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Steelers' Lake Has Key Play

September 14, 1998|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers wonder if they can continue to play so poorly and win. The Chicago Bears wonder if they can continue to play so well and lose.

Jerome Bettis bounced back from his worst game with Pittsburgh, running for 131 yards and a touchdown to lead the sluggish Steelers over the Bears, 17-12, Sunday--Chicago's second down-to-the-wire loss in as many weeks.

The Bears, 24-23 losers to Jacksonville last week when they couldn't score from the one with four minutes left, again had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. But Carnell Lake intercepted Erik Kramer's pass on third and 10 at the Steeler 16 with 44 seconds remaining.

"Big-time players make big-time plays," Steeler defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said of Lake, a two-time Pro Bowl safety from UCLA who moved to cornerback. "He made it in the right situation, too."

Bear receiver and former USC Trojan Curtis Conway, who slipped on the play, said, "I didn't just fall, but I guess they didn't see it. I didn't even see him coming. I saw the ball then, boom, I get hit."

Chicago wasted rookie Curtis Enis' 94 yards--he has 171 in two games despite missing most of training camp--and an excellent effort by a much-maligned defense that yielded a team-record 421 points last season but forced Pittsburgh to punt on its first four possessions.

"It was another heartbreaker," Bear linebacker Ricardo McDonald said. "It's unfortunate to have a turnover when we did. Believe it or not, we have a good team. I think we've raised a lot of eyebrows."

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