Steelers Bears Football

Bears cornerback Marcus Cooper runs the ball after teammate Sherrick McManis blocked a field goal by Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell during the first half of Sunday's game.

Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

CHICAGO | Bears' coach John Fox got his 10th win in three seasons Sunday. Did I hear contract extension?

If ever a bad NFL team stole a game, it was the Bears' lucky 23-17 overtime win against the previously-unbeaten Steelers.

I know. I know. These are the Bears, so wins are like crumbs on the table your dog begs for.

You got to admit. This was must-watch football.

The Bears averaged 3.5 yards per pass completion by Mike Glennon, who now has three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 79.8 quarterback rating after three games.

They had 10 penalties for 73 yards, more than what the Steelers rushed for.

They fumbled five times.

They gave up 10 points off turnovers.

And they won, thanks to Jordan Howard's 19-yard TD run, set up by rookie Tarik Cohen's 36-yard romp before stepping out at the Pittsburgh 37.

At first, everyone at sun-baked Soldier Field, including Cohen, thought he had gone the distance as he sent a long spiral into the stands and took off running along a side of the stadium.

Officials then stepped in.

"I feel I have to do a better job of not leaving it in the refs' hands," Cohen said. "I have to stay clear of the sideline."

Despite a sore right shoulder that twice sent Howard to the sideline, the former Indiana University star still managed 23 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

His third-quarter fumble at the Bears' 16 led to a Steelers' TD, but big wins give fans a short memory.

"I want to thank my teammates. I was hurtin' out there and they kept pushing me. They made my job easy," Howard said. "I was hurt pretty bad. I didn't feel like I could finish, but my team kept fighting, so I had to keep fighting."

Howard had rushed for 59 yards, a 2.7 average, and one TD in the previous two losses. This was not a happy man.

"I was very disappointed because we weren't winning. You also want to do well but winning comes first," Howard said. "Today, we did both so I can't knock it."

Teammate Sherrick McManis, in his eighth season with the Bears, could only shake his head when discussing the second-year running back.

"We call that 'grit.' We love the man. He's a fighter and we appreciate him," McManis said.

Cohen contributed 78 yards on 12 carries, giving him a 6.5 average this young season.

"We can be very potent. I think the sky's the limit," Cohen said. "We're trying to be the best duo in the league."

Which brings us to special teams and Marcus Cooper Sr., who went from the doghouse to a winning smile within minutes.

On a replay you'll be seeing for days to come, Cooper took Chris Boswell's blocked field goal 73 yards just seconds before halftime but slowed down at the Pittsburgh 3. Vance McDonald stripped the ball from his arms and players chased it out of the end zone.

The Bears had to settle for Connor Barth's chip-shot field goal and a 17-7 lead.

"I thought I was in. Obviously, I wasn't," Cooper said. "I didn't hear anybody behind me. Regardless of that, we're here for wins, not losses.

"Thankfully, guys were backing me up. You move forward. We still got three points out of that situation."

Even the officials appeared startled, then confused, summoning players back on the field as both teams were leaving for the half.

"I should've scored in the first place," Cooper said.

The Bears' defense deserved an extra bow.

McManis recovered a fumbled punt that set up his team's first touchdown and later blocked the field goal Cooper took off with.

Bryce Callahan forced a Ben Roethlisberger fumble that Akiem Hicks pounced on at the 50.

Cooper's pass defense in the red zone was exceptional and made amends for his earlier screwup.

These are your 2017-18 Bears. Get used to it.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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