PITTSBURGH (AP) — Major Wright returned a Ben Roethlisberger interception 38 yards for a touchdown to help give the Chicago Bears a 24-10 halftime lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
Chicago linebacker D.J. Williams forced a Roethlisberger fumble to set up another score as Chicago's bid for a 3-0 start began with a flourish.
The Bears were already up 17-3 when Roethlisberger threw off his back foot in the face of a blitz. The bail sailed right into the hands of Wright, who sprinted down the sideline for a touchdown to give the Bears a commanding 21-point lead.
The score marked the second straight week and the 10th time since the start of the 2012 season the Bears returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Steelers, looking to avoid an 0-3 start for the first time since 1986, responded with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown with 6:35 left in the half to give Pittsburgh life.
Still, the half belonged to the Bears. Chicago needed a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks to win their first two games. There would be no slow start this time after sprinting to a 17-0 lead.
Matt Forte slipped into the end zone from 5 yards for one touchdown in the first quarter and broke loose for 55 yards to set up another and Chicago's defense continued its ballhawking ways as the Bears raced to a quick 17-0 lead.
Working quickly to avoid the myriad of blitzes thrown his way, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler completed 8 of 10 passes on a 51-yard opening drive that ended with a 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
Four of those completions went to Alshon Jeffery, who came in with six receptions through the first two weeks.
The Steelers hoped the return of tight end Heath Miller would pump some life into the NFL's 31st-ranked offense. Miller hadn't played since tearing ligaments in his right knee last December against Cincinnati.
He sprinted onto the field on Pittsburgh's opening possession and Roethlisberger found him for a 6-yard gain on the team's second offensive play.
The momentum quickly vanished. Roethlisberger dropped back to pass on Pittsburgh's third offensive snap and stepped up in the pocket to evade the rush.
Williams reached for Roethlisberger's hands and the ball came loose. Anderson pounced on it at the Pittsburgh 17.
Chicago needed four plays to make it 10-0. Cutler found Forte for an 11-yard gain on third-and-9, and one play later Forte flipped into the end zone for his second touchdown of the season.
Pittsburgh went nowhere and punted, giving Chicago the ball near midfield. Forte ran through a gaping hole and darted to the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 5.
A defensive pass interference call put the ball at the 1. Three plays went nowhere before Bush's second effort on fourth down pushed the lead to 17-0 and had some of the capacity crowd at Heinz Field already heading to the exits less than 15 minutes into the game.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org