AP NEWS

Bears’ defense suddenly shaky in 31-28 OT loss at Miami

October 14, 2018
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Miami Dolphins tight end Nick O'Leary (83) catches a touchdown pass past Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Miami Gardens, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins devised a simple plan to keep Khalil Mack out of their backfield.

“We had about four guys blocking him,” Miami coach Adam Gase said.

But what happened to the rest of the Chicago Bears’ defense? A unit stirring memories of the Bears’ glory days gave up 541 yards Sunday in a 31-28 overtime loss.

And Miami played without quarterback Ryan Tannehill, inactive because of an injury to his throwing shoulder. Replacement Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards .

Four Miami plays gained more than 30 yards, including catch-and-run touchdowns covering 43 and 75 yards by Albert Wilson. The breakdowns were surprising from a defense that allowed only 65 points in the first four games this year.

“Can’t give up too many big plays for what we’re capable of on defense,” Mack said.

The two-time All-Pro linebacker was especially quiet with two tackles. Mack suffered an ankle injury early in the game and briefly went to the sideline, and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in every game came to an end.

The Bears (3-2), who were averaging 4½ sacks per game, totaled none even though Osweiler threw 44 times. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks found it difficult to evaluate the pass rush.

“We didn’t get any sacks,” he said. “You can’t assess it when you don’t get any sacks.”

Run defense was no better. Frank Gore, the Dolphins’ ageless 35-year-old running back, gained 101 yards in 15 carries. Teammate Kenyan Drake added 57 yards.

“It all starts with stopping the run,” Mack said, “and we didn’t do a good job with that today.”

The fourth quarter was again a problem for the defense, which failed to protect a 21-10 lead with 16 minutes left. Of the 96 points allowed this season by the Bears, 60 have come after the third quarter.

Miami had 387 yards after halftime. A sunny, 90-degree afternoon might have been a factor in the Bears’ fade, both on offense and defense.

Guard Kyle Long, for one, hadn’t read the forecast.

“It was a shocker when we walked out of the locker room and it’s 400 degrees in the shade,” he said.

But the defense made mistakes early in the game, too. Linebacker Leonard Floyd was called for unnecessary roughness when he body-slammed receiver Danny Amendola , which led to the only touchdown in the first half.

“He was trying to gain more yards,” Floyd said, “and I was trying to stop him.”

Coach Matt Nagy declined to discuss Floyd’s play. Otherwise, Nagy preferred to praise the Dolphins rather than criticize his defense.

“You have got to give credit to them for playing a good game,” Nagy said. “They made plays.”

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