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Steelers work to cut down on penalties
The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in one category they'd rather not: penalties.
After two games, the Steelers have committed 23 penalties for 215 yards. That's three more penalties than any other team for 27 more yards than the next most penalized team.
The Steelers are 2-0 after beating the Vikings, 26-9, Sunday at Heinz Field, but head coach Mike Tomlin knows the Steelers can't continue to commit self-inflicted wounds and expect to continue winning.
The Vikings game was a comedy of errors on both sides. The Steelers committed 10 penalties for 72 yards. The Vikings one-upped them by committing 11 penalties for 131 yards.
For the Steelers, believe it or not, the 10 penalties against the Vikings was an improvement over their Week 1 game against the Browns when they were penalized 13 times for 144 yards.
"We were still highly penalized, but we were less penalized than we were in Week 1, particularly some of the penalties that are troublesome from a coach perspective - the post-play penalties, for example," Tomlin said. "We were highly penalized in that area in the opener. We improved in that area dramatically and that's reasonable to expect.
"It's also reasonable to expect us to continue to improve on some of the end-thing plays we're getting called on, holding and so forth whether it's on defense or offense. We'll continue to work to develop skills relative to our position - hands, eyes and feet relative to our position. We believe that if we continue to focus on that in preparation that the penalties will continue to come down. That's our intention."
The Steelers have been able to overcome their miscues and are off to a 2-0 start. The Bears are 0-2 and were not very competitive last week in their 29-7 loss to the Buccaneers.
The Bears have not been a productive group on offense. Against the Buccaneers, they committed four turnovers, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have only committed one turnover in the first two games - a Ben Roethlisberger interception against the Browns.
That was an emphasis for the Steelers this summer.
"I don't know if he threw an interception in (training camp)," Tomlin said. "He's just done a great job of taking care of the ball. And oftentimes, particularly in the early stages of the season, that's just enough to maybe get you out of a stadium. We've done a good job of taking care of the ball.
"It's a good thing because at this juncture, we haven't gotten the ball a lot. So even though we haven't gotten the ball a lot, I think we're still plus-one in the turnover margin, and you know how significant the turnover margin is to winning and losing. You saw that play out last week in Tampa. Those teams are much closer, and I'm sure Chicago is a much better team than what was on display down there because of first-half turnovers, one of which was a pick-six. That will ruin the climate."
SERIES HISTORY: 27th regular-season meeting. Bears lead series, 18-7-1. The Bears have won the past two meetings, including a 40-23 win at Heinz Field in 2013. The Bears are 11-1 in games played in Chicago. The only time the Steelers beat the Bears in Chicago was 1995. They won, 37-34, in overtime en route to an AFC championship.