I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a content mood after watching the Chicago Bears lose a game. Sure I was rooting hard for a Chicago win, but watching rookie quarterback Justin Fields lead his team and make several big plays down the stretch has me excited for the future of this franchise, and that’s what the 2021 season is all about. I’m still not happy with the offense Fields is working in, but I think his talent can rise above it.
The Bears are now 3-6 after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers by two points, 27 to 29, but Fields and the offense has started to find some consistency the last couple weeks. In Pittsburgh the Bears racked up a season high 414 yards, while holding the Steelers to 280.
The first downs were even at 20 apiece, the Bears were 4 for 12 on third downs (33.3%) to Pittsburgh’s 6 for 17 (35.3%), but the methodical Steeler offense kept the ball for 34:05 to Chicago's 25:55.
And then there were the penalties. The Bears got hit with 12 for 115 yards to just 5 for 30 for Pittsburgh. The Bears certainly deserved a few of those flags, but some even had the Monday Night Football crew scratching their heads.
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some of their individual stats.
This was the best day from Justin Fields in his young career, and the fact that he did it on Monday Night Football put the league on notice. After the game there were several national analysts praising his 17 of 29, 291 yard, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 89.9 passer rating, and 8 rushes for 45 yard performance, but it was his fourth quarter numbers that really stood out. In the final frame he went 7 of 12 for 120 yards and a TD (120.1 passer rating), with 2 runs for 11 yards, and that nice last minute drive.
Justin Fields had most of his production when pushing the ball down the field, completing 9 of 16 passes traveling 10+ air yards for 225 yards and a TD (+9.6% CPOE).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 9, 2021
Fields averaged 15.7 air yards/attempt, the 2nd-most by a QB in a game this season.#CHIvsPIT | #DaBears pic.twitter.com/L4agkzuWRY
Tight end Cole Kmet, who is the third youngest Bear on the active roster, led the team with 6 receptions for a career high 87 yards. Allen Robinson had 4 receptions for 68 yards before leaving with a hamstring injury.
Marquise Goodwin had 1 grab for 50 yards and Jimmy Graham had 1 catch for 28.
Darnell Mooney had a 15 yard rushing TD to go along with a receiving TD on 3 catches for 41 yards.
David Montgomery returned as the Bears lead back with 13 carries for 63 yards (4.8 ypc), while adding 2 catches for 17 yards. Rookie Khalil Herbert had 4 runs for 13 yards on just 10 snaps.
Roquan Smith was all over the field on Monday with 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack.
But he also made an impact in the locker room after the game according to Fields who said that Smith, “was really pouring his heart out,” with “how passionate he (Roquan) is about the sport, and about the game, and about this team.”
And Smith also didn’t hold back when talking about the taunting penalty on the newest Bear, Cassius Marsh, saying he “thought it was a BS call.”
In case you missed it, Marsh was flagged for his posture, and in his Chicago debut Marsh had 5 tackles and a sack.
Robert Quinn (4 tackles, 1 TFL) and Bilal Nichols (2 tackles, 1 TFL) each had a sack on the night.
Danny Trevathan had 7 tackles, Jaylon Johnson and Duke Shelley each had 5 tackles, with Shelley adding a pass defended and 2 more tackles on special teams.
Nose tackle Eddie Goldman had the best game of his season with 4 tackles and a TFL, while controlling the line of scrimmage.
Akiem Hicks had 3 tackles and a QB hit before leaving with an ankle injury.
DeAndre Houston-Carson had 5 tackles a a fumble returned for a TD in the third phase.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
Cairo Santos made fields goals from 30 yards and 22 yards before missing a 65 yard try which snapped his streak at 40 in a row.
Patrick O’Donnell had 5 punts for a 46.8 average (41.2 net) and 2 punts inside the 20.
Jakeem Grant returned 6 kickoffs for a 22.5 average, but he fumbled once.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe had a tackle and a forced fumble, which led to DHC’s 25 yard scoop and score.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.
To check out the full Bears vs Steelers box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.