Week 9 of the NFL season was absolute chaos, and the week’s final game was not an exception. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears battled it out in front of a packed Heinz Field on another edition of Monday Night Football.
What a game it was. The Steelers survived a late Bears surge to notch their fourth straight victory and move to 5-3 on the year. The Bears, on the other hand, battled and fought all night long.
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields proved to everybody that he is the real deal, even after expressing his frustrations with losing. Alas, Fields’ massive performance against the Steelers shows even more the cluelessness of Matt Nagy.
Justin Fields enjoyed a career night despite a tough loss to the Steelers
For some reason (who knows why), the Bears kept going back and forth between Fields and veteran Andy Dalton. The seesaw and neverending quarterback controversy carried up until the start of the season.
Dalton earned the starting job, but Nagy and the Bears had no choice but to throw Fields into action after Dalton went down with an injury.
The rookie struggled out of the gate, much like most rookies do when they enter the NFL. However, Monday night was the display Bears fans have been waiting for.
Fields finished the game with 17-of-29 with 291 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Fields added eight carries for 45 yards and just kept making play after play to keep the Bears alive. With the Bears marching down the field at the end of the fourth quarter, Fields delivered an absolute dime to Allen Robinson.
That throw set up the go-ahead touchdown to Darnell Mooney and Fields shot some life into the Chicago faithful and the sidelines.
Unfortunately, the Steelers used Ben Roethlisberger’s veteran presence and watched a Chris Boswell field goal go through the uprights to give them the go-ahead field goal in a wild swing.
But, Fields proved to everybody that he could lead this Bears team, even if Nagy refused to believe in him from the get-go.
Matt Nagy’s cluelessness exposed once again after Fields shines vs. Steelers
The offseason in Chicago was a mess. Even then, that might be an understatement.
The Bears signed Dalton to a one-year deal worth $10 million. Then, they traded up on draft night to select Fields after he shockingly fell past the Denver Broncos, among other teams.
Despite moving up to select Fields, Nagy and the Bears decided to roll with Dalton — for some reason. In Week 1, Dalton went 27-of-38 for just 201 yards and no scores. In Week 2, Dalton went down with an injury, and it was Fields’ time to shine.
Then, Dalton returned from injury. By then, it was too late, and Fields was named the full-time starter in Chicago.
Nagy kept going back and forth and insisted over and over that Dalton would be the starter when healthy. It made no sense whatsoever, and if anything, it hurt the rookie’s confidence and momentum. Nagy really wanted to keep throwing Dalton out there.
Nobody has the slightest idea why, either.
However, after Fields balled out against the Steelers, it just goes to show that Nagy’s confusing, head-scratching insistence on rolling with the Red Rifle was a brainless decision from the start.
The Bears rookie will only get better from this point forward after building some confidence
It took some time, but Bears fans — and hopefully the staff– got to see what Fields is made of. The rookie didn’t exactly get a fair shot.
Dalton went down during the Week 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and Fields immediately was tossed into action. After back-to-back wins against the Detroit Lions and Las Vegas Raiders, the Bears had a grueling stretch: Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, and the Steelers.
That is tough for any quarterback, not to mention a rookie who kept being told he would be the No. 2 guy. Even at the start of October, Nagy kept reiterating that Dalton would be the starter when healthy.
Yes, the Bears lost the game, but the Ohio State product showed why he was worth a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields also showed Nagy and the Bears regime that he should have been given this opportunity from Day One.
After all, this Bears team isn’t winning the Super Bowl this year, so why not have some fun and roll out the energetic rookie?
The Bears will head for their bye week before a massive game against the Baltimore Ravens. It just doesn’t get easier for Fields.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference