The Miami Dolphins called their shot at the trade deadline, believing the addition of linebacker Bradley Chubb was worth sending a first-round pick to the Denver Broncos.
Miami, which also included Chase Edmonds and another pick in the deal, has struggled to get to the passer all season. The Dolphins, led by three sacks from Jaelan Phillips, average just two quarterback takedowns per game.
After trading for Chubb, and signing him to an extension, most expect the pass rush to get a major boost from the fifth-year pro who already has 5.5 sacks on the year. On Sunday, when Chubb makes his first appearance in aqua and orange, Miami will have a favorable matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Chicago has started five different offensive lines in eight weeks and is allowing just under four sacks per game, the league’s lowest mark. Last week against Dallas, the offensive line allowed a 39 percent pressure rate and surrendered four sacks.
The Cowboys held a stout lead for most of last week’s game, scoring 49 points in the 20-point victory. With that in mind, Chicago continued to run the football and quarterback Justin Fields took to the air just 23 times.
This is where the test comes in for the Miami pass rush. The Bears have struggled to pass the ball, but the team leads the league in rushing attempts with 35 per game. If last week’s game is any indication, situational football may not dictate what Chicago is trying to accomplish.
That is good news for a defense allowing 4.2 yards per carry. When runningbacks carry the ball, that number drops to 3.8 yards per rush, which would make Miami a top-three defense against the run. However, that number balloons to 5.6 yards per attempt when quarterbacks carry the football.
Miami is trying to stack its deck for a playoff run and Justin Fields is not only a test but Sunday’s biggest wildcard. Fields averages over five yards per carry and over 50 yards per game on the ground.
The addition of Chubb isn’t just about getting sacks, the Dolphins need to be better at getting off the field on third down. Facing mobile quarterbacks like Fields, who will extend plays with his legs, is an area where Miami struggles the most.
To come out with a win on Sunday and earn a second three-game winning streak this season, Miami’s defensive front will need to prove it can keep Fields uncomfortable for four quarters.