You couldn’t have asked for a better response and result from the Dolphins today in Chicago, as the team was running at full tilt on both sides of the ball in their 27-14 win against the Bears. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill likely put up the performance of his young career. The quarterback shredded the Bears’ secondary and was also incredibly efficient with the football, rarely throwing an incompletion and not turning the ball over. Tannehill’s big day, along with an aggressive showing from Miami’s defense were just a few of the major storylines to come out of the team’s Week 7 win.
Here a few things in particular that stood out to me during the Dolphins’ 27-14 victory:
1. A Complete Bounce Back
A week after a devastating loss at home, the Dolphins played their most complete game of the year. The offense started fast and stayed hot the entire game for the first time all season and gave this defense a two score lead for only the second time this year. The complete game by the Dolphins made the Bears 0-3 at home for the first time in 10 years, and also made them a -7 in turnover differential through three home games. It was nice to see the execution match the playcalling on offense. That allowed Ryan Tannehill more movement and early play action passing giving him different launch points to throw the football from. Also, Tannehill’s running ability created hesitation on the edge of the Bears defense, and made Lamar Miller‘s job a little easier in the zone read screen. I liked the continued growth of rookie returner Jarvis Landry who averaged 27.5 a kickoff too. He runs without hesitation, and his north-south running style and one cut ability was incredibly valuable for field position.
2. Bears In Hibernation
For all the firepower that Chicago has on the offensive side of the football, it was clear today that the Dolphins not only matched that talent, but totally frustrated the Bears on that side of the ball. The numbers validate the dominant performance of the Dolphins on defense. When you look at the stats, almost every offensive number in regards to the Bears shows how strong the Dolphins’ defense was. Racking up three sacks, forcing Jay Cutler into a 74.4 quarterback rating, a fumble, and an interception, plus holding Chicago to 52 total rushing yards are just a few of the stats that illustrate this dominance. Chicago couldn’t utilize their over the top passing game, because of the combination of the pressure of the front four and the scheme of being able to mix a little bit of man and zone coverage restricted the downfield effect of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
3. Tannehill’s Best Performance
There’s no question that if Ryan Tannehill can come close to the game he had against Chicago in the remaining Dolphins schedule, this team will have a chance to win each and every week. He was decisive not only in the passing game but in the zone read running game, which got him off to a quick start early, and it carried through for the entire game. He made one positive play after another, and it seemed to give confidence not only to the offensive side of the football, but also to the entire team. It looked like as Tannehill executed, the offensive line, wide receivers, and running backs matched his level of execution and it made the offense easier to call for coordinator Bill Lazor. The playcalling and the execution matched up perfectly, and allowed Tannehill to thrive in an important game that the Dolphins needed to win.
News & Notes
- Reshad Jones continued to impress in his second game back, as he not only had a crucial interception and 50 yard return, but also led the team in tackles for the second straight week.
- Defensive end Cameron Wake pulled off a sort of defensive hat trick today, sacking Jay Cutler, forcing a fumble, and then recovering that fumble. Wake’s sack was one of three on the day.
- After being outpossessed by over 14 minutes last week, Miami flipped the script this week, holding a time of possession of 37:22 to Chicago’s 22:38, keeping the defense fresh and aggressive all game long.
- For all the talk surrounding Miami’s small corners against the Bears towering wide receivers, it was Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan standing tall at the end of the day. Chicago’s dynamic duo was held to just 57 yards receiving on 8 catches, and averaging around just 7.1 yards per catch.
- Ryan Tannehill completed his first 13 passes today, a feat that hasn’t been done by any quarterback in the NFL this season.
- Mike Wallace just can’t stop finding the end zone. The Dolphins leading receiver on the year once again caught a touchdown, making it five scores in six games for Wallace.
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