Ten reactions and tidbits from the game:
1. The question all week was how would the Bears defense respond without middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, lost for the season with a dislocated right wrist. It didn't look good from the start as the Steelers rolled up 144 yards offense on their first two possessions. Pittsburgh led just 7-0 because Ben Roethlisberger and rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace clearly were crossed up on an easy interception for Charles Tillman.
From there, the Bears' defense responded. Down two linebackers--Pisa Tinoisamoa missed with a sprained right knee--the Bears used three to fill the void. Hunter Hillenmeyer played middle linebacker and Nick Roach and Jamar Williams shared time on the strong side. On Pittsburgh's next seven possessions, it totaled just 164 yards offense. The difference was with the front seven. The Bears applied pressure and while defensive end Alex Brown got the only two sacks for the unit, Roethlisberger was forced to do two things. First, he had to get rid of the ball quickly. Second, he had to throw short. With the defensive backs doing a good job of tackling, it worked.
There is no question Urlacher was missed, but the defense is accustomed to playing without stars. At some point each of the previous five seasons, the Bears had to deal with the loss of safety Mike Brown. They also were forced to play without tackle Tommie Harris in their march to Super Bowl XLI.
2. In a perfect world, the Bears figured they might get some use out of Johnny Knox, the fifth-round pick from Abilene Christian, as a slot receiver. The club took the smart approach with him and kept it simple in training camp, asking him to just learn one position. The hope was he wouldn't be overloaded like Earl Bennett was last season when he was asked to learn all three positions at one time. Bennett wound up barely seeing the field because the coaches couldn't trust him. That's clearly not the case with Knox, who had a team-high six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. After two games, he leads the team with 152 receiving yards. To put that in perspective, last season's starting wide receivers Devin Hester and Rashied Davis each needed five games to amass that many yards.
The Bears had strong feelings for Knox. The area scout Chris Ballard knows Abilene Christian, the Division II program that also produced free safety Danieal Manning, well. Ballard coached in the Lone Star Conference previously at Texas A&M-Kingsville. He knows the coaches in the league and he sees the players frequently. When Knox went from an unknown to running a sub-4.3 40-yard dash at the combine, it only strengthened the Bears' belief in him. Some clubs viewed him as a project because he had spent two years at Tyler Junior College, but the Bears believed with his speed he could contribute quickly.
3. Knox's development looks like it might keep Devin Aromashodu on the bench for a while. Aromashodu won the No. 3 receiving job in preseason and became a favorite target of Jay Cutler quickly. But a pulled quad muscle sidelined him for the opener. Knox had a 68-yard reception at Green Bay, and the coaching staff wasn't about to send him to the sideline. Now, Aromashodu might have to bide his time because the offense hasn't shown much in the way of four-receiver sets, and Rashied Davis' special teams ability will keep him active on game days. When position coach Darryl Drake joked about Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig, well, he wasn't really joking. Of course, Aromashodu can't exactly play the role of Pipp seeing as his next regular-season game in a Bears' uniform will be his first.