The 5-3 Miami Dolphins head back to the mid-west, traveling to the Windy City to take on the 3-5 Chicago Bears. This game falls days following the NFL trade deadline, in which the Dolphins made a splash with a surf-and-turf combo of entrees.
Now former Denver Bronco Bradley Chubb and San Francisco 49er Jeff Wilson Jr. already have a couple practices under their belt. Chubb, an elite pass-rusher with the third-best rush-win rate in the NFL wasted no time inking an extension in Miami. Thursday morning began with the news of Miami and Chubb agreeing to a five-year, extension that includes $63.2 million guaranteed.
Wilson, who spent his entire career in San Fransisco, along with Mike McDaniel prior to this season, is reunited with his coach. Not only that, he can again call fellow running back Raheem Mostert a teammate, as Wilson will plug-and-play right away in Week 9 with his knowledge of McDaniel’s scheme and playbook.
“I know he, Mike and Raheem were all hugging and having their kumbaya moment together, being back together, but it’s cool,” said general manager and architect Chris Grier.
With the Dolphins essentially performing a running back switcheroo, sending Chase Edmonds out to Denver in the Chubb deal and bringing Wilson in another deal, they’re heavy at outside linebacker now, adding to a talented front seven rotation.
Chubb joins a core group that includes sophomore sensation Jaelan Phillips, Emmanuel Ogbah, Melvin Ingram and Andrew Van Ginkel when focusing on edge rushers. Mixing in this pot of pass rushers are outstanding interior linemen in Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler. Raekwon Davis provides defensive tackle depth, as does John Jenkins, while the linebacking group is massively improved with the addition of Chubb.
More importantly than helping the front seven, Chubb and a momentum-fueled Phillips could start to make life easier on the Dolphins’ secondary. While a major improvement occurred during the second half of last week’s victory over the Detroit Lions, the defensive backfield has been riddled with injuries.
Chubb and Phillips are both within the top 10 in best pass-rush win rates in the league, and if Ogbah, Ingram and Van Ginkel heat up as the overall national weather cools, this team is set for a deep playoff run.
Wilson is a “thumper” so to speak, and the perfect type of back to spell Mostert, and he can pick up those tough short-yardage situations that have plagued Miami for quite some time. In 92 rushing attempts with the 49ers this season, Wilson has averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and with Mostert at 4.9 over the course of the last four games, this Dolphins’ rushing attack could be headed for dominant days.
Sunday in Chicago would be a good place to start, with the Bears currently 31st in the league in rushing defense, giving up 156 yards on the ground per game.
A win against the Bears would give the Dolphins multiple three-game win streaks in the same season for the first time since 2016. They could also improve to 6-3 for just the second time since 2001.
The Dolphins lead this all-time series 9-4, winners of the last two contests, and four of the last five since 2002.
Here are more stats, news and notes heading into the Dolphins-Bears Week 9 matchup:
Tua Tagovailoa's success against the NFC
Tagovailoa is 6-1 with 1,686 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and a 111.6 rating in seven games.
He faces the 31st-ranked defense in stopping third-down conversions in the Bears this Sunday.
Miami’s offense converts 40%, which is 14th in the league.
Christian Wilkins developing into a star
Heading into Week 9, Wilkins is fourth in tackles at the position. He also ranks seventh among defensive linemen in the NFL in tackles for loss.
Since entering the league in 2019, he ranks third among all defensive linemen in tackles.
Tyreek Hill continues to out-pace the rest of the league, and Jaylen Waddle wows
The only two wide receivers to have more receiving yards than Hill in the first eight games of the season are Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison.
Hill leads the NFL in receiving yards (961) and has a nearly 200-yard lead on the second-most.
He leads the NFL in receptions (69).
Hill and Jaylen Waddle have combined for 1,688 total receiving yards this season, which is the most by a pair of teammates in their team’s first eight games of a season in league history.
Waddle is averaging 17.3 yards per reception, and last season he was nearly half that at 9.8.
Waddle is fourth in the receiving yards (727).
Dolphin's pass-rush with Chubb faces beatable Bears unit
The Bears are dead last in the NFL in sacks allowed (31).
Although limited with overall secondary depth, the Dolphins will face the 32nd-ranked passing offense this Sunday.
While a running quarterback like Justin Fields gives Miami trouble, at times, there’ll be an added aspect to pressure with the addition of Chubb, who could be ready to make his Dolphins debut.
Individual Dolphins' defensive highlights
Jevon Holland is the only player in the NFL this season with multiple interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack.
Kader Kohou has 266 defensive snaps, 27 total tackles and a forced fumble. All of those numbers lead undrafted rookies this season, despite missing two games to injury.
Van Ginkel is in his fourth NFL season, and, despite opening 2022 with limited reps due to an appendix issue, he already has seven special teams stops (three solo) in eight games. The total is tied for seventh this season.
Grier mentioned Van Ginkel in a Wednesday media availability in praise which bodes well for him heading into 2023 free agency. Signs point to a return.
Dolphins' offense among the league's most efficient
The Dolphins are third in the league in yards per play (6.24).
Miami has even faced five of the top 15 scoring defenses in the league.
They’ve also been successful in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on 69.6% of their trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, which ranks fourth in the league.
In goal-to-go situations, the Dolphins are third, scoring touchdowns at 90.9% going 10-of-11 on those chances.
Miami has the third-best passing attack in the league this year, averaging 292.5 yards per game through eight weeks.
Tagovailoa playing at an elite level
Tagovailoa is the league’s highest-rated passer (112.7).
He’s also first in yards per attempt (9.0), third in completion percentage (69.9%) and tied for seventh in passing touchdowns (12), despite missing two full games and the majority of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He’s just .7 passer-rating points from passing Chad Pennington as the Dolphins’ highest-rated career pass (minimum 250 attempts).