By DAN SCIFO, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Justin Fields almost had his moment in the spotlight on âMonday Night Footballâ.
The rookie quarterback guided the Chicago Bears to a decisive touchdown against Pittsburgh with 1:46 to go, but Ben Roethlisberger responded with the 50th winning stroke of his 18-year career. Chris Boswell had a 40-yard field goal with 26 seconds left and the Steelers escaped with a 29-27 victory.
âFor Justin to lead that attack there and finish with a touchdown was really good, but in the end we didn’t finish,â said Bears coach Matt Nagy. “We gave them a chance to score that field goal at the end to win it and that’s where we’re at.”
Making his seventh start in the NFL, Fields completed 17 of 29 passes for a career-high 291 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 45 yards, but the Bears lost their fourth in a row to drop to 3-6 overall.
Still, the youngster showed poise and promise in the second half for a Chicago offense – and a passing offense – which ranks last in the league.
It was the second straight week of progress for Fields, as the No.11 draft pick described a growing sense of confidence in his own game after an 11-point loss to San Francisco. In it, the former Ohio State star threw for 175 yards, rushed for 103 and produced several highlight plays.
A week later, he nearly led the Bears by 14 points down at the start of the fourth quarter.
âI was just playing football,â Fields said. “I felt good.”
Boswell gave Pittsburgh a 26-20 lead when he kicked a 52-yard field goal with 2:52 to go.
It was then that Nagy saw something in his new quarterback.
âI looked at Justin and he had a smile on his face where it was like it was his time,â Nagy said. “To see thatâ¦ it was like he was almost hoping that this was going to be the situation and that he would follow through, and make the games he played, it was a really good feeling on the sidelines.”
On the green light, Fields called his own number to convert a third-and-1. He then connected with Allen Robinson for a 39-yard strike down the right sideline in third and 2 and found Darnell Mooney for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the next play, giving Chicago a 27-yard lead. -26 with 1:46 to play. .
âMy state of mind was like, it’s about timeâ¦ we’re here,â Fields said. âYou can either be the guy who always puts himself in that position and doesn’t show up, or you can be the guy who shows up in the big moments. I was calm and focused on just introducing myself.
The fields did more than that. Unfortunately for the Bears, they left too much time on the clock for Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
âWe know we’re about to be a big offense,â Fields said. “We just have to keep working.”
Fields led the Bears on a 12-game practice that resulted in a 30-yard field goal late in the second quarter, but that was the only bright spot during a tough first half as Chicago shot. from behind 14-3 at the break. In that final first-half series, the Bears faced the first and first base from the 10-yard line, but couldn’t score it after a short run and a pair of incomplete passes.
The Bears kicked off their first two possessions and Fields threw an interception on the third drive, leading to Pittsburgh’s second touchdown. After a three-and-out, the Bears went deep into Pittsburgh territory, but a sack put the offense out of range.
It was a different story after half-time, as Chicago scored on three of six second-half possessions.
Cairo Santos kicked off his second field goal in Chicago’s opening practice in the second half, but the Bears saw a touchdown erased from the board following a low block penalty.
Fields brought Chicago back within reach after another Pittsburgh touchdown. The rookie had a pair of passes for over 20 yards, setting up Mooney’s 15-yard touchdown run that took the Bears to 20-13 early in the fourth quarter.
The offense got help from the special teams unit when DeAndre Houston-Carson returned a 25-yard fumble for a touchdown that made it 23-20.
Boswell’s 52-yard field goal made it 26-20 with 2:52 left, setting the stage for Fields’ touchdown shot at Mooney just inside the left sideline.
After the Steelers came back in front, the Bears recovered the ball with 26 seconds left and no time outs. Fields brought them to midfield before Santos’ 65-yard field goal attempt fell far short.
âWhen you talk about the growth for him and the offense and our team in general, it’s a moment,â Nagy said. “But in the end we lost and when you’re in the locker room it’s a team game, and that’s what we care about.”
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