PITTSBURGH (AP) — LaMarr Woodley tried to sound upbeat. He even did the math in an attempt to prove his point.
Standing in a quiet locker room after the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 0-3 with a 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, Woodley didn't hesitate when asked if his team could dig its way out of such a deep early season hole.
"We've got a chance to go 13-3," Woodley said.
When pressed if that was possible, the linebacker nodded.
"That is realistic," he said. "We've got 13 more games."
True. Just not many winnable ones if Pittsburgh can't find a way to hold onto the ball.
The Bears (3-0) forced five turnovers, returning two of them for touchdowns to send the Steelers to their worst start since 2000. Pittsburgh outgained the Bears 459-258, but spent all night scrambling after falling behind by 21 points in the first half.
"We can't, I can't turn the ball over, plain and simple," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger completed 26 of 41 passes for 406 yards and threw two touchdowns to Antonio Brown but also fumbled twice and threw two interceptions.
Chicago defensive back Major Wright returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and defensive end Julius Peppers pounced when linebacker Lance Briggs stripped the ball out of Roethlisberger's hands. Peppers raced 42 yards for a score with 3:57 left to play to end the competitive portion of things.
"We're disappointed, but we're not going to lose our confidence," Roethlisberger said. "We're going to have to put it together and put it together fast."
The Steelers travel to London this week to play the winless Vikings. Only a handful of teams have escaped from an 0-3 start to reach the postseason. At the moment, Pittsburgh has enough trouble winning a game let alone worrying about the playoffs.
"Our job is not to play football," safety Ryan Clark said. "Our job is to win football games, and when you don't, things change, people change."
Jay Cutler passed for 159 yards and threw a 17-yard touchdown strike to Earl Bennett with just under 6 minutes remaining to give the Bears breathing room after the Steelers drew within 27-23 on Shaun Suisham's 44-yard field goal with 10:43 to play.
Chicago's offense, which generated little after a 17-point outburst in the first quarter, responded behind Cutler.
The quarterback scrambled for 13 yards on third-and-10 to start the drive. Cutler then hit Brandon Marshall for 41 yards on third-and-12 to move into Pittsburgh territory. Facing third-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 17, Cutler found Bennett in the back corner of the end zone.
Officials ruled the pass was incomplete, but the play was overturned after replays showed Bennett deftly dragged his right foot before sliding out of bounds.