Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are the Bears’ version of thunder and lightning.
The running back combo teamed to get the Bears down the field in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving the team its first win of the 2017 campaign, a 23-17 victory at Soldier Field.
After a couple critical turnovers erased the Bears’ 10-point halftime lead, the game spun into overtime. Cohen dropped jaws with what at first appeared to be a 73-yard touchdown run to end the game. But officials ruled he stepped out bounds just inside the 40.
Enter Howard, who covered the remaining 37 yards with a pair of strong rushes, including the 19-yard scamper that got him into the end zone and gave the Bears the win.
Howard finished with a monster day: 138 yards and two touchdowns, enough to wipe away the memory of his second-half fumble that set up a Steelers touchdown. Cohen added another 78 yards to that as the Bears rushed for 220 yards as a team.
The success on the ground was enough to make Mike Glennon’s paltry passing statistics fairly meaningless. Glennon finished just 15-for-22 for 101 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His lone scoring toss went to Adam Shaheen, the rookie tight end’s first NFL catch.
In the end, it was an impressive effort from the Bears all around, who despite not playing good-looking football defeated a high-caliber Steelers team. Match that with the near-comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, and the Bears have looked better than expected in their two games at Soldier Field.
What on Earth was Marcus Cooper thinking?
The most exciting and most unbelievable play of the game came as time ran out on the first half, when Marcus Cooper became the NFL goat of the day with an inexplicable fumble at the one-yard line.
Let’s rewind. The Steelers marched their way into the red zone in the final seconds of the second quarter and lined up for a field goal with just a few seconds left. Sherrick McManis, the Bears’ special-teams ace who recovered a muffed punt earlier in the game, blocked that kick, and Cooper picked it up. Cooper, one of the Bears’ starting cornerbacks, sprinted the ball back like 70 yards, appearing destined to cruise into the end zone. But instead of cruising into the end zone, Cooper incredibly stopped short of the goal line, allowing a Steelers player to chop the ball out of his hands.
To make matters even stranger, the Steelers for flagged for illegally batting the ball out of the end zone after the fumble at the one-yard line. That prolonged the first half, allowing the Bears to line up at the half-yard line and try for a touchdown. But Charles Leno was flagged for a false start, and the Bears had to settle for a field goal.
So what looked like a 14-10 halftime edge for the Bears then looked like a 21-7 halftime lead only to result in a 17-7 halftime lead. Bonkers.