NFL admits Bears were essentially robbed of win vs. Steelers

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. (Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. (Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phantom penalties are apparently what cost the Chicago Bears a much-needed win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Stop me if you’ve heard this, but the NFL referees did another bad job in a big game.

Last week, the Chicago Bears went into Pittsburgh on a three-game losing streak and in danger of costing leadership their jobs. The Bears lost 29-27, but it came with plenty of controversy, courtesy of some admittedly bad calls by the NFL referee crew.

The most noteworthy of the game-swinging calls was the taunting call on Bears LB Cassius Marsh that ended with a Steelers go-ahead field goal instead of a 4th and 15 punt.

And, of course, you saw this wild moment.

Leaning into contact with a player is something even Louis Riddick on ESPN said is something “he’s never seen before.” The league eventually came out and said the taunting call was the correct call, and even fined Marsh over $4,000 for his violation. While that huge call definitely had an impact on the game, other phantom penalties and no-calls also handicapped the Bears in Pittsburgh.

An invisible low block, ignored roughing the passer’s, and more bad calls sealed the Bears’ fate Monday night

Early on, James Washington versus Jaylon Johnson out wide was going to be a great battle. On one play, Washington went vertical, and this was called defensive pass interference.

Johnson was fully turned around playing the ball while Washington was interfering with Johnson’s ability to make a play. By the book, that’s offensive pass interference.

Of all the phantom calls and no calls, this next one was the worst and most-costly. Late in the fourth quarter, this took a touchdown off the board and the Bears settled for three points. A “low block” was called on No. 68 in white. Not only did he not make any contact with the defender, he very obviously fell while trying to engage a block. A low block is a personal foul, so that was 15 yards in the opposite direction rather than taking the lead.

Chicago was up against it all night long. Between battling the Steelers, Matt Nagy’s first half script, AND the referees, it was just too much to handle.