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Justin Fields heated up at the end of Monday Night Football, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first three quarters

Justin Fields struggled early but gave a spark of life to the Bears offense and a spark of hope for Bears fans in the second half.

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers
Justin Fields running for his life or at least few extra yards.

I’m at the point in the season where I only really care about seeing Justin Fields continue to develop. I believe he has everything it takes to be a franchise-changing quarterback, and I don’t think one season of bad coaching will ruin that, but I still want to see it happening. And I want the rest of the world to see it in the few primetime games the Bears get.

It started out rough, but Fields reminded me that mental toughness is one of the more important qualities in the NFL. He persisted through an incessant barrage of discouragement to eventually inject some life into the Bears offense in the second half.

Obviously, it wasn’t enough to make the Bears win, but it was enough to extract some joy from this otherwise miserable midseason outing.

Box Score

Bears offense is off to a very beary start

Best offensive lineman injured? Check. Run, run, throw short of the sticks? Check. It was probably smart to give the defense early warning that they are going to have to step up in this game.

First two Steelers passes, Vildor and Shelley make plays

Now that I’ve accepted this is a season all about preparing for the future—even though the Bears haven’t—I’m more comfortable with the fact that these young late-round picks are getting starting corner reps. Neither has played at an average starter level yet this season, but they still have opportunity to develop and at the very least will be much more prepared for backup roles when the Bears new GM restocks the position.

Update: the third passing play was a 26 yard completion to Chase Claypool over Vildor’s head. That’s definitely a matchup where his height is a disadvantage.

Update^2: both Bears continued to have good plays throughout the game as the Steelers generally avoided Jaylon Johnson.

Update^3: Vildor got mossed by Pat Freiermuth for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Bears gotta give a shorty some help!

Bears defense off to a sub-ursine start

After an Eddie Goldman penalty started the drive, the Steelers moved the ball effortlessly against the once mighty Bears defense. It was probably smart for the defense to put the offense on notice that they weren’t going to carry the game.

Bears second offensive drive doubles down on the three and out plan

Two penalties in the first three plays, both on completions to Allen Robinson which were called back. 3rd down? You guessed it. Throw short of the sticks.

Robert Quinn retakes the Bears sack leader spot

With his 6.5th on the year. Khalil better get better soon if he’s going to reclaim his rightful title. Quinn’s bounce back season has continued long enough to say that this is who he is, and whatever happened last year was likely injury related.

Sam Mustipher has a nice tackle on Cam Heyward

That’s all I have to say about that play. Oof.

That’s why I don’t call play action in Madden

Because I, like Justin Fields, can’t always tell when there’s a free rusher coming that’s going to be at me before my play-action animation finishes and there will be nothing I can do. In this case, it was an unblocked TJ Watt that sacked Fields into hopeless third and 18 territory just when we might be seeing some offensive momentum. Obviously, the take home here is that me and Fields have something in common.

Ok, I’ll take a little bit of hope before the half

Multiple first downs on a drive? Sounds suspicious, but I’m listening. Multiple big plays to Cole Kmet? What is this, meathead fan fiction? A crucial first down made with a Justin Fields hard count? I literally like the sound of that. Jimmy Graham drop in the end zone followed by a Larry Borom false start? Ok, this is starting to sound credible.

Welcome back, David Montgomery

I may have missed David Montgomery more than most, since Khalil Herbert brought a lot of burst in Montgomery’s absence, but when Montgomery and friends combined to push forward 5 yards beyond contact for a first down early in the third, you have to admit this Bear is special.

There’s that Justin Fields deep ball

And that Marquis Goodwin speed. The two connected on a beautiful 50 yard rainbow that I never doubted was a catch. The play set the Bears offense on fire, rumbling the rest of the way down the field and straight into the endzone a series of vomitously awful officiating that robbed the Bears of basically three touchdowns in row.

Yes, there were three bad ref calls in a row against Chicago in the red zone

The first took away a touchdown and set the Bears back 15 yards on a miss-called low block on James Daniels and the next two were non-calls that would have given Chicago those yards back. But most of Chicago’s penalties were deserved, and at some point, an undisciplined team loses the benefit of the doubt from the refs. Refs will always make bad calls, and I’m usually mad about it. Today, I’m just mad about the fact that the Bears have been a consistently sloppy team under Nagy’s tenure.

Cole Kmet had a nice day

My theory is he saw Pat Freiermuth succeeding as a receiver and realized that he was running out of excuses for not developing that part of his game. Either way, he made a number of contested catches and is the Bears leading receiver at the time of writing this in the third quarter. The Bears need him to continue this trend after having a number of missed connections with Fields in the past few weeks.

The Bears might just make Jimmy Graham a thing again

After his one end zone drop, Graham caught a ref-robbed touchdown and then a deep seam pass that set up the Bears first official touchdown. After barely sniffing grass for the first half of the season, the Bears have finally decided to try to get some of that 8 million dollar salary out of the old man. If he keeps making plays like these, I won’t complain.

Jakeem Grant has a huge kick return then fumbles the ball into the kickers hands


Xavier Crawford and Joel Iyiegbuniwe double-peanut Ray Ray McCleod’s punt return and Deandre Houston Carson scoops it up for a score

Wait, what? The refs called it back, though, right? No!? Holy crap the Bears are in this game.

Eddie Goldman finally in mid-season form

The big Bear was pushing the center of the Steelers young line back all game and did a stellar job of keeping the interior run game in check, even when Akiem Hicks had to leave the game. It’s a pleasure to watch that man work.

Ok, I take everything back about the refs

Giving a first down on 4th on a taunting penalty when a man isn’t even taunting in the 4th quarter of a 3 point game. That ref has to know that’s going to be interpreted as a terrible call. That’s just brazen, childish flaunting of authority. And they’re trying to make sure the “players” stay respectful. What a disgrace.

The result of this play was 3 points for the Steelers. No big deal, just the difference in who won the game.

Welcome back, Allen Robinson

Maybe A-rob was just waiting for the trade deadline to see if this was really the team he was going to play for this season. That’s fair, dawg.

This was a winnable game, but the Steelers were clearly favored at home. The Bears made a ton of mistakes and still would have won if officiating had been performed at a peewee level. Not a bad Monday evening all told.