OSWEILER AND OT
Sub QB, rookie kicker get it done, beat Bears 31-28
The Dolphins played a pivotal early-season game without quarterback Ryan Tannehill against the Bears Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami turned to much-maligned Brock Osweiler, who played a stable first half before showing glimpses of Bad Brock early in the second half and then turning in a thrilling fourth-quarter and overtime performance in a stunning 31-28 victory.
The win — coming on a 47-yard field goal by rookie Jason Sanders on the final play of overtime — gave the Dolphins a 4-2 record and snapped a two-game losing streak.
“You know, today felt like a heavyweight title fight. It really did,” Osweiler said. “Nothing about this football game was perfect but we continued to fight. We continued to fight through the adversity. I threw two inter
ceptions and no one blinked an eye. We just went back to work.”
The Miami defense, despite a slew of key injuries, was effective against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears (3-2) in the first half, before tiring somewhat in the second and in OT. One thing that may keep Miami in games all season is a new-found ability to turn over the opponent inside their own red zone.
Going in for the game-winning touchdown in overtime, Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake fumbled at the goal line. Drake was beside himself on the Miami
sideline, towel draped over his head.
But Bears kicker and ex-Dolphin Cody Parkey of Jupiter missed a chance to win it. And Sanders didn’t.
Here are our instant takeaways:
1. Osweiler is on a fascinating roller-coaster ride. At times, Osweiler shows off a strong arm. At times, he throws a really catchable ball. At times, he’s way off the mark. And at his worst, Osweiler was throwing an interception nearly returned for a touchdown. That’s exactly what happened at the start of the third quarter, when a 7-0 lead quickly flipped into a 14-7 deficit after Kyle Fuller intercepted Osweiler for a second time. Osweiler’s passer rating has an uncanny ability to flip from more than 100 to under 50 in a matter of minutes. Osweiler always seems so poised, but then morphs in volatile fashion in sudden, unexpected turns of events. Then, just as quickly, he leads a long drive and converts a 2-point conversion to tie the score at 21. Then he hits Albert Wilson for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and brings his passer rating back near 100. Well, it’s not boring.
2. The corner opposite Xavien Howard was an issue. Teams facing the Dolphins have practically given up on throwing in the direction of Howard, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level. But Miami misses injured outside corner Bobby McCain. He was initially expected to miss at least two weeks, so Miami kept him on schedule. Former undrafted free agent Torry McTyer had a solid tackle on Sunday, but was beaten down field a few times. He didn’t show enough speed and didn’t get his head turned around quickly enough. After one particular deep pass, Cordrea Tankersley, who had been buried after a starting role last season, replaced him in the lineup.
3. Nick O’Leary has quickly carved out a role on the Dolphins. O’Leary came to the Dolphins with the reputation as a solid blocker. But on Sunday, the tight end and Dwyer graduate showed an ability to get open and to catch. O’Leary’s touchdown reception gave Miami a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. And he ran open many other times. It says something that O’Leary has jumped off Miami’s practice squad and made a bigger impact than second- and fourth-round draft choices Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. But O’Leary was an accomplished player at Florida State and has some valuable NFL experience. His toughness and professionalism are assets. O’Leary’s contributions as a blocker also helped Miami’s offensive line, which should be commended for not allowing a sack on Sunday.
4. Kiko Alonso is involved in so many turnovers. With the game on the line, and Chicago driving to win in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins linebacker forced Bears running back Tarik Cohen to fumble and Howard recovered. Earlier in the game, Robert Quinn forced a fumble at Miami’s goal line and Alonso recovered. Miami safety T.J. McDonald had an interception in his own end zone. Even when the Dolphins defense bends, which it often has this season, it is bailed out by turnovers. Miami entered the game leading the NFL in interceptions. And on Sunday, the Dolphins defenders showed off.
5. Miami’s defensive front must be exhausted. Defensive end Jonathan Woodard had his first NFL sack, but soon went out with a concussion. This left the Dolphins with three healthy defensive ends. Robert Quinn received medical attention during the game. Andre Branch is playing through a knee injury. Cameron Malveaux was recently on the Dolphins’ practice squad. Charles Harris surprisingly popped up on the injury report Friday and was scratched. The Dolphins did not get outstanding pressure on Trubisky. Injuries to Wake, Branch, Harris, William Hayes and the release of Jordan Phillips have put Miami in a precarious spot.
Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7) and holder Matt Haack (2) celebrate Sanders’ game-winning field goal at the end of overtime Sunday as Lauderdale Lakes-Boyd Anderson product Eddie Jackson, a Bears safety, walks off.
Miami cornerback Torry McTyer (24) celebrates a stop of Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (18) during the Dolphins’ OT victory.