The Chicago Bears’ defense went into Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins with a juicy matchup. Ryan Tannehill was ruled out, so Brock Osweiler made the start against arguably the best defense in the NFL.
Through three quarters, the Bears’ defense did a good job against the Dolphins’ offense, allowing just 13 points. In the fourth, the Miami heat and Dolphins’ big-play wide receivers got to the Bears’ elite defense.
The Dolphins would finish with 31 points and a victory over the Bears on Sunday. After watching the film, I will try to figure out what went wrong with the Bears’ defense on Sunday in Miami.
Let’s get into it.
The heat did matter
Last week I wrote a piece about how the Miami hot temperatures could potentially be an issue for the Bears against the Dolphins. People didn’t think it would matter much. Well, folks, it did. It actually mattered a whole lot.
By the time the fourth quarter came around the defense was exhausted. Could you blame them? They were playing in the 100-degree heat, with no shade on the sideline. That is a great move by the Dolphins by the way.
The Dolphins sideline is actually shaded. Well played if you ask me.
Anyway, the Bears played 79 snaps on Sunday in an overtime game. That’s 20 more snaps than they averaged in the first four games of the season. Sure, one could argue that the Dolphins had to play in the heat too.
While that’s true, it’s much different when you live in the climate throughout the week and practice in it.
Ok, my weather rant is over. Just in case you missed what I said last week though, check it out below.
The Dolphins have been excellent at home since the start of the 2016 season. During that span, they are 12-6 in the Flordia heat. It will be hot and humid on Sunday. The Bears are going to need to be prepared for it. The problem is you cannot really simulate that kind of atmosphere in practice.
Over the years, the heat has given players like Tom Brady issues. He is 7-9 as a starter in Miami. In fact, the New England Patriots have lost four out of their last five games there. That tells you just how real the home field advantage is.
Khalil Mack Injury
Want to know how many sacks the Bears got on Sunday? Zero, that’s right, the team that led the league in sacks through the first four weeks got almost zero pressure on Osweiler Sunday. That is unacceptable.
Now, Khalil Mack did suffer an ankle injury pretty early on, so that did contribute to the lack of pass rush. Still, other guys have to pick up the slack. It can be just Mack getting to the QB all the time. Other are going to have to step up.
On Tuesday, Mack underwent some tests on his ankle. Hopefully, he can suit up this Sunday against the Patriots and Tom Brady.
It’s no secret that Kyle Fuller has struggled early on this season. He had himself a day on Sunday with not one, but two interceptions.
THE REAL #DBU 🔥
Pro Tip – Don't throw at Kyle Fuller ⛔
Here's his 2 INTs for @ChicagoBears on Sunday!
— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) October 15, 2018
On the first interception, Fuller gets great position and makes a nice catch. The second interception was even more impressive because he read the eye’s of Osweiler and jumped the route.
That was the good…there was also some bad from Fuller on the tape. Below we see him trying to cover WR Kenny Stills, which is a hard task for anyone. Still, Fuller cannot end up on the ground like that.
This rep by Kyle Fuller attempting to cover Kenny Stills is what a normal human would look like in an NFL game. pic.twitter.com/vojFR1CP4R
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) October 14, 2018
The Dolphins other speedy WR Jakeem Grant gave Fuller issues as well, especially on this play.
Jakeem Grant roasting Kyle Fuller on a stop n' spin route. pic.twitter.com/jjjcvxwcd4
— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 15, 2018
Fuller was called for defensive holding on this play and rightfully so, but if you’re going to give up the catch and take a penalty…you might as well tackle Grant to prevent the big play from happening.
You know how I said I was done with the heat earlier…I’m not! Why? Because it was again a huge factor in the second half. The Bears missed 14 tackles on Sunday…12 came in the second half. When players get tired routine plays become hard.
That’s exactly what happened in the second half against the Dolphins’ offense.
The Bears gave up two touchdowns to WR Albert Wilson on screens. One went for 43 yards, the other for 75. The 75-yard screen was probably the most frustrating because three players were in great position to make a tackle.
In the picture above, we have three Bears’ defenders in red and Wilson in yellow. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you that was the play that went for a 75-yard touchdown.
The hope is that Sunday was a fluke for the Bears’ defense, especially in terms of tackling.
- The officiating was awful on Sunday. There’s no other way around it. On the Dolphins’ big play in OT to Stills checkout the hold on Mack.
How is there no holding call on Mack pic.twitter.com/C2kpKKYK7M
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) October 14, 2018
- Leonard Floyd continues to be a no-show. Sure, he had a few nice plays, but he needs to step his game up big time.
Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: Miami Herald