The Miami Dolphins visited the Chicago Bears this weekend in a Week 7 contest. They leave Chicago with a 27-14 victory.
The Dolphins won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, something that have not done this year. Typically deferring, the Dolphins looked to come out and get the offense in rhythm early. Instead, a sack on first down headlined a quick three-and-out for Miami.
The Bears did not have any better success on their opening drive, punting the ball right back to Miami.
Miami came out with some incredibly unpredictable play calling on the next drive, including designed runs for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and passes to tight end Charles Clay. The 80-yard drive was capped with Tannehill finding a wide open Clay for 13-yards and the score.
With a 7-0 lead, the Dolphins defense hit the field and once again forced a Chicago punt. On the six play possession, the Bears had a 10-yard loss on a backwards pass and a six-uard loss on a Derrick Shelby sack.
Miami came out and again began attacking the Bears with the play action pass, and with a moving Tannehill. The first quarter ended with the Dolphins moving 33 yards in four plays, then the momentum continued into the second period. Unfortunately for the offense, the drive would eventually stall, and Caleb Sturgis would have to come on for a 50-yard field goal attempt. The kick had the distance, but continued to push from the left to the right, and ended up wide of the goal posts.
The Bears took over after the miss and looked to capitalize. After moving the ball into Miami territory, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler sailed a ball into what appeared to be an empty space on the field, until Reshad Jones came flying across the field and picked it off. Jones then returned the ball 50 yards, setting up a Miami drive from the Chicago 23 yard line.
Three plays later, Tannehill found Mike Wallace in the back of the endzone for a 10-yard score.
Miami jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
After another three-and-out from Chicago, Miami would move down the field again, but ultimately stall out with five seconds remaining in the half.
Tannehill finished the first half 14-for-15 for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns, giving him a 155.1 passer rating.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Bears were finally able to find success. Running back Matt Forte picked up 16 yards on the first play from scrimmage after the break, then added six more on the next two plays. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall picked up four yards on a pass from Cutler, followed by Forte hitting the ground again for four yards. After no gain from Forte, Cutler found tight end Dante Rosario for a five yard gain on a 3rd-and-6 play.
After a Chicago timeout, the Bears converted on the fourth down play with a four-yard run from Forte. Two quick passes to Marshall gained 15- and 13-yards on the next couple of plays, followed by a three-yard run from Forte. The drive was then capped by a 10-yard pass from Cutler to Forte for the first Chicago score of the game.
The seven point differential would not last long, as Miami drove 83-yards in 13 plays to score. The drive was capped by a Lamar Miller 2-yard touchdown run, but was highlighted by a Tannehill 4th-and-1 run that gained 30 yards.
Now up 21-7, Miami looked to keep up the pressure as the game turned to the fourth quarter. On a 2nd-and-20 play after an offensive pass interference call on Marshall, Cutler dropped back to pass, only to have Miami defensive end Cameron Wake sack him, stripping the ball for the fumble, then recover the fumble. The Dolphins would only gain two yards on the drive, but extended the lead with a 33-yard field goal from Sturgis.
The Bears turned the ball over on their next possession as well. On a 10-yard pass from Cutler to Rosario, Miami cornerback Cortland Finnegan punched the ball away from the tight end along the sideline. Defensive tackle Randy Starks was able to recover the ball, and the Dolphins were again set up with the ball inside Chicago territory.
The Dolphins moved from the Chicago 35 down to the nine-yard line, before an intentional grounding penalty moved the team back to the 19-yard line. Sturgis came in for his third field goal attempt of the game, having missed from 50 yards and connected from 33 yards, only to have this try blocked.
Chicago would take advantage of the Dolphins not scoring with a seven yard drive from their own 27-yard line down to the endzone. The drive featured Chicago's biggest gain of the game when Miami cornerback Jamar Taylor was called for defensive pass interference on a pass that was 10-yards behind the receiver and the ball was moved 39-yards down the field. Three Forte runs later, Chicago covered the last five yards for a touchdown and Miami's lead was cut to 24-14.
Miami would take the ball down the field again, eating up clock as Tannehill continued his impressive day and Miller added yardage on the ground. It briefly appeared Miller had scored on a 4-yard run, but the play was called back due to two different holds by Miami. The Dolphins settled for the field goal, a 19-yarder from Sturgis, to extend the lead to 27-14.
Chicago's final drive ended with an incomplete pass into the endzone toward Marshall on 4th-and-10 from the Miami 15-yard line. Miami took over on downs and kneeled twice to kill the clock.
Tannehill finished an outstanding day going 25-for-32 for 277 yards, two touchdowns, and a 123.6 passer rating. He also gained 48 yards on six carries.
The win moves Miami to 3-3 on the season, and drops Chicago to 3-4 this season. It also marks the first time in a decade the Bears have started a season 0-3 at home.
Miami visits the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
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