Chris Boswell hit a 40-yard field goal with 26 seconds to go as the Pittsburgh Steelers held off the sloppy, mistake-prone Chicago Bears 29-27 on Monday night.
Boswell’s third field goal capped a frantic fourth quarter in which the Bears rallied from a 10-point deficit to take the lead, only to watch Ben Roethlisberger respond with the 50th game-winning drive of his 18-year career.
Pittsburgh (5-3) appeared to have things well in hand, leading 23-13 midway through the fourth quarter. Then Chicago’s DeAndre Houston-Carson returned Ray-Ray McCloud’s fumbled punt return 25 yards for a touchdown, and Justin Fields found Darnell Mooney for a 16-yard strike with 1:46 remaining to give the Bears a 27-26 lead. It didn’t last. Roethlisberger directed the Steelers 52 yards in seven plays aided by Chicago’s 12th penalty of the night to set up Boswell for the winner.
The Bears (3-6) made it to midfield as time wound down, but Cairo Santos’ 65-yard field goal attempt into the closed end at Heinz Field was well short.
“We’re finding ways to win the game,” Roethlisberger said. “Played well enough. Not great. But offensively speaking, we’re just doing enough right now.”
Boswell made three field goals including two from over 50 yards into the open end at perpetually windy Heinz Field. “Boz is a serial killer,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “He’s too calm.”
Boswell might have been the only one relaxed after the Steelers frittered away a seemingly comfortable lead when McCloud gave the ball up on the punt return.
Things got weird from there. Chicago appeared to get a stop on Pittsburgh’s ensuing possession only to have linebacker Cassius Marsh, who spent training camp with the Steelers, get flagged for taunting after sacking Roethlisberger on third down.
Marsh’s celebration looked relatively innocuous, though the league has cracked down on any semblance of taunting this season. “I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them,” referee Tony Corrente said.
Marsh’s teammates came to his defense, with linebacker Roquan Smith calling the penalty “BS.” Marsh shrugged his shoulders. “I think that one was just bad timing. It’s pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn’t taunting,” Marsh said. “I’ve been doing the celebration my whole career. It’s just sad to see stuff like that happen in a close game like that.”
Marsh added that he thought that Corrente had made contact with him. “On my way to the sideline, I got hip-checked by the ref. It’s pretty clear,” Marsh said. “If I was to do that to a ref or even touch a ref, we get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended and fined. I just think that that was incredibly inappropriate.”
The call extended Pittsburgh’s drive and allowed the Steelers to take a 26-20 lead with Bears coach Matt Nagy praised Fields’ resilience on a night he passed for 291 yards with a touchdown and an interception and ran for 45 more, but it wasn’t enough. “We lost,” Nagy said. “This is a team game. That’s what our guys care about. And we’ve got to figure it out.”
The victory was the 150th of Steeler coach Mike Tomlin’s career, moving him into second place on the franchise’s win list behind Chuck Noll. Tomlin passed predecessor Bill Cowher, who joined Noll in the Hall of Fame over the summer. “I’m just appreciative of the standards that have been set by those that have come before me,” said Tomlin, who is in his 15th season. “That standard is inspirational for us … I work to do my job and uphold that standard.”