1) Key Player Steps Up
There’s an old saying about back-up quarterbacks only being one play away from being called upon to contribute in a meaningful way. That saying certainly applied to quarterback Brock Osweiler, as he stepped in for an injured Ryan Tannehill, and delivered a winning performance. Brock was in control of the entire offense, showing good timing throwing the ball, and knowing when to extend plays with his legs behind the line of scrimmage. He got everyone involved with eight different Miami receivers catching at least one pass. The offense also did a very good job along the line of scrimmage verses the Bears defensive pressure, and that includes Chicago’s star pass rusher Khalil Mack, for 70 minutes. Osweiler was just one of many Dolphins who raised their level of play to earn a home victory, but was arguably the most important one playing the toughest position on the field.
2) Resilient Play On Defense
Multiple players came up with timely plays to help the Dolphins in their three point victory over the Bears Sunday. Linebacker Kiko Alonso led all Miami defenders with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The defense also came up with two red-zone turnovers, with the Alonso fumble that was forced by defensive end Robert Quinn, and T.J. McDonald’s interception in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. There were too many explosive plays that allowed the Bears offense to take a 21-10 lead midway through the third quarter, but this group also responded in overtime. The Bears moved the ball quickly into Dolphins territory after just two plays, but the run defense stood strong forcing a long field goal miss by former Dolphin Cody Parkey. That gave the Miami offense excellent starting position for the game-winning drive.
3) Veteran Players Come Through
I didn’t thing that running back Frank Gore would eclipse the 100-yard mark this season. It’s not because of his age, or skill set, but more about not getting enough touches in a game to achieve the mark. Well, I’m happy that Gore proved me wrong rushing for 101 yards in only 15 carries and a 6.7 yards per carry average. His straight ahead style on first down runs kept the offense ahead of the chains, and Frank still had enough in the tank for a couple of hurdles and explosive dashes on the perimeter. Speaking of explosive plays, wide out Albert Wilson went in, out and around the entire Bears defense in the second half. Wilson’s ability to run after catch helped the Dolphins keep pace with Chicago’s scores in the fourth quarter. Albert took a quick screen and dashed 43 yards to tie the game at 21 all. And after the Bears regained the lead 28-21, Wilson took another short pass on Miami’s first play of the next possession, and went in, around and through multiple defenders for a 75-yard touchdown. Two other players that came up big on Sunday were Danny Amendola and Nick O’Leary. Amendola led all Miami receivers with eight receptions for 59 yards. His crisp route running gave Osweiler easy windows to deliver the ball to and helped get the ball out quickly early and late in the game. O’Leary played a lot of offensive snaps and responded like a true pro for a player that wasn’t expected to be counted on to contribute this early.