Bears News: Justin Fields with career day in heartbreaker against Steelers
|Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 10:53 AM- -|
PITTSBURGH – With the whole world watching on Monday night, the Chicago Bears (3-6) took to the road looking to end a three-game losing streak. The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) were standing in their way, who are starting to find their stride entering the game on a three-game winning streak. Something had to give as Matt Nagy returned to the sidelines after missing last week with COVID.
In typical Bears fashion, the offense was non-existent during the first half as Pittsburgh built a 14-3 halftime lead while controlling every facet of the game. That continued until the fourth quarter when Justin Fields went off and started to show Bears fans the arm he was supposed to have. Not only did he complete 16-27 passes, but he did so for a career-high 291 yards as Bill Lazor opened the playbook a little bit more.
That helped the Bears grab a 27-26 lead late as a missed extra point from Chris Boswell earlier in the game loomed large. Needing a defensive stop late in the game to preserve the win, Ben Roethlisberger moved the ball into field goal range, where Boswell took care of the rest from 40 yards outputting the Steelers back on top 29-27. Chicago had one last chance to win the game, but a Cairo Santos field goal try from 65 yards out fell well short, ending his streak of 40 consecutive makes and handed the Steelers the 29-27 win.
The entire first quarter was more of the same for the Bears offense as they had the ball three times, settling for two punts with a total of 12 yards across their first two possessions. The Steelers, on the other hand, didn't have any struggles and wasted no time getting the scoring started on their first possession.
Sparked by a deep pass to Chase Claypool, the Steelers were able to get inside the red zone before Najee Harris finished things off from 10 yards out for the 7-0 lead. With the first quarter coming to a close, the Bears finally had the big play they were looking for with David Montgomery bouncing outside for 21 yards and a big first down. Several plays later had the ball near midfield only to have Fields intercepted by Cam Heyward to kill the drive.
Pittsburgh was not only given a short field following that interception, but made sure they would capitalize on it as a steady dose of Harris got the offense going. Roethlisberger finished off that drive with five straight passes, with the fifth putting the Steelers up 14-0, finding Pat Freiermuth for the score. Following a string of four punts, two from each side, the Bears were able to end the first half on a positive note driving 52 yards on 12 plays before Santos knocked home the 30 yard try to send Chicago into the locker room down 14-3.
That field goal seemed to be the wake-up call the offense needed as they would pull a little closer on their first possession of the second half. With the Steelers pinning the Bears inside their 20, Fields and the offense had a long way to go, but that didn't faze them. Allen Robinson was much more involved in this game, picking up a massive 17-yard completion to move the chains.
Following a first down run by Montgomery, Fields went up top and showed off the arm finding Marquise Goodwin for 50 yards to bring the ball inside the 15. After what looked to be a touchdown a few plays later, a costly penalty nullified that, but the Bears still settled for a 22-yard field goal from Santos to pull within 14-6. Not about to let their lead get away, the Steelers answered that score with a score of their own, finding the endzone for a third time.
The first play from scrimmage saw Roethlisberger find James Washington for 42 yards moving the ball to the Bears 33. Seven plays later, the Bears defense continued to make things difficult, but it was Freiermuth coming down with his second score of the game to make things 20-6 with a missed extra point. That extra point would prove costly later in the game and almost changed the way this game ended.
That touchdown from Pittsburgh seemed to ignite both offenses as the Bears answered with their second 80-yard drive of the half. Montgomery continued to do his thing on the ground, but Fields was now settling in with the passing game hooking up with Darnell Mooney for a 20 yard gain. One play into the fourth, and Fields was at it again, finding Jimmy Graham over the middle for 28, helping to set the offense up in a good place. Looking to get a bit more creative, Nagy lined Montgomery up in the wildcat as he handed off to Mooney, who raced 15 yards untouched to make things 20-13.
After a 54-yard field goal from Boswell made things 23-14, the game could have changed instantly with the Bears fumbling the ensuing kickoff and Pittsburgh recovering. A costly sack by Roethlisberger on third down forced a Steelers punt, as special teams played a significant role on the next series. Looking to keep the Steelers at bay, De'Andre Houston Carson pulled the Bears within three returning a 25-yard fumble to the house to make things 23-20.
Not only did the Steelers continue to take the Bears best shots, but they responded in a big way putting together another long drive sparked by some good Harris runs to set things up. Boswell would reward them by putting one through from 52 yards out to extend the lead to 26-20. Not bad for a guy who didn't know if he would clear the concussion protocol this week.
Trailing by six late in the fourth, it was time for Fields to show Chicago what he was made of. Not only did he do that, but he did that in an impressive fashion, moving the ball 75 yards on seven plays while chewing up less than two minutes of clock. Fields not only used his legs to make some plays happen, but found Robinson for a massive 39-yard strike to move the ball inside the 20.
One play later saw Fields find his favorite target in Mooney for the 16-yard strike as the Bears climbed all the way back to take a 27-26 lead. Looking to secure the win for the first time in nearly a month, the Bears defense had one last chance to make a stand on defense. After doing their job early in the drive, a costly offside penalty against Robert Quinn did them no favors giving the Steelers some more life.
With the ball on the Bears 24, Freiermuth came down with a huge catch helping set up the 40 yard Boswell field goal try, which he nailed to put the Steelers up 29-27 and less than a minute to go. The Bears have been part of some tough losses the last several years, but this would rank right up there with the worst of them all.
Not only did the Bears need to get into field goal range in under 40 seconds, but they had to do so without any remaining timeouts. Cole Kmet had a huge game, leading the team in receiving as his first-down catch moved the ball near midfield.
One play later saw Kmet come down with another catch, but that was it as the Bears were faced with a 65-yard field goal try or hail mary. They elected to go with the field goal only to see Santos streak of 40 consecutive made field goals end as the Bears battled back but let one get away 29-27.
Fields continues to play well, but this was by far his best showing, throwing for 291 yards while adding 45 on the ground. Montgomery returned to the starting lineup and picked up 63 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Kmet hauled in 87 yards receiving to lead the team. Robinson added 68 for one of his better showings this season, while Goodwin had 50 on just one catch.