NFL: Chicago Bears-Minicamp
Kamil Krzaczynski / USA TODAY Sports

The Bears lost to the Steelers on Monday night thanks aplenty to their own doing. Matt Nagy's offense reverted to its uninspiring ways of old for much of the first half. Robert Quinn inexplicably lined up offsides on multiple occasions down the stretch. Jakeem Grant fumbled away a second-half kickoff. But even accounting for all that, if it weren't for the officiating in Monday night's prime-time affair, the Bears might've left Pittsburgh with the "W." Several untimely penalties helped keep Chicago in an uphill battle, and none rang louder than a taunting flag thrown on Cassius Marsh with less than four minutes to play -- a "B.S. call," as Bears linebacker Roquan Smith put it to reporters afterward, that had social media abuzz during the game.

Just five days after signing with the Bears, Marsh made one of the biggest plays of the night against the Steelers, his team in 2020. With 3:40 to play and Pittsburgh facing a third-and-8 from the Bears' 47-yard line, the journeyman linebacker darted into the pocket to sack Ben Roethlisberger and seemingly force a punt, giving Chicago a chance to take the lead. Marsh proceeded to take several slow steps toward the Steelers sideline and stared at his former teammates from afar, only to be called for taunting by referee Tony Corrente. The free 15 yards gifted Pittsburgh a first down and helped set up a field goal to put the Steelers ahead 26-20 with 2:52 remaining.

As if the subjective taunting penalty wasn't enough to draw the ire of the Bears and their fans, replay showed Corrente seemingly leaning into Marsh, who was then jogging back to his sideline, before throwing the flag, as if to initiate contact from the player. Asked about the incident after the game, Marsh told reporters he was "hip-checked" by the referee, saying it was "incredibly inappropriate."

Corrente, for what it's worth, told the postgame pool reporter that the contact with Marsh had nothing to do with the taunting penalty. Defending the call itself, he reiterated that "taunting is a point of emphasis this year" for the NFL, then described his judgement: "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."

The Bears had plenty of self-inflicted issues aside from Marsh's polarizing penalty. They finished the night with 12 penalties, losing 115 yards as a result of those infractions, and saw several veterans line up offsides on key downs. But Corrente's run-in with Marsh wasn't the only questionable call made against Chicago on the night.

Down 14-3 in the third quarter, rookie quarterback Justin Fields found Jimmy Graham for a short touchdown pass that pulled the Bears within five points of the Steelers. But an illegal blocking call on guard James Daniels negated the score, even though replay indicated Daniels never actually made illegal contact while attempting a low block. (Corrente told the pool reporter after the game that he judged Daniels had, in fact, made contact "from my perspective and in my position.") Later, early in the fourth quarter, cornerback Jaylon Johnson was called for a 30-yard defensive pass interference, even though Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson could be seen pushing just as much, if not more, at the tail end of the play at hand.

In contrast to Chicago's 12 penalties Monday, the Steelers were penalized five times for 30 yards.