelers in Pittsburgh since 2000.
The Bears once again take their undefeated show on the road this weekend against their NFC North foes the Detroit Lions. Containing Calvin Johnson, the best wide receiver in the game, will be a tall task for the Chicago secondary. Slowing down Motown's newest weapon, banged up all purpose back Reggie Bush, will also prove challenging for the Bears' demoralizing D.
However, if Cutler can remain a cool customer behind his rebuilt O-line and once again spread the ball amongst his wide array of offensive weaponry Chicago should be able keep their impressive undefeated status intact.