Forget the terrible officiating and forget the loss. The really important bright spot for the Bears on Monday night was the progression of their young rookie quarterback. Despite a tough two-point loss in Pittsburgh, Justin Fields balled out on Monday night, giving Bears fans hope for the post-Matt Nagy era.
Fields looked really good against the Steelers, especially in the second half. The offense stalled early and often in the first half, but the unit rebounded with a few solid drives late in the game, making the outcome interesting. In fact, there were a number of throws from Fields late that wowed fans.
Fields in Crunch Time
The Bears trailed by 13 late in the third quarter as the outcome looked to be 100% in Pittsburgh's favor. However, a drive ending in a Darnell Mooney rushing touchdown, and a scoop and score on a special teams fumble following a Steelers field goal, cut the deficit to three points. Although the Steelers extended their lead to six, Fields stepped up and looked like the franchise quarterback Bears fans have been wishing for.
Before we get to the Bears' final touchdown drive, check out this laser to Jimmy Graham early in the fourth quarter.
And this deep shot to Marquise Goodwin:
Final Touchdown Drive
On the touchdown drive that gave the Bears the temporary lead, Fields made two spectacular throws. The first was a perfectly placed deep ball down the sideline to Allen Robinson. Bears fans have been upset over the lack of usage for Robinson, but Monday's game proved to be the best yet between Fields and the team's No. 1 receiver. That said, check out this play:
The Ohio State product placed this ball on a platter for Robinson over the shoulder. Coming out of college, Fields' deep ball was widely praised. Fans got a taste of his upside when he threw downfield with this dime.
In addition, Fields capped off the drive with a dart to Mooney on the boundary of the end zone. Considering a quarterback throwing across his body while running to the weak side is such a tough throw, the fact that Fields put this ball where only Mooney could get it is so impressive.
Fields shows unbelievable touch on this throw. This insane play may have been the moment that officially gave Bears fans a sense of hope for the future. Here's that throw from the end zone angle.
It's not Fields' fault the defense was hurt and let up the game-winning drive. It's also not his fault that Matt Nagy is his head coach. All things considered, given the lack of help for him at times, Justin Fields is progressing into the quarterback that every Bears fan has dreamed of for what feels like ages.
Progression is There
Justin Fields took another step in his development on Monday night. The Steelers led by as much as 14, and led by double digits for most of the game, but that didn't stop Fields from giving the Bears a chance. The lack of Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack on defense certainly hurt in the end, but the offense did something we haven't seen all season.
Justin Fields finished the night 17-for-29 with 291 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he ran for 45 yards and, despite the odd interception by Casey Heyward, was spectacular at taking care of the football. Monday night was a game the Bears didn't win on the scoreboard, but they won in terms of Justin Fields continuing to develop into a staple for the future.