Bears Suffer Crushing Loss at Miami, Host New England at Soldier Field
The Chicago Bears (3-2) suffered a crushing loss on Sunday to the Miami Dolphins (4-2) in overtime 31-28. Now they have to move on and forget about that game because up next are the Super Bowl Runner-Up New England Patriots. This week’s game is at home in Soldier Field, which will be a welcome site for a team that has twice blown late leads on the road only to end in bitter defeats both times (Forgot about the choke at Lambeau in the season opener?)
This loss in Miami was bad. It was just a poor performance by so many Bears units, all three really. The defense had an off day. It seemed like the 90 plus degree heat didn’t help. The offense was good at times but turned it over 3 times: an interception by QB #10 Mitch Trubisky into the end zone, a fumble by two RB’s including #24 Jordan Howard’s fumble only 1 yard away from a score. To top it off, K #1 Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winning 53 yard FG. Overall, it was just one of those days.
One great thing about this game that won’t be soon forgotten was OLB #94 Leonard Floyd’s suplex of Dolphins WR #80 Danny Amendola. It was a WWE move that former Miami Hurricane “The Rock” would be proud of.
RB #29 Tarik Cohen – Cohen had a very good game. It would have been a great game if not for his late fumble. Nonetheless, Cohen was once again a featured part of the Bears offense on Sunday. He tallied 5 carries for 31 yards and 1 TD. He caught 7 passes out of 9 targets for 90 yards and SHOULD have gotten another TD with a catch that was called back for an offensive pass interference on TE #80 Trey Burton. BOOOO! (More on that later.) Cohen has supplanted Jordan Howard as the main playmaker out of the Bears backfield.
WR #18 Taylor Gabriel – Gabriel had his second consecutive big game so we’re awarding him another Game Ball, two weeks in a row. Gabriel was targeted 5 times and came up with 5 receptions for 110 yards down in Miami. This is certainly what GM Ryan Pace was envisioning when he went out and signed him this past offseason.
CB #23 Kyle Fuller – Fuller had not one but TWO interceptions against Miami’s backup-turned-starting QB Brock Osweiler. By the way, how good was Osweiler? I think that dude should be the starter moving forward over Ryan Tannehill, even if Tannehill is fully healthy. Osweiler showed me something. Fuller had 7 tackles (6 solos), and 2 PBU’s which were both interceptions. After picking off 2 passes in ’15 and ’17, Fuller already has 2 this year. Maybe he can shoot for his career high which came in his 2014 rookie year when he had 4 INT’s. That gives Fuller 10 career interceptions and here’s betting he matches or breaks his career high. Good luck to #23.
Player of the Game
QB #10 Mitch Trubisky – Tru threw a costly interception (after a bogus offensive interference penalty that took away a 4th TD pass) but other than that played a really solid game once again for Chicago. He went 22 of 31 passing for 316 yards and 3 TD’s. He scrambled/carried 8 times for 47 more yards. His QB rating was an impressive 122.5. If Mitch keeps this up he might have a chance at his first Pro Bowl. His mobility is exciting and adds a lot to his game. His dual-threat capability gives defenses headaches.
The referees – As mentioned above, the TD pass from Trubisky to Cohen was called back on an offensive pass interference flag against Trey Burton. When you watch the replay, you’ll see that Burton did nothing abnormal. He simply ran his pass route into the end zone. He was trying to get open to catch his own touchdown pass. When Dolphins LB #47 Kiko Alonso ran into Burton, it was more likely a DEFENSIVE pass interference. Clever move by the veteran Alonso when he guessed he couldn’t catch the younger, quicker Cohen in the flat? Probably. A horrible penalty that completely changed the game? Certainly. If that TD stands, the Bears lead 28-13 and have all the momentum. They probably would’ve won the game and improved to 4-1 on the year. Instead, Trubisky threw an interception on the next play. Miami drove the field quickly and tied the score at 21 after a 2-point conversion. The Dolphins had all the momentum late in the game in a hot environment in their home stadium. Sure the Bears could’ve and maybe SHOULD’VE won anyway, but the referees blew this game for Chicago. To the Zebras…….a BOOOOOOO and a Moutza too!
The Bears safeties – Chicago’s safeties had been getting praise all week with talk about the Bears secondary being potentially the best DB unit in the NFL. Doh! Not so fast. #38 Adrian Amos and #39 Eddie Jackson both had horrid days. They both missed tackles on long Dolphins touchdowns and in general, both played poorly. They need to play better. Usually they do. On Sunday, they had off days. It happens. Losses happen too.
Bears HC Matt Nagy’s play-calling in OT – It’s hard to throw Nagy under the bus and call out his performance so far this year when he’s completely changed the culture and the losing atmosphere into a winning one. However, in both losses the Bears play-calling when holding a lead has been questioned when Chicago blew both games possibly due to conservative play-calling. Nagy has said this week that he believed K #1 Cody Parkey was going to make the long FG try. It turned out to be a 53 yarder that was pushed right. OK Coach, I understand. However, why not use your two main backs rather than 3rd stringer #30 Benny Cunningham? Why not run something more imaginative than a jumbo package carry up the middle? In other words, why put the pressure on the kicker when that’s exactly what the Dolphins were hoping for? Why not spread out the defense, put 4 WR’s out there, and use Jordan Howard on a traditional off-tackle run? Maybe it turns into 7 yards instead of 1? Maybe the Bears get a 1st down and kick a shorter FG? Maybe Chicago uses more clock and doesn’t allow anything worse than a tie? It happens. For the most part Nagy has been great. But don’t forget he’s a rookie Head Coach in the NFL, doing all of this for the first time. He’ll have growing pains too, a la Kirk Cameron. What? Sorry about that bad joke. Felt like throwing that in. We gotta keep it loose, a la Matt Nagy. We still like what he’s done.
In last week’s Miami Preview, “Dutch Lion” wrote:
“The Dolphins are led by LB #47 Kiko Alonso who already has an amazing 50 tackles, 2 FF’s, 2 INT’s, and 3 PBU’s. Those are big numbers through 5 games. Watch for him on Sunday.…….Chicago is favored by 3.5 points. “Dutch” will definitely take Chicago both S/U and ATS once again this week.
Chicago Bears 30, Miami Dolphins 17″
RESULT: Miami Dolphins 31, Chicago Bears 28, in OT
- We were spot-on in our analysis of Kiko Alonso. He led Miami with 11 tackles (9 solo), an FF, an FR, and that key pass interference penalty that he “forced” to take away a TD and ultimately, take away a Bears victory. Definitely some luck but Alonso is playing at a Pro Bowl level for Miami.
- By the way, can we give a shout-out to Dolphins RB #21 Frank Gore? I love Gore. This old man is in his 14th season out of Miami. I still remember the days he carried the ball for the Hurricanes back in 2002-’04. Gore is one of those dudes who never plays MVP level spectacular football. Instead, he’s quietly consistent, battling through injuries to put up over 14,000 rushing yards in the NFL. His career high was just 1,695 back in ’06. Since then, he’s never gone over 1,214 yards in a year but has 9 1000 yard seasons. You never know, he could put up a 10th this year for the Dolphins. One thing we know for sure is that Gore is headed to Canton someday. Congratulations to Frank Gore!
- I’m obsessed with that penalty but we all know how momentum shifts in football mean everything. If Cohen’s TD counts, I firmly believe the Bears go on to win 28-20, 35-20, 35-27, something like that. But they didn’t. Welcome to Heartbreak City.
- Chicago Bears : 3-2
- Dutch Lion : 4-1 (Our first loss in a long time. The winning streak stops at 7, dating back to last year.)
Can the Chicago Bears (3-2) rebound against the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots (4-2)?
Let’s further analyze this game with the help of Troy Aikman and his wonderful NFL team ratings system. Here’s how Mr. Aikman has the Bears and Patriots matching up based on the numbers through Week 6.
Aikman Efficiency Ratings (AER)
- New England (4-2): 7th overall (158.8), 6th offense (91.2), 15th defense (67.6)
- Chicago (3-2): 2nd overall (167.2), 12th offense (85.6), 2nd defense (81.6)
According to the AER, this is a very close matchup. Chicago has the overall edge and the defensive edge. However, New England has an edge on offense. Of course, coaching and intangibles aren’t rated and we all know that Coach Belichick, his staff, system continuity, Tom Brady, and their confidence from winning 5 Super Bowls gives the Patriots a huge edge in intangibles. Chicago has the home-field advantage in Soldier Field. Add it all up and we might see a great, close game.
Week 7 Prediction:
New England is favored by 3 points. “Dutch Lion” is torn on this prediction. We might need to go to a psychic or something this week. Maybe Jimmy “The Greek”, Pat Sheridan, or Phil Steele. Maybe a Morty Olshan or one of the great handicappers of our times. We could give Gary “The Gut” Goombah a call. How about “phoning a friend?” Let’s try it. My buddy Simon texted me a pick. He wrote simply, “Bears”. Thanks buddy! I’ll take it. Bears ATS & S/U!
Chicago Bears 27, New England Patriots 24