Points were aplenty when the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins faced off at Soldier Field on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Bears, they were unable to score any more when it truly counted at the end of the game. The Bears fell to the Dolphins 35-32 to fall to 3-6.
The quarterbacks on both teams stole the show, with Justin Fields and Tua Tagovailoa showing out both through the air and on the ground for the Bears and Dolphins, respectively. The Bears unleashed an elite offense for the third week in a row, but the defense gave up too many big plays and a special teams blunder made all of the difference early on.
Here’s everything we know following the close loss.
Final score: Dolphins 35, Bears 32
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 06: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears reacts after a play during the first half in the game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on November 06, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Keys to the game
Nov 6, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) makes a catch against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Fields’ special abilities: How many different ways can we gush over Fields’ ability to make something out of nothing? He’s a special player and now with three consecutive games with a passing and rushing touchdown, he’s proving he can find pay dirt every which way. Fields consistently found first downs with his legs and was accurate passing the ball. He looks cool, calm, and collected in the pocket, knowing he can beat defenses in multiple ways.
Poor tackling: While the offense was sensational, the defense laid another goose egg for the second week in a row. Miami has playmakers that can beat you all over the field, but when they get extra chances due to poor tackling, it makes the job that much harder. Too many times, players like Jeff Wilson Jr, Raheem Mostert, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle, got loose for big gains. Whether it was on the defensive line or in the secondary, it took a long time for the defense to play with urgency. By then, however, the damage had already been done.
Questionable officiating: It’s always a lose-lose situation when blaming NFL officials, but on two of the final drives for each team, the referees made some questionable calls that swung the game. First, they chose to pick up a flag for intentional grounding on Tagovailoa, citing a receiver was near the ball when they were clearly blocking and not looking for a pass. Then came a pass interference call on Eddie Jackson where he was playing the ball and not the receiver. Later on with the Bears’ final drive, Chicago didn’t get a pass interference call when Chase Claypool was dragged down at the hip before the ball reached him, leading to a fourth down that wasn’t converted to end the game. It was lopsided at the end and while it’s no guarantee the Bears would have won had those calls been made or reversed, it would have certainly helped.
It was over when...
Nov 6, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19) before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
The game was over when wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown dropped a fourth-down pass on the Bears’ final offensive play. Chicago was in this game all day long, despite the defense surrendering 28 points and it was never truly over until the very end.
Though the missed pass interference call on Chase Claypool a play earlier was also a factor, St. Brown had the ball go right through his hands on the final play to end it for good. It was one of the few times the Bears offense was actually stopped and it came on a drop.
3 studs of the game
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 06: Cole Kmet #85 of the Chicago Bears reacts after a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on November 06, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
*Justin Fields: The Bears quarterback was the best player on the field for Chicago and it wasn’t even close. Fields broke the single-game rushing record for a quarterback, previously held by Michael Vick, with 178 rushing yards and a score. He also threw for three touchdowns on 17-of-28 passing for 123 yards. His quarterback rating was 106.7, the second week in a row with a rating over 100. In short, he was unstoppable on Sunday and is turning heads all over the country with his impressive play.
**Cole Kmet: After going nearly two years without a touchdown, Cole Kmet suddenly has three in the span of eight days. The Bears tight end had the best game of his career, catching five passes on six targets for 41 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball twice for nine yards, the bulk of which came on a successful jet sweep. Kmet and Fields had a budding chemistry during camp and now that’s finally showing in the regular season.
***Darnell Mooney: Like the connection between Fields and Kmet, we’re also seeing it come together with Mooney. The Bears WR1 caught his first touchdown of the year on Sunday, leading the team with seven catches for 43 yards on eight targets. Mooney’s touchdown grab was a thing of beauty, going up to snatch the ball out of the air in the left corner of the endzone.
Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) steps over Detroit Lions defensive back Bobby Price (27) after the first down in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears will get their first matchup of the year with the Detroit Lions, who come into Soldier Field after getting their second win on the season when they defeated the Green Bay Packers 15-9. In 2021, the Bears defeated the Lions in both their meetings, the first of which was Fields’ first career win.