After Miami Dolphins broad receiver Tyreek Hill caught a 3-yard go from Tua Tagovailoa early within the second quarter Sunday, Hill sprinted throughout the Soldier Field finish zone and launched himself into the air for his trademark celebratory theatrics.
Roundoff, backflip — and a lead the Dolphins didn’t hand over once more in a 35-32 victory over the Chicago Bears.
A Bears protection that noticed two of its finest gamers dealt on the NFL commerce deadline knew the problem it confronted in opposition to Hill and Jaylen Waddle, two of the league’s high 5 in receiving yards.
But the Bears might do little to gradual them by means of three quarters. Hill completed with seven catches for 143 yards and a landing — bringing him to 1,104 receiving yards in 9 video games this season — and Waddle had 5 catches for 85 yards and a landing.
The Bears’ solely cease by means of the primary 42 minutes got here courtesy of Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders lacking a 29-yard discipline objective broad left. When the protection lastly put collectively three late stops, the Bears offense couldn’t come by means of with the profitable drive.
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson opened his postgame feedback with one phrase: “Speed.”
“They did a good job, especially using some pick routes, things like that,” Johnson mentioned. “It makes it more durable guarding any person already extraordinarily quick, and now you’ve rub routes, guys choosing one another. They did job there.
“We’ve just got to do a better job to execute, and I have to give myself a better chance and find a way to know those pick routes are coming and do a better job defending those. But they pose a lot of speed and they did a really good job running across the field, giving guys a lot of hard downs.”
Tagovailoa accomplished 21 of 30 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns for a 135.7 passer ranking. The Bears didn’t report a sack or power a turnover.
“We need to do a better job against those guys of jamming and disrupting at the line of scrimmage,” coach Matt Eberflus mentioned. “I didn’t think we did a very good job of that, and also getting guys up underneath them the way we had planned during the course of the week.”
Understanding the missed alternative made the early struggles extra irritating.
Safety Eddie Jackson has been round Chicago lengthy sufficient to know offensive performances like those the Bears and quarterback Justin Fields have put collectively the previous couple of weeks should be capitalized on, and he mentioned that was the speak on the sideline because the protection tried to regroup.
“The offense as a whole coming out there and continuing to give us 30 points, that’s something we’ve been asking for,” Jackson mentioned. “And we are able to’t permit groups to attain 28 or 35 factors on us as a protection. We’ve obtained to offer them guys some assist.
“That was our message on the sideline. Like, ‘Bro, we’ve got to help the O. … They’re doing everything they can, and we just keep coming up short, so we’ve got to get this fixed.’”
The Bears finally got here up with stops on three consecutive drives after the Dolphins pulled forward 35-25 within the third quarter, with security Jaquan Brisker saying the protection was “more aggressive and more locked in.”
The Dolphins went for it on fourth-and-6 on the Bears 35-yard line late within the third quarter, however Tagovailoa’s go to Mike Gesicki with security DeAndre Houston-Carson on him was broad.
They went for it once more on fourth-and-1 on the Bears 14 halfway by means of the fourth quarter, however Tagovailoa’s low go to Durham Smythe fell incomplete. That cease got here after Jackson was known as for a 47-yard go interference penalty whereas defending Waddle.
It was the Bears’ second go interference penalty, the primary on cornerback Kindle Vildor whereas defending Hill in the long run zone on the Dolphins’ first drive. That one, which ended with Vildor getting harm, ended up extra pricey. It gave the Dolphins 32 yards, they usually scored on the following play.
The Bears overcame Jackson’s penalty to make the cease, although the Dolphins ate up extra time on the clock and the Bears took over deep of their territory.
“(The official) said he didn’t see me playing the ball,” Jackson mentioned. “I didn’t look at a receiver one time, so I don’t know what he saw, but I was playing the ball the whole time. Even guys on the Dolphins sideline told me that was a horrible call.”
The ultimate cease got here courtesy of Johnson when he broke up Tagovailoa’s go to Waddle on third-and-11 with 2 minutes, 55 seconds to play.
“It was me and Waddle by ourselves,” Johnson mentioned. “I really just tried to contain him the best way I can. He gave me a hard stick inside, cut back outside and then he had two steps on me. But really just keeping my composure, seeing that the ball was short through his body language and then just putting my hands up where I thought the ball was coming and I made a good play.”
Johnson all the time talks about welcoming the problem to match up with the sport’s finest broad receivers, and this week was no totally different. But he didn’t stroll away from Soldier Field glad.
“I would definitely say not good enough,” Johnson mentioned. “I feel like I didn’t impact the game the way I wanted to. There definitely are some things I would want back, but at the end of the day, I’m always going to keep fighting.”
The efficiency got here within the wake of the Bears buying and selling group captains Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith in a six-day span. Undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn made his first begin at center linebacker, whereas the Bears moved Nicholas Morrow from the center to Smith’s spot at weak-side linebacker.
For the second straight week, Jackson didn’t use it as an excuse for the protection.
“You don’t really think about those type of things,” Jackson mentioned. “We’re out with the gamers we’ve obtained. Put our belief within the guys we’ve obtained on the sphere and simply attempt to alter various things.
“The young guys in there have to step up. It’s hard, big shoes to fill. But we’ve got to step up, we’ve got to prepare well and we have to execute no matter who is on the field.”