Thursday, December 2, 2021

3 Up 3 Down: Week 9 Bears at Steelers

If you read through my pre-game preview you would know how surprised and disappointed I am with this result. I guessed that the Steelers would beat the Bears but I thought they would put a heavier defeat on Chicago. The fact that we lost by such frustrating margins makes it worse for me, it’s the hope that kill you.

3 UP 3 DOWN: THE UPS

Justin Fields

It’s the second week in a row that he is in my ‘ups’ and he certainly deserves it. Fields has grown in each game, and he grew again in this week 9 match up, showing us his best overall performance of his short NFL career so far.

Fields completed 17 passes for 291yards, averaging out at 17yards per completion, for one TD and one interception. The interception mind you, included lots of luck to land in the arms of Pittsburgh, having been heavily assisted by a Bears body; whilst a short mention for the TD throw to Mooney in the 4th quarter, as it was a thing of beauty.

Fields was decisive, aggressive, and powerful, showing a lot of smarts as his feeling for ‘weak side pressure’ definitely seems to have improved massively. He showed great characteristics of when to throw, when to escape the pocket, when to drop back, when to run all aided by his natural ability. A great showing from the rookie.

Cole Kmet

The offense overall was much improved and took another step in the right direction, but I’m going specifically with Kmet this time. I’m a big fan of Kmet ever since the Bears drafted him last year. He’s a big strong unit, with good hands and tonnes of ability to make yards after a catch. To bring him down is like felling a tree.

He caught 6 of his 8 targets and landed a whopping 87yards from those catches, working out as 14.5yards per catch. The man turned into a first down machine but also showed great ability to block on that OLine and gave some key protection to Fields which allowed the Bears QB to do his thing and make great plays

Roquan Smith

This guy was a beast and truly a part of why the Bears were in this game. He finished week 9 with 12 tackles, 2 of which for a Steelers loss and one huge sack on Big Ben. He shore up the defense, whilst showing aggression at the right times to add pressure onto the Pittsburgh offense. Sucked them in, gave false hope and pounced with power.

With Mack out, his presence up front of the defense was greatly appreciated allowing for more pressure on the QB, which helped free up guys like Robert Quinn to do their thing. It was a mature showing and consistent performances like this will do the Bears an infinite amount of good.

3 UP 3 DOWN: THE DOWNS

First Half

In games that are winnable you have to make them count, otherwise you get punished and that’s exactly what happened to the Bears. We were pipped by 2 points because of a garbage time field goal, due to our own 60+ final attempt fell short. I mean that is incredibly frustrating.

But this game goes down as another loss leaving the Bears 3-6 having wasted 25minutes of the game not scoring. 3 points in the first half just isn’t good enough for a team that wants to be challenging for the playoffs. You have to start quicker and get that momentum going early so that there is less pressure later on in the game.

Penalties

The lack of discipline on show versus Pittsburgh was nothing shy of a disaster. What on earth was going on out there? That final drive for Pittsburgh’s game winning field goal was handed to Pittsburgh on a silver platter and the Bears literally gave the game away. This I’m exaggerating? 12 penalties for 115 yards.

Whether they were genuinely a Bears problem (such as neutral zone issues) or dodgy referring calls, the Bears are responsible. They are professionals at the highest level in their respective field so should know to not put themselves in the positions to get the flags thrown. Don’t give refs a reason to call a penalty. Just for comparison, the Steelers got 5 penalties for 30 yards. That says it all.

Another Loss

As I said earlier this loss leads the Bears into a 3-6 win-loss record heading into the bye week. The idea that we can go on to be a playoff contender is look very slim right now. After playing so well and letting yourself down, this is a huge mental blow for the players.

Before the game started everyone would have guessed the loss would come, but during the game it definitely felt like a game there for the taking. Those type of games can make or break a season and Chicago are starring down the barrel right now as the challenge to get back to a 50:50 ratio looks a tall ask.

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