Quick thoughts and observations from the Bears’ 23-17 overtime win against the Steelers on Sunday at Soldier Field:
1. Long’s big return
The Bears’ running backs exploded for 216 yards Sunday against the Steelers because of their offensive line, which was bolstered by Kyle Long’s return.
With Josh Sitton out with a rib injury, the Bears started Long at right guard, which he played last season.
A hot day on the lakefront didn’t hinder Long, who played for the first time since suffering his gruesome right-ankle injury in Week 10 of last season.
“It feels like you’ve been gone a long time until you get out there,” Long said. “And then, it’s like, ‘This is still football. It’s still really hard.’ I’m just happy to out there.”
2. Sowell played well
The Bears’ offensive line’s depth was tested again.
Center Hroniss Grasu suffered a right hand injury. He was on the sideline but his hand was casted, which prevented him from snapping.
As a result, Cody Whitehair was moved back to center from left guard. Veteran reserve lineman Bradley Sowell took over at left guard.
“Last week was the first time he played guard in his life,” quarterback Mike Glennon said of Sowell. “Now, he’s thrown in here against a really good defense. It’s awesome he stepped in. He has a great attitude and a great mentality, and he brings toughness to our offensive line.”
3. McPhee matters
Here’s some good news: outside linebacker Pernell McPhee factored in the win. He had his best game this season after missing all of camp and the preseason because of knee surgery. He had three tackles and a sack.