The Miami Dolphins returned to the Midwest on Sunday to face the Chicago Bears in the Windy City.
Miami, once declared a defensive team by head coach Mike McDaniel, has now relied on their offense - led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa - in consecutive weeks to overcome offensive outbursts from their opponents. Thanks to fantastic games from Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and others, Miami escaped the clutches of the Bears with a 35-32 victory.
The win marks two straight on the road for the men clad in aqua and orange, and three straight overall.
As the Dolphins look around at the records of their division foes, they find themselves tied for the division lead in wins. Both the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets have six wins apiece, while the New England Patriots are bringing up the rear with a 5-4 record.
It was an important win - one of the nail-biting variety, yes - but still a win. In the National Football League, especially on the road, those are tough to come by, so we, as fans, will take it any which way it comes, but the Dolphins are certainly hoping to play better in many areas moving forward.
With that being said, let’s take a look back at the good, bad and ugly from the Miami Dolphins 35-32 victory over the Chicago Bears in week nine.
Tua Tagovailoa turns in another stellar performance
On Sunday against the Bears, Tua Tagovailoa became the first Miami Dolphins quarterback to throw for 300+ yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in consecutive weeks.
That’s pretty good considering a man by the name of Dan Marino played for the Dolphins for 17 seasons and is now immortalized with a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio.
Tua finished Sunday’s contest 21 of 30 (70% completion percentage) for 302 yards, three touchdowns and a 135.7 passer rating. As mentioned above, he did not turn the ball over.
Yes, there were a few throws that Tagovailoa probably wishes he had back, but the same can be said for every single quarterback every single week. He doesn’t need to be perfect to be really damn good (if that makes sense), and right now, Tua is playing really damn good and has this offense executing at a really high level.
Miami Dolphins rushing attack leaves more to be desired
On the season, the Bears are allowing opposing offenses to rush for 4.8 yards per carry - one of the worst marks in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins couldn’t capitalize on the juicy matchup.
The Miami Dolphins rushed the ball 23 times for just 77 yards against the Bears - good for only a 3.3 yards per carry average.
Raheem Mostert had a touchdown, but only managed 26 yards on nine attempts. Newcomer, Jeff Wilson, also toted the rock nine times, and did manage 51 yards on the ground, but that number was inflated by a long rush of 28 yards. Wilson managed just 23 yards on his other eight carries.
The Bears defense was without linebacker Roquan Smith who was traded to the Baltimore Ravens early last week, yet still stymied Miami on the ground.
Mike McDaniel, a former run-game coordinator, needs to get Miami’s ground attack sorted out, and sorted out soon, if the Dolphins are going to continue to be a successful offense, especially when you remember they have road games in Buffalo and New England late in the year when wintry conditions could necessitate a strong rushing performance.
Dolphins defense allows Justin Fields to set NFL record
The Miami Dolphins have struggled - putting it lightly - against mobile quarterbacks for as long as I can remember.
Earlier this year, they gave up a 79 yard rushing score to Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson finished that contest with 119 yards on the ground.
Well, that was child’s play compared to what Justin Fields did to the Dolphins on Sunday in Chicago.
Fields set an NFL single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular season game by running wild and free for 178 yards, including a 61 yard score.
The Dolphins went into the game knowing Fields wanted to run the ball, yet they were still helpless when it came to stopping the young quarterback. Time and time again, Fields made a tackler - or two - miss en route to a big gain in a crucial moment.
Miami was lucky that at the end of the day Fields’ historic performance didn’t cost them the victory. Thankfully, outside of Josh Allen and maybe Zach Wilson, the Dolphins don’t face a dangerous scrambling quarterback for the rest of the regular season.
Through nine games, Miami has a record of 6-3. How are you feeling after Sunday’s nail-biter in Chicago? Do you think that Tua Tagovailoa can continue to string together high caliber performances for the rest of the season? Will the Dolphins defense be able to get right again this year? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!