Bears observations: Fields great, defense fails again


For the third season in a row, the Bears have lost four games in a row. In a Monday Night Football matchup against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the Bears looked outmatched for most of the game, then looked destined for an incredible comeback, only to let another win slip through their fingers. While this loss might be the most crushing of the year, there were some silver linings. The return of David Montgomery was encouraging, and Justin Fields made some nifty plays too. But neither of those things were enough to get the Bears back in the win column.


Once again, Fields had several moments where he showed why the Bears traded up to draft him. His deep balls to Marquise Goodwin and Cole Kmet were right on target and set up the Bears' first two field goals of the game. Fields also looked decisive and effective on the run for a second-straight week. He took yards when he needed to with his legs, and also evaded the pass rush to buy time for Robinson to get free and convert a 3rd-and-8 play. But none was better than the 39-yard fade to Robinson with two minutes left in the game, which set up his 16-yard touchdown strike to Darnell Mooney one play later. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said he expected “peaks and valleys” from his rookie following his impressive performance against the 49ers in Week 8. One week later, Fields didn’t dip, he climbed to new heights.



Last week, Fields and the offense put together an impressive drive to pull within one point of the 49ers. It felt like momentum might be swinging in the Bears’ direction. But the defense let Jimmy Garoppolo and Elijah Mitchell march down the field and score another touchdown in under three minutes and it essentially sealed the game. This week it was even worse. Fields overcame a rough first half, and made some incredible throws to manufacture the go-ahead touchdown drive with only 1:46 left on the clock. But Ben Roethlisberger only needed 1:20 of that to march the Steelers back into field goal range for the win. On that drive, they surrendered plays of 12, 22 and 13 yards, setting up a Chris Boswell 40-yard attempt that he drilled for the win. In the past few years opponents would have no chance of putting a game-winning drive together in moments like these. But over the past two weeks the defense has let the team down.


Yeah, you can argue the low block on James Daniels was a bad call, and it certainly hurt by taking a touchdown off the board. The taunting call on Cassius Marsh that gave the Steelers a first down on what would’ve been 4th-and-15 was dubious too. But beyond that the Bears still committed way too many penalties, and in bad situations. An especially embarrassing penalty was an illegal formation flag, coming out of a timeout. That erased a 16-yard Allen Robinson reception and stalled out their second drive of the game. But the worst was yet another unnecessary roughness penalty, for a player taking a swipe at an opponent’s head. Fortunately for the Bears, the Steelers were flagged for an offsetting penalty on the same play so it didn’t hurt them, but if Blackson had kept his cool it would’ve pushed the Steeers back. Instead they scored a touchdown five plays later. This is a troubling trend for the Bears and ultimately reflects poorly on Matt Nagy and the rest of the coaching staff.

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