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Jay Cutler completed 16-of-25 passes for 156 yards with one interception for the Bears (7-3), who have won three in a row and moved into first place in the NFC North. Green Bay is 6-3 and faces Minnesota this weekend.
Chicago recorded the 700th victory in franchise annals, which stands as the highest total in NFL history.
Miami was playing without its top two quarterbacks, Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, who were both injured in Sunday’s win over Tennessee. The start then fell to Tyler Thigpen, who threw for 187 yards on 17-of-29 efficiency, with one interception.
However, Thigpen was the leading rusher with 27 yards for the Dolphins (5-5), who got more bad news when receiver Brandon Marshall suffered a hamstring injury late in the first half and did not return.
Brian Urlacher smothers Tyler Thigpen, for a loss of nine and the Miami Dolphins are forced to punt. Devin Hester is trying mightily to break one here in his hometown, but is tacled after a ten yard return.
Chester Taylor takes it out from the 22, for a one-yard gain. Cutler gets the first down, on a quick strike to Hester. They follow it up, with a roll out screen to Devin Hester again, for eight yards.
J'Marcus Webb nullifies a nice Chester Taylor run, with his third holding penalty. Jay Cutler doesn't like what he sees before the snap, and calls timeout.
The Bears have been entirely in control, up to this point. And the time of possession is very lopsided, in their favor.
Out of the timeout, Taylor runs for three, and then Cutler is sacked for the second time.
Davone Bess fair catches a 49-yard Brad Maynard punt.
Tyler Thigpen scrambles and doesn't slide, he's hit hard by Brian Urlacher. And Julius Peppers gets the Bears' fifth sack.
On the next play Peppers is shaken up after a collision with Chris Harris.
An illegal block on the punt return, puts the Bears back at their own 18-yard line.
They continue to eat the clock, handing off to Matt Forte, for a one yard gain. His next run goes for no gain.
On third and nine, Cutler rolls out and is nearly picked off.
Maynards punt takes a Bears roll, and ends up traveling 49 yards, to the Dolphins 33 with 7:14 left.
After a scramble out of bounds, Thigpen finds Ronnie Brown for a first down. The Dolphins lose six, on another Julius Peppers sack
A screen to Brown is stopped after five yards by Lance Briggs. Another pass to Ronnie Brown is short and they go for it, on fourth and six.
Davone Bess can't hold on to the ball, after Danieal Manning pastes him, and the Dolphins give it up on downs.
Cutler hands off to Forte and loses two. The Dolphins take a timeout. Forte follows with six yards around a pile-up, and Miami takes its second timeout at 3:46.
Cutler shoots a laser to Johnny Knox, for a first down, the Bears 19th of the game. A little chipping at the line of scrimmage, and the Dolphins take their last timeout, at 2:55.
Forte is is tackled behind the line, on a pitch, and it's third and thirteen. Cutler takes an eight yard sack, and J'Marcus Webb's fourth penalty is declined, and the clock winds down to the two-minute warning.
Brad Maynard punts to Davone bess, who brings it seven yards to the 22 yard line.
Charles Tillman prevents the Dolphins from getting out of bounds. They're giving Thigpen the middle, and letting time run out.
This is only the second time the Miami Dolphins have been shut out at home, in their 40 year history. And the Bears are the first NFL team to win 700 regular season games.
After a Chicago Bear touchdown drive, and kickoff, the Miami Dolphins take over at the 22 yard line with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
An incomplete pass, followsa two yard Ricky Williams run. Then Tyler Thigpen finds Brian hartline for a first down. There running game continues to go nowhere, as does a shovel pass, that's wrapped up quickly by Lance Briggs.
Time expires in the third quarter, and the Bears lead 16-0
Robbie Gould is all leg tonight, kicking his second touchback of the night, after his 50 yard field goal put the Bears up 9-0.
The Miami Dolphins' Tyler Thigpen gets a first down, then quickly finds himself at three and five. He tres to escape Israel Idonije, but he's tripped up for a 16 yard loss.
A short punt gives the Bears possession at their own 40 yard line, and Cutler and Company will go back to work.
Matt Forte gets a first down, after a long run and a punch-through. Another hand-off gets another nine yards, as Forte is softening up the Dolphins line, Taylor takes the next run and it's third and inches. They fake a reverse, and taylor gets the first, driving up the middle.
Another short Taylor run, and the Bears are already managing the clock,
Cutler is almost intercepted, but the ball is dropped and there's a penalty. He rears back again and finds Greg Olsen near the sideline for 12, first down.
Just outside the red zone, Cutler tries to hit Olsen in the end zone, incomplete. Forte picks up two, on a draw. The clock is down to four minutes, and the Bears take a time out, with the ball at the 21, and third and seven. He finds Greg Olsen in the middle, for another third down conversion.
On first and goal, Forte takes it to the six, then to the two, on the next play. On thrid down, Forte takes it in standing up. Nice blocking on from the O-line.
The Miami Dolphins will kick to the Chicago Bears to start the second half. The Bears won the coin toss at the beginning of the game, but deferred.
The Bears defense has been tough, but the Dolphins are now playing their third string center, giving the ball to their third-string quarterback. And to make matters worse, hamstring problems may prevent Brandon Marshall from returning for the second half.
The offense hasn't been able to capitalize, however. And unless they can light up the second half, the doubts about this team will linger. They've been extremely balanced, almost even. Third down conversions are improving on a game by game basis. So hopefully the points will come
Rashied Davis receives the kickoff and takes it 10 yards to the 30.
Cutler hits Johnny knox for 16 yards on a play fake. Forte dances and bulls his way for nine yards around end, then punches through the middle for seven. The line is looking good, so far.
Matt Forte is caught for a two yard loss, and Cutler throws into traffic, lucky it's only an incomplete. Cutler has time, but no trgets, and he runs for six.
Robbie Gould puts them up 9-0 with a 50 yarder.
The Bears defense is flying all over the field, and Brandon Marshall gets their first down, only to get a 15 yard taunting penalty. Miami recovers with a 23 yard completion..
Ricky Williams loses three on the next play, and Marshall hears Tillman's footsteps, and drops the ball. On third and long, Henry Melton wraps up a scrambling Tyler Thigpen, and the Dolphins have to punt again.
Devin Hester calls for a fair catch, and the Bears start at their own six.
Matt Forte gains four yards on a screen pass. He follows it up with a run for one yard. On third and five, hHe winds up and hits Hester for 15 yards and a first down. so far the Bears run-pass ratio is very balanced.
The Miami Dolphins take a timeout with 5:44 left in the second quarter.
Cutler is knocked down on an incomplete, and scrambles for six on the next play. And the third down conversion continue, with a 12 yard shot in the middle to Johnny Knox.
On the next play, Greg Olsen catches and runs for 11, and another first down. Matt Forte answers with an11 yard run to follow. Chester Taylor for one, and the Bears are driving at the two-minute warning.
On a second and eight, at the 36 yard line, a holding call on J'Marcus Webb, backs them up ten yards.
Second and 21, Cutler throws it up and it's pulled down by Benny Sapp, but there's a booth review at the 1:46 mark, to determine if he maintained possession.
It's ruled an interception, Cutler's tenth of the season.
Each team has two timeouts left.
Thigpen hits Marshall for 19. But Brandon Marshall stays down, holding his leg. It's the second time he's been hurt after a catch, and it costs Miami a timeout.
Thigpen tries to make something out of nothing and gets hit from behind by Julius Peppers, followed by an incomplete. The next play, he throws behind Ricky Williams, and the ball is wrapped up by Lance Briggs.
A booth review overturns the interception, and the Dolphins are forced to punt with 53 seconds left in the half.
Devin Hester is back and fair catches at the Bears 14 yard line.
Forte runs for nine yards, and Cutler tries to hit Knox on a slant, then takes a knee to end the half.
Devin Hester opens the second quarter with a first down catch, followed by a Chester Taylor run, and a holding penalty by J'Marcus Webb.
A screen to Matt Forte gets them back to the 25 yard line, and then Cutler scrambles to the nine. Cutlers scrambles have been a great new wrinkle, and he made some tacklers miss.
Taylor runs up the middle to the five, and loses one, on the next play. Third and goal.
Bears take their first time out, as the red zone continues to be a thorny area for them.
Bennet can't get up high enough to bring down Cutler's pass and they settle for a 23 yarder from Robbie Gould.
The drive takes almost seven minutes off the clock.
After a Robbie Gould touch back, the Bears stuff Thigpen, and nearly intercept the pass. A five yard Ricky Williams run, is followed by Thigpen scrambling for a first down but it's negated by an illegal block.
Charles Tillman intercepts a floater, and the Bears get the ball back in excellent field position. So far the Miami Dolphins offense hasn't been able to run two plays in a row.
The Bears start from the Dolphins 46, and Ciutler launces one, that Hester can't haul in. Chester Taylor runs for no gain, third and nine.
Cutler hits Earl Bennet for a first down near the 32. Immediately, Jay goes to Knox and gets anothe first down.
Chester Taylor loses two, as time expires in the first quarter.
Bears lead 3-0, and are threatening.
"They're all important. September, October, November,December."- Brian Urlacher
the Bears win the toss and defer. The Dolphins promptly return in 43 yards. Excellent field position.Tyler Thigpen completes to Brandon Marshall.
A double reverse reults in a fumble, way behind the line of scrimmage, the Dolphins are lucky to recover. Loss of eight.
Henry Melton sacks Thigpen, for another loss. Hester's back for the punt. Fair caught at the 12.
The Bears go three and out, and punt to the Dolphins 41. They looked pretty flat in their first possession, ultimately gaining only two yards.
The Dolphins are backed up by a holding call to start their possession, and can't gey back to the original line of scrimmage. Left Guard Corey Proctor is down on the field. The Dolphins can't afford any more injuries, they're spread as thin as any team in the NFL. After two possessions, the Dolphins are in negative yardage.
Hester is back, and returns it 22 yards. The Bears start their next possession with much better field position.
Matt Forte takes it around the end for a 21 yard gain. The Bears are at the Miami 40. Cutler finds Olsen for seven yards. A false start backs them up to third and seven.
Cutler, with all the time in the world finds Knox for a first down. Two Forte runs produce five yards.
Cutler is sacked and fumbles, but the Bears recover.
Robbie Gould kicks the field goal from 46 yards out. Three-zip, Bears.
The NFL Network has hired every ex-player who owns a garish suit, to work their pre-game extravaganza. Thankfully, the two-plus hours of pre-game hype is finally over and the game is almost underway. it looks like a pretty nice night in Miami.
Will the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester run one back for a TD tonight? Will the Miami Dolphins kick to him? Will Tyler Thigpen come through for the Dolphins? Or are they going to have to run the wildcat formation all night? Jay Cutler's insulin levels have been discussed along with every other aspect of his game and personality.
And the highlights from the '85 Bears- Dolphins game have been shown on the jumbotron. And of course, there's fireworks. And sirens.
Are you ready for some football?
We’re about two hours from kickoff between the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins, in Miami. The Bears defense should expect to see a [lot of wildcat formations, as well as extremely eager third-string Dolphins quarterback, Tyler Thigpen.
The extremely thorough NFL Network staff has three men in the booth, four on the dais lodged in a corner near the end zone, two female broadcasters currently prowling the locker rooms, as well as the guys in the studio, yet nobody’s mentioned that a Bears win today would make them the first NFL team to have 700 regular season wins.
In about 30 minutes, we’ll start our NFL Network pre-game tweets. So if you haven’t done it yet, sign up to receive SB Nation Chicago’s Twitter feeds.
And we’ll be back here at kickoff, providing live updates all game long.
(Sports Network) – The Miami Dolphins came out of their most recent game awfully battered and bruised, but they’ll have little time to lick their wounds.
Expected to start their third quarterback in the span of three weeks, the Dolphins try to improve their present standing in the AFC when the banged-up club hosts the NFC North co-leading Chicago Bears this Thursday in a key interconference clash from Sun Life Stadium.
The quarterback position was also the primary focus of Miami’s Week 9 matchup with Tennessee, with head coach Tony Sparano opting to start cerebral veteran Chad Pennington over struggling incumbent Chad Henne after the latter threw three interception in loss at Baltimore the previous Sunday. The brittle Pennington lasted only two plays, however, before suffering a season-ending dislocated shoulder, and Henne was forced to exit later on due to a knee injury that will likely keep him out of Thursday’s tilt as well.
Third-stringer Tyler Thigpen finished up the 29-17 win over the Titans and went 4-for-6 for 64 yards and a touchdown in a sharp relief effort. The fourth-year pro is the favorite to be under center against the Bears, with newly-signed journeyman Patrick Ramsey in line to serve as the backup.
Thigpen does have prior starting experience, having began 11 games with Kansas City in 2008. The 26-year-old threw for 2,608 yards and 18 touchdowns that season, though the Chiefs prevailed in just one of his 11 starts.
Miami also sustained another significant injury in the Tennessee game, with standout left offensive tackle Jake Long reportedly tearing the labrum in his left shoulder. The 2009 All-Pro’s status for this week’s test figures to be in question up until kickoff.
Chicago will be entering in better shape, both health-wise and in the standings. The Bears are presently tied with Green Bay for first place in the NFC North with a 6-3 record and moved to 3-0 in divisional play after disposing of the turmoil-laden Minnesota Vikings last Sunday at Soldier Field, getting three touchdown passes out of quarterback Jay Cutler and another excellent performance on defense to deal their longtime rivals a 27-13 defeat.
The Bears limited Minnesota’s dysfunctional offense to 240 yards and intercepted Brett Favre three times in another impressive display from a unit that’s yielded the second-fewest points and fourth-fewest yards in the league.
Chicago has also handled itself well on the road this season, having won three of its first four games as the visitor. Miami, on the other hand, had lost its initial three 2010 contests at Sun Life Stadium before last week’s besting of the Titans.
The Dolphins come in 5-4 overall and are one game off the pace in the race for the last of the AFC’s two Wild Card berths. Miami sits in third place in the competitive AFC East, two games behind co-leaders New England and the New York Jets.
The Dolphins lead the all-time series with the Bears, 7-3, including a 31-13 road victory when the teams last met, in 2006. Chicago, which would eventually represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, was 7-0 heading into that matchup at Soldier Field. The Fins won the previous meeting between the clubs as well, a 27-9 win in South Florida in 2002. Chicago’s last win over the Dolphins came in 1997, a 36-33 overtime road triumph.
The most memorable meeting between the teams took place during the 1985 regular season, when the Dolphins handed the Bears their only loss of the year in the form of a 38-24 Monday night victory at the Orange Bowl.
Bears head coach Lovie Smith is 0-1 in his career against the Dolphins. Sparano will be meeting both Smith and Chicago for the first time as a head coach.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
The intricate pass-heavy offense installed by first-year coordinator Mike Martz is finally starting to make some strides after a rough beginning to the season. Cutler (1908 passing yards, 12 TD, 9 INT) completed passes to nine different receivers in a 237-yard, three-touchdown outing against the Vikings, while a troublesome front line that’s struggled in protection throughout the year surrendered just one sack. What was perhaps more startling, though, was Chicago’s concerted effort to mix in the run with the pass last week and finding some success in doing so. Running backs Matt Forte (470 rushing yards, 30 receptions, 6 total TD) and Chester Taylor (206 rushing yards, 1 TD, 14 receptions) combined for 102 yards on 32 carries as the Bears compiled a season-best 130 rushing yards, 35 more than the team’s per-game average. The versatile Forte is also one of Cutler’s top receiving targets, with second- year wideout Johnny Knox (32 receptions, 617 yards, 1 TD) the primary deep threat and tight end Greg Olsen (24 receptions, 4 TD) often the go-to guy within the red zone. Despite last week’s improvement in that area, the Bears have still allowed 33 sacks on the year, tied for the most in the NFL.
Chicago’s shaky offensive line will be tested by a formidable Miami pass rush headed up by playmaking outside linebacker Cameron Wake (32 tackles), who leads the AFC with 8 1/2 sacks, and promising rookie counterpart Koa Misi (21 tackles, 3.5 sacks). The duo helps support a secondary that’s currently going through a bit of a transitional phase, with the Dolphins having surprisingly waived cornerback Jason Allen prior to the Tennessee game while signing oft- injured veteran Al Harris to serve as the nickel back behind young starters Vontae Davis (31 tackles, 1 INT, 6 PD) and Sean Smith (30 tackles, 1 sack). Allen had three of the team’s rather low sum of six interceptions for the year. The Dolphins rank in the middle of the pack in run defense, having allowed an average of 110.2 yards per game on the ground (16th overall), but Titans speedster Chris Johnson put up 117 yards and a touchdown on only 17 attempts on a group led by inside linebacker Karlos Dansby (68 tackles, 1 sack) and strong safety Yeremiah Bell (68 tackles, 1.5 sacks), each of whom had eight tackles and a forced fumble in last week’s win.
WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL
With Thigpen (79 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) having played sparingly over the past two years, it would be no surprise if Miami leans heavily on its talented backfield tandem of Ronnie Brown (444 rushing yards, 3 TD, 18 receptions) and still-dangerous veteran Ricky Williams (400 rushing yards, 8 receptions, 2 total TD) on Thursday. Despite both players’ strong track records, the Dolphins haven’t been overly effective running the football, having averaged a pedestrian 3.8 yards per attempt on the year. The athletic Thigpen could lend an added dimension due to his mobility in the pocket, but he’s only a 54 percent career passer who’ll probably be asked to be more of a game manager than a vertical presence this week. If the Dolphins do decide to open up the offense, Thigpen will have some tantalizing options to work with. Top wide receiver Brandon Marshall (55 receptions, 652 yards, 1 TD) is a two-time Pro Bowler and matchup nightmare due to his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame, with sophomore Brian Hartline (34 receptions, 1 TD), shifty slotman Davone Bess (48 receptions, 3 TD) and steady tight end Anthony Fasano (25 receptions, 3 TD) all capable pass-catchers as well. Hartline is coming off an outstanding day against the Titans in which he registered a career-high 98 yards on five grabs. The status of Long, the team’s best pass protector, and center Joe Berger (questionable, knee), will also have an impact on how Miami decides to attack the Bears.
The Dolphins can’t afford to be too run-reliant this week, as Chicago is one of the best in the business at stopping opponents’ ground games. The Bears are permitting a scant 82.3 rushing yards per week (2nd overall) and held Vikings All-Pro Adrian Peterson to a modest 51 yards on 17 totes last Sunday, with accomplished linebackers Brian Urlacher (62 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT) and Lance Briggs (45 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INT) once again leading the charge. Thigpen doesn’t figure to have an easy time of it either, as Chicago tops the NFL in pass efficiency defense at the moment and has given up a league-low six touchdown throws as well, while coming up with 13 interceptions and an outstanding total of 24 takeaways. Charles Tillman (49 tackles, 2 INT, 9 PD) and Tim Jennings (39 tackles, 1 INT) continue to be sound football as the starting corners, while young nickel back D.J. Moore (21 tackles, 6 PD) has developed into a reliable ballhawk who notched his team-leading fourth interception of the year last week. Long’s availability will be crucial for the Dolphins, as the left tackle will have to take on one of the game’s premier up-front disruptors in Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (24 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT).
Few fantasy defenses have been better than Chicago’s this season, and that cast looks like an excellent play again this week against a Miami team that’s often struggled to consistently put up points regardless of who’s been the quarterback. That being said, Thigpen isn’t a very desirable pickup for this game, and the change under center will likely have an impact on the production of complementary contributors such as Hartline and Fasano. Still continue to start Marshall and Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter, who’s tied for the league lead with 22 field goals, but the backfield timeshare between Brown and Williams combined with a tough matchup makes both players nothing more than flex alternatives. Forte’s the most appealing choice on the Chicago side, with Knox offering some value at the wide receiver spot and fellow wideout Devin Hester (24 receptions, 2 TD) a worthy option in leagues that count return yardage. The erratic Cutler carries some risk at quarterback, so explore other avenues if at all possible. Since the Bears can be turnover-prone and often give up sacks in bunches, the Miami defense won’t be a bad selection here.
This looks to be a tough spot for the Dolphins, who’ll be forced to send out a third-string quarterback on a short week against a Chicago defense that’s been one of the unsung standouts of this 2010 season. The possibility of Long being held out or limited won’t help Thigpen’s cause either. Turnovers and special teams could very well play a imperative role on the outcome of this game, and the Bears have been tremendous in both inducing mistakes out of the opposition and getting big plays out of the return game. While the Chicago offense has been hardly a juggernaut and Cutler’s been known to turn in a clunker performance or two, the Bears’ advantages on defense and in the health department outweigh Miami’s home-field edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bears 20, Dolphins 13
Happy Thursday, everyone! Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears meet the Miami Dolphins in Sun-Life Stadium tonight at 7:20 P.M. CST. A win tonight would put the Bears at 7-3, and add to the Green Bay Packers (6-3) pressure to win Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings (3-6).
Breaking Records : There's two on the line tonight; aside from Devin Hester being poised to break the NFL record for kick return touchdowns, Brian Urlacher is four tackles away from passing Mike Singletary's franchise record for tackles. Right now he has 1,484. It would be nice to see both records fall tonight.
Bucking Trends : According to foxsports.com the Bears are one of a handful of teams that aren't suffering from a rash of injuries. Chicago hasn't had to put a player on injured reserve, since Hunter Hillenmeyer, back in September. The Miami Dolphins, on the other hand, have lost two starting quarterbacks and are getting stretched thin across the defensive line.
Tuesday's injury report indicates cornerback Zack Bowman (foot), wide receiver Rashied Davis (quadriceps), wide receiver/returner Devin Hester (shoulder), receiver Johnny Knox (ankle) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) were limited in practice. Later rports stated that Tinoisamoa is not expected to play tonight.
The Dolphins reported quarterback Chad Henne (knee), center Joe Berger (knee) and safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) did not practice. Tackle Jake Long (shoulder), safety Tyrone Culver (ankle) and receiver Roberto Wallace (knee) were all held to limited duty.
Talking Smack : Don't forget to join me tonight between 6:00 and 7:00 Central, as I bring the highs and lows of the NFL Networks pre-game show to Twitter. Just click on thre link to sign up for SB Nation Chicago's account. Then afterwards, I'll be here manning the StoryStream, to bring you live updates throughout the game.
Bears Vs. Eagles Game Time Change: The NFL has announced that they have changed the time of the Nov. 28 game between the Bears and Eagles from noon to 3:15 CT to make it the featured network game on Fox. This game has garnered more attention because the Bears are on two-game winning streak. And also, apparently the Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had a pretty decent outing last night against the Washington Redskins.
Home Cooking: Devin Hester is one kick return touchdown shy of breaking the all-time record. Right now he is tied with Brian Mitchell with 13. Hester is no stranger to Sun-Life Stadium, the Dolphins' home field is also the home of the University of Miami where Hester played in college. He'll have lots of family and friends from his home state there to cheer him on.
And he already knows the route, having taken the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI from one end zone, all the way to the other.
Injury Report: Everybody on the Chicago Bears roster practiced today, for the second day in a row. No mean feat, at this point in the season. CB Zack Bowman ( foot), WR Rashied Davis (quad), WR Johnny Knox (ankle), WR Devin Hester (shoulder), and LB Pisa Tinosamoa (knee) all were held to limited participation, but are all expected to be available Thursday.
For the Dolphins, C Joe Berger (knee), QB Chad Henne (knee), and S Chris Clemons (hamstring) all did not participate. OT Jake Long (shoulder), S Tyrone Cutler (ankle), WR Roberto Wallace (knee), all participated on a limited basis.
Although both were thought to be scratched for Thursday night, Chad Henne and Jake Long are rumored to be possibilities.
Pre-Game Tweets : Do you want to know what the pre-game buzz is on the NFL Network, but have an aversion to hideous ties? Why not sign up to receive my tweets, starting one hour before the Bears-Eagles broadcast (6:00 to 7:00 CST) on SB Nation Chicago's Twitter stream? I'll give you the short and sweet of the networks pre-game show, and then provide up-to-the-minute updates all through the game, right here on SB Nation Chicago. Just click on the link below for that and other Chicago sports news.
Did the Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings, that reclaimed first-place in the NFC North and showed poise and evenness in every phase of it's game, silence their critics?
No. Of course not.
But it certainly made them easier to ignore. All through this season, there have been some angry people who shouted from the rooftops whenever the Bears won, it was an anomaly. They didn't deserve it, the opponent beat themselves, the opponent was a terrible team, etc, etc.... Every loss was vindication of their claims that the Bears are the worst team in the league, that they've been exposed, etc...
Well, for those of you scoring at home, that's six anomalies to three 'I told you so's'.
Jay Cutler and the Bears offense had a great game Sunday, moving the ball around. Cutler completed passes to nine different receivers. The defense was opportunistic, taking the ball away from the Vikings four times. And special teams play continues to keep putting the team right where it wants to be.
The Bears have a short week this week as they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins Thursday night. They'll be shown on the NFL Network, just 4 days after beating that network's favorite son, Brett Favre. The game is one week prior to Thanksgiving, so if your gluttony extends to professional football, as well as turkey, you're in for a beautiful end to November. There's Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, games on Sunday followed by Monday Night Football, Thanksgiving games, plus the regular Sunday games, capped off by ... more Monday Night Football.
You might want to be extra nice to the family, at least until Wednesday.
And this Thursday in Miami could be another big payday for the Chicago Bears. During their win against the Tennessee Titans yesterday, Miami lost both Chad Pennington and Chad Henne (insert your own 'hanging Chads' joke here) and had to rely on third-stringer Tyler Thigpen, who ably managed to seal the game in the fourth quarter.
The line on Thigpen, who's been in the league for four years, is that he's got a gunslinger mentality and will serve up some interceptions, given enough time. The Dolphins have a powerful running back in Ricky Williams who they rely on to provide big yardage.
Does this sound familiar?
This team is very much like the Minnesota Vikings team the Bears dispatched yesterday afternoon. After playing their most complete game, and with a very limited amount of time to prepare, the Bears scheme for Thursday night should be 'let it ride'. Throw us one in Miami, just like that last one, and we should be sitting pretty with a 7-3 record, rooting for the legendary Brett Favre to pull out his bag of tricks one more time, against Green Bay on Sunday.
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