The Bears-Dolphins score barely moved all night long. Yet when the Bears-Dolphins score did change, it always did so for Chicago. Their 16-0 victory wasn’t exactly unexpected, given the circumstances for this battle. Four days earlier, Miami lost two quarterbacks for the season, and needed a third-stringer to finish their win over Tennessee. However, it felt more like a loss, as Tyler Thigpen now had to lead them to the playoffs in a conference with little margin for error. From the looks of the Bears-Dolphins game, that margin has shrunk further, if it hasn’t disappeared altogether.
Chicago is hardly known for having a prolific offense either, especially when Jay Cutler has an off night. However, their defense has been back on track this year, and regularly shuts down healthy offenses. Therefore, Miami’s battered attack barely stood a chance.
The score was pretty much settled when Robbie Gould hit a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter. Afterward, the defense took over, as Julius Peppers got three of their six sacks against Thigpen. All Cutler had to do was avoid mistakes, which is often hard for him, but he actually proved to be efficient last night.
Cutler did throw an interception, but it didn’t lead to any damage. He didn’t need to lead any touchdown drives, but he finally got one in the last minutes. Their 9-0 lead was already insurmountable, but Matt Forte’s late touchdown put an exclamation point on things.
With the 16-0 win, Chicago improved to 7-3, and will stay in first place in the NFC North. Although the Packers are 6-3 and still favored in the division, they are still behind in tiebreakers. Meanwhile, the Bears pushed Miami to the brink, despite still being 5-5.
In the AFC, the 7-2 Patriots and 6-3 Steelers hold the wild card spots. Since it seems likely that the AFC East and North runners-up will win the wild cards, the Dolphins have almost no room to maneuver. Therefore, their 5-5 record almost leaves them out of contention, especially with their quarterback and offensive line injuries.
To make the playoffs, Miami likely needs to win every game, or only lose one more. The Bears-Dolphins score told a familiar story, as they have played three home games at night, and lost each one to a contender.
It is taking a while for some to see the Bears as contenders, but it may not seem far-fetched now. They will get another big chance to prove it against the Eagles next Sunday, while the Dolphins must go to Oakland to salvage their season.
SI.com- “Bears’ quiet superiority rings true in road rout – and season to date”