UA-59049186-1 2021 Week 9: Chicago Bears 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 29 - Good if it Goes

2021 Week 9: Chicago Bears 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 29

Hello. [Photo: ESPN on Twitter]

Player Grades

The grading scale goes from -3 to +3 for each play. Screens are graded as runs. Penalties are counted in whatever phase they were committed. Pre- and post-snap penalties are in the “Misc.” column. “Short” throws are 10 yards or less, “Medium” is 10-20, “Deep” is over 20. Everything else (scrambles, throwaways, reads, etc.) is under “Miscellaneous.” Parentheses in a column denote grades/snaps from the opposite side of the ball and are not included in grades/snaps from the player’s usual side. Snap counts are from Pro Football Reference. Box score and other relevant info can be found at that link as well.

So where ya been?

At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have access to game film because the NFL decided to fart around with Game Pass. There was a film post for the Cincinnati game thanks to some guy on Twitter who posted a link to the film. I now have access to Game Pass, so as long as I have the time, I’ll get posts up for the rest of the games this year, except the Ravens game since the film won’t be posted until at least Monday and getting a post done in two days is an awfully tough ask, especially since the delay in the NFL getting the coaches film back on Game Pass was due to it taking more time than originally planned to make an already bad product worse. I did have fewer buffering issues, so at least there’s that.

Speaking of going from bad to worse…

My god, the officiating was atrocious. It’s really hard to not be bitter about this game given that it was a 2-point loss and a phantom chop block on James Daniels that took a TD off the board, a missed roughing call that would have at least given the Bears a first down after that phantom chop block, a horrible DPI call on Jaylon Johnson, and the worst taunting call of all time all went against the Bears. The cherry on top was a missed offsides call on Santos’ field goal attempt that would’ve given him a chance from 60, which he would have at least had a chance at making.

But at least…

Hello Justin Fields. I didn’t get around to grading the 49ers game, so I don’t have an actual grade for him for that one, but watching live, I thought that was the best game he had played as a pro to that point. This was a significant improvement over that game. He’s been much more decisive and doing a much better job anticipating throws. Those were the things he needed the most work on coming out of college and the stuff we knew he could do has been as advertised. There’s no reason 2022 can’t be a breakout season for him.

And also…

Hello Larry Borom. He had two major whiffs in the run game, which, yeah, he needs to not let those happen, but he more than made up for them with an excellent game against T.J. Watt. Teven Jenkins has been practicing again and the staff is working him at both tackle spots. I’d do the same with Borom. He looks more than capable of playing left tackle.

And on defense…

You really want to talk about that?

I guess we should.

Fine. It’s gonna be a little rough the rest of the year. The Bears put Khalil Mack on season-ending IR with a foot injury that requires surgery, so the “we should trade Mack” crowd is about to find out why that’s a bad idea. You’d think after seeing what the team looks like without Eddie Jackson and realizing what a difference maker he is even if it rarely shows on the stat sheet, that they’d be tired of being wrong and having dumb opinions, but here we are. Quinn is legit as a pass rusher, but isn’t the run stopper Mack is and Trevis Gipson has parlayed his early-season flashes into nothing. The Bears don’t have anybody I’m particularly excited to get a look at on the edge and apparently, they feel the same way, since they signed Bruce Irvin. I really wish James Vaughters was still around right now; he was at least steady. But, hey, at least Roquan is in full-on Derrick Brooks mode.

What does this mean going forward?

We talked about Fields already. I’m betting that if that breakout happens, it’ll be under a new head coach. The offense just stinks. It stinks when Nagy’s calling the plays, it stinks when Lazor’s calling the plays, it stinks when Nagy’s there, it stinks when Chris Tabor’s acting as head coach. With the team at 3-6, it looks like the writing’s on the wall here, which I’m guessing is why they just shut Mack down now. Baltimore looks beatable today; Lamar Jackson is questionable with an illness and it’s serious enough that the Ravens activated Christian Hackenberg. Yes, he’s still in the league somehow. If Jackson can’t go, it’ll be Tyler Huntley, who has all of 16 career passing attempts. If he can go, he still probably won’t be 100%. There are enough winnable games down the stretch that sneaking into the playoffs isn’t impossible, but they’ll probably need to steal one of the tougher games they’ve got left.

Monsters

Fields, Peters, Hicks, Quinn, Roquan, Borom in pass protection

Chipmunks

Mustipher

Four Stars of the Game

4star Justin Fields

3star  Roquan Smith

2star  Jason Peters

1star  Akiem Hicks

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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