Hub Arkush: Bears nearly overcome miscues to beat Steelers, but poor officiating proves to be too much

There was so much wrong with the Chicago Bears in their 29-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night it was almost impossible to watch, until it wasn’t.

On the opening possession of the game they went three-and-out when Justin Fields threw the ball 2 yards behind Allen Robinson on an easy third-and-5.

The second possession began with a false start from Jason Peters of all people. Two plays later they were forced to burn a timeout when Fields couldn’t get everybody lined up properly, and then coming out of the timeout, Fields actually hit Allen Robinson for 16 yards only to have it called back for an illegal formation.

On the third possession Fields took a sack and then threw a pick.

Next possession the Bears left T.J. Watt unblocked on a reverse boot and he sacked Fields for 10 yards. On the very next play Fields hits Jakeem Grant for 15 yards, but it was called back for another ineligible receiver downfield, this time on Sam Mustipher.

But then something unusual happened. Trailing 14-3 at the half, it was actually the Bears that made the better halftime adjustments and came out and dominated the third quarter, but the officials weren’t having any of it.

On the first play of the second half there was a phantom roughing-the-passer call on Mario Edwards Jr. for bumping Ben Roethlisberger a split second after he released the ball.

But the Bears bowed their necks, got a three-and-out and put together one of their best drives of the year, going 93 yards on eight plays until the officials took over.

On second-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Fields hit Jimmy Graham for the touchdown, but the officials took it off the board incorrectly by calling a block below the knees on Daniels, which should have been legal because he was inside the tackle box but shouldn’t have mattered at all because he missed the block anyway.

Then the stripes made sure the Bears would settle for three, ignoring back-to-back blatant roughing calls against Fields, leaving it a 14-6 game.

Having taken all the momentum away from the Bears, the Steelers went right down the field, 75 yards on eight plays to make it a 20-6 game.

Still dominating play the Bears put together another beautiful drive, 82 yards on just six plays ending with a 15-yard Darnell Mooney TD run on a handoff from David Montgomery out of the Wildcat.

Then things got really crazy.

The Steelers answered with a field goal, and Grant fumbled the subsequent kickoff. Then the Bears ‘D’ stood up to stop the Steelers on five plays. The offense was then held to a three-and-out, bit Joel Iyiebugniwe laid the wood to Ray Ray McCloud on the punt, forcing a fumble that DeAndre Houston-Carson returned 25 yards for a touchdown to make it a 23-20 game with 6:30 to play.

But again the officials weren’t having it.

Seven plays later on third-and-8 at the Bears’ 47, Cassius Marsh sacked Roethlisberger for a 7-yard loss to force a punt, until the flag flew for a taunting call on Marsh that no one watching the game had any idea when it happened – because it didn’t.

The Steelers added a field goal to make it 26-20 with 2:52 to play.

And it was then that Fields came of age.

After all the self-inflicted wounds, and all the bogus officiating, Fields took his team 75 yards on just seven plays in 1:06 with the difference maker coming on a 39-yard bomb to Robinson.

On the next play, Fields hit Mooney for the TD that made it a 27-26 Bears lead.

But of course with 1:46 to play they scored too soon.

Roethlisberger took the Steelers 51 yards to set up the Chris Boswell 40-yard game-winner.

In the end, you couldn’t help but feel the Bears clearly beat themselves, yet they could have beaten the Steelers, but they just didn’t have enough to beat the officials too.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush is a Bears/NFL Insider for Shaw Media