When the Bears took over at their own 25 trailing the Steelers 26-20 with 2:52 remaining Monday night, Justin Fields and his teammates were supremely confident.
The rookie quarterback followed by engineering a 7-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Fields' 16-yard touchdown strike to Darnell Mooney that gave the Bears a 27-26 lead with just 1:46 to play.
After the two-minute warning, Fields completed a 39-yard pass down the right sideline to Allen Robinson II—who hurt his hamstring on the play—and then followed with the touchdown pass to Mooney on the next snap.
"My mindset was just like, 'It's time, we're here,'" Fields said. "You can either be the guy who always gets put in that position and doesn't show up, or you can be that guy who shows up in the big moments. That was my mindset, and I was just calm and just focused on showing up."
The Steelers rallied to win on Chris Boswell's 40-yard field goal with :26 to play, but the late clutch drive was a big step forward for Fields' growth.
"The big picture for him is great," said coach Matt Nagy. "When then they kicked that field goal, went up by six, there was a really pretty neat moment of just looking on the sideline and you could feel it from the players, like, 'OK, we fought back to get to this point where a touchdown wins it.'
"I looked over at Justin and he had this smile on his face like it was his time. The confidence that gives you as a coach when you see that, it was like he was almost hoping that this was going to be the situation. And then for him to follow through with that and make those plays that he made, it was a really good feeling on that sideline. And I think when you talk about the growth for him and for the offense and just our team in general, that's a moment.
"But in the end, we lost. When you're in that locker room right there, this is a team game, and that's what our guys care about. That's what we care about. We've got to figure it out."
Too many flags: The Bears committed 12 penalties for 115 yards—both season highs—in Monday night's loss.
"Too many penalties," Nagy said. "What it does is it just pushes you back or it gives them free yards. It's a rhythm game and you want to stay in rhythm. You want to stay away from penalties and I feel like we need to be better there."
The costliest flag nullified Fields' apparent 1-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham that would have trimmed Pittsburgh's lead to 14-10 in the third quarter. The Bears instead settled for Cairo Santos' 22-yard field goal, closing the gap to 14-6.
Right guard James Daniels was penalized on the play for an illegal low block against defensive end T.J. Watt outside the tight end box. But it appeared that Daniels barely touched Watt.
On the shelf: Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot), safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring), running back Damien Williams (knee), tight end J.P. Holtz (concussion), inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (ankle) and quarterback Nick Foles (illness) missed Monday night's game. Cornerback Artie Burns was also inactive.
Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks exited with an ankle injury.
Streak ends: The NFL's longest active field goal streak was snapped Monday night when Santos missed a 65-yard attempt well short as time expired. It was his first miss since Sept. 27, 2020 in Atlanta.
Before missing the 65-yarder, Santos connected on field goals of 30 and 22 yards, extending his streak to 40 straight field goals. His streak is tied for the third longest in NFL history and the longest by a kicker who plays his home games outdoors. The only kickers with longer streaks are the Colts' Adam Vinatieri (44 in 2015-16) and the Colts' Mike Vanderjagt (42 from 2002-04). The Vikings' Gary Anderson also made 40 in a row in 1997-98.
Santos is now 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) this year and 43-of-46 (93.5) in the last two seasons with the Bears.
Still streaking: With their 29-27 victory over the Bears, the Steelers have now won 20 straight Monday Night Football home games, a streak that spans 30 years. Pittsburgh hasn't lost a MNF home contest since Oct. 14, 1991 against the Giants in Hall of Famer Chuck Noll's final year as coach.
The Bears are now 32-41 on Monday Night Football, 17-15 at home and 15-26 on the road. They have one MNF contest remaining this season, Dec. 20 against the Vikings at Soldier Field.
On the ground: A Bears running game that entered Week 9 ranked fifth in the NFL with a stellar average of 136.6 yards was right on its average with 136 yards on 26 carries Monday night.
Starting running back David Montgomery returned after sitting out four games with a knee injury, rushing for 63 yards on 13 attempts. Rookie sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert, who ran for 344 yards in the four contests that Montgomery missed, added 13 yards on four carries.
The Bears have compiled their six highest rushing totals of the season in their last six games with 188, 143, 140, 143, 176 and 136 yards.
Legging it out: After rushing for 103 yards last Sunday against the 49ers—the most by a Bears quarterback since Bobby Douglass' 127 yards in a 1972 loss to the Raiders—Fields ran for 45 yards on eight carries Monday night.
Fields has now rushed for 288 yards and two touchdowns on 52 attempts this year, the fourth most yards by a quarterback behind the Ravens' Lamar Jackson (600), the Eagles' Jalen Hurts (494) and the Bills' Josh Allen (319).
Most points: The Bears' 27 points Monday night was their highest output of the season. Their offense produced two touchdowns and two field goals, while the special teams scored its first TD of the season on DeAndre Houston-Carson's 25-yard return of a fumbled punt return.
Much better: The Bears run defense showed improvement Monday night, limiting the Steelers to 105 yards on 32 carries. The three previous weeks, the Bears permitted 154, 182 and 145 yards on the ground in losses to the Packers, Buccaneers and 49ers, respectively.
Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris was held to 62 yards on 22 carries, an average of 2.8 yards per attempt.
Sack attack: The Bears defense registered four sacks of Ben Roethlisberger, increasing their season total to 25. Before Monday night, the unit had failed to record a sack in its previous two games against the Buccaneers and 49ers after entering Week 7 leading the NFL with 21 sacks.
Take a behind-the-lens look at the Bears' Week 9 game against the Steelers through the shots of our field-level photographers under the lights at Heinz Field.