Justin Fields Turns a Corner: Steelers 29, Bears 27

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Justin Fields Turns a Corner: Steelers 29, Bears 27

Chicago Bears

What can I say about that game except — hey, at least it didn’t end on a doink!

In fact, had this game ended 1 minute, 46 seconds earlier, this would have been the parting shot:

Instead, this one went a full 60 minutes. And the Steelers took advantage of it, with Chris Boswell drilling a 40-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. It turned out to be the game-winner, as Cairo Santos’ 65-yard try fell well short. That kick might was a a microcosm of what this comeback was for the Bears — a valiant effort that didn’t have enough mustard on it.

That’s a shame, too. Because Justin Fields did some thangs.

•   If you’ve been waiting for Fields to turn a corner, I think the last two games have provided evidence of it taking place. Because after showing signs of life last week against the Niners, Fields doubled up with his performance against the Steelers. It was a career-high 291 passing yards, that came with a career best 10.0 yards/attempt (min. 20 throws).

•   And it’s not like he was dumping it down in the flat all night, either:

•   The touchdown above can’t be replayed enough, so I’d encourage you to hit play on the video a little north of this text, watch it again, and you can re-visit the rest of this post at your leisure. Are you back yet? Cool. Here’s another angle to drool over:

•   In addition to his exploits throwing the ball, Fields came up with 8 carries and 45 rushing yards. The tag team of Fields’ throwing talent and what he can do with his legs has through-the-roof potential. It would be nice to see some more designed runs. But it would also be neat if Fields wouldn’t open himself up to taking some hits. Having the bye week come now provides an opportunity for Fields to press the reset button, draw from his learning experiences, and put it through his head that sliding is OK. So is getting out of bounds. Live to see the next play, so you can make magic happen elsewhere.

•   Welcome to the party, Cole Kmet. In Pre-Gamin’, we were politely asking to get more involvement from the tight ends. Ask and you shall receive. Kmet was targeted eight times, turning that into a six-catch, 87-yard performance. Easily his best work as a pro. Good to see the second-year product enter the bye on a high. Also quite nice to see Jimmy Graham get into the action. The box score says Graham caught one pass for 28 yards, but the officiating (yeah, I know…) took away a touchdown from the veteran tight end. It felt like a ticky-tack call on a night that was full of ’em.

•   I don’t mind playfully ribbing the NFL’s officials. They’re humans, so I expect them to miss calls. But so many came against the Bears. And a good chunk of them came at inopportune times for Chicago, which happened to be timely to help Pittsburgh in its efforts. To be fair, those neutral zone/offsides penalties are inexcusable. You’ve gotta know where to line up. And on the one hand, I can’t excuse sloppiness. But goodness, there were enough misses to make me think it could’ve cost this crew a shot at getting a postseason game.

•   Even James Harden thinks Tony Corrente leaned into the flop here:

•   Penalty count: Bears 12 for 115 yards. Four penalties gave Pittsburgh first downs. On the other side, the Steelers had 5 for just 30 yards. But two of those gave Chicago a first down. One of those came on a Fields hard count. Nice to hear the rookie fool an experienced D-line.

•   Guess we’ll need to keep an eye on this:

In the end, it’s a Bears loss. That make four-in-a-row. And this one drops the Bears to 3-6 on the season. They’ll go on their bye week, which I imagine will feature some soul-searching, healing, and hopefully, some adjustments for the final stretch. We should do the same. Whether it be as fans or content creators, we could all do well by taking advantage of a period to create a clean slate.

In the meantime, we can sleep on Monday night knowing Justin Fields just gave us reason to believe in a brighter future. And that’s what will matter most after the Bears flip the page to the bye week.

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.