The Pittsburgh Steelers edged out the Chicago Bears in a thrilling encounter at the Heinz Field, winning 29-27 to secure a fourth straight win. However, an incident late in the game has become a real talking point, and one that many feel cost the Bears dearly.
The Steelers were leading 23-20, with the Bears having fought back (despite a number of erroneous calls), to set up a frantic finish. Having secured a third-down sack on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, outside linebacker Cassius Marsh was penalized for taunting and then was clearly hip-checked by referee Tony Corrente who then flagged Marsh.
The penalty gave the Steelers the advantage, and they held on for a key win as they pushed on with efforts to catch the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. Mike Tomlin’s side is 5-3 and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ odds today stand at (+4000) to clinch what would admittedly be a very surprising Super Bowl triumph. It’s a decade-plus since their last visit to the Super Bowl when they were defeated by the Packers, though they had won the title in two of the five seasons before that.
On the incident that cost the Bears, Marsh was insistent that he was not in the wrong, claiming; “On my way to the sideline, I got hip-checked by the ref. It’s pretty clear,” Marsh said after following the game. “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. I think that one was just bad timing. It’s pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn’t taunting. 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.”
It should be pointed out that the Bears had dug themselves a pretty big hole in the first place, hence the need to claw back a big deficit, but it’s understandable that they’d feel hard done by, especially when you consider the poor run of form they’ve been going through.
Their loss to the Steelers, their fourth on the spin, has put them way off the pace in the NFC North, and they don’t have much of a chance at making it to the postseason. Chicago has only made it successfully through the regular season on two occasions in the past ten seasons, so this latest blip isn’t a shocking development.
“We’re just trying to clean our game up; we embrace the responsibility that comes with being the role models that we are. This game is played at the highest level; we understand that people who play at a lower level watch us and often mimic the things we do and how we conduct ourselves and just largely as a league competition committee specifically, there was a desire to improve in that area. That’s been expressed to our guys.”