By Abraham Gutierrez
In what could only be categorized as nearly a perfect game, the Miami Dolphins went into Soldier Stadium and stunned the Chicago Bears to the tune of 34-17. The win put the Fins back to .500 on the year at 3-3, while the home struggles continued for “Da Bears” as they fall to 3-4 on the 2014 NFL campaign.READ MORE: Small But Ferocious Hurricane Sam Strengthens Some More
Outplaying Chicago in seemingly every facet of the game, Miami is back on the win column, and more importantly, once again relevant in the AFC East title chase. With the win, Miami is now just a half-game behind the Buffalo Bills for second place, and one-and-a-half behind the division-leading New England Patriots.
How good was Miami in the Windy City this week? The Dolphins registered more first down than the Bears (24-14), more total yards (393-224), won the turnover battle (0-3), controlled time of possession (37:22-22:38), ran for 137 yards to Chitown’s 52, and tallied more yards through the air (156-172).
In short, Joe Philbin’s team will have a very happy flight back to South Florida knowing that if this week’s Team Grades were the equivalent of a school Report Card, the team’s performance would be Honor Roll worthy.
Miami Dolphins Offense: A+
One of the keys to Miami’s victory was the play of the offensive line. A very interesting statistic was shown during the CBS Sports broadcast, which indicated that Ryan Tannehill was the most sacked quarterback in the National Football League since 2012.
However on Sunday, the O-line protected Tannehill and gave him the time he needed to go through his progressions and make the most intelligent play. Thus, Miami fans witnessed the type of quarterback performance worthy of being tagged with the moniker of franchise quarterback.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback: A+
This week’s effort was shocking particular for those who thought that Tannehill couldn’t possibly play better than he did against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. Earning a quarterback rating of 123.6, the former sixth-overall pick completed a whopping 78 percent of his passes (25/32) for 227 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
But that’s not all the former Texas A&M standout did in Miami’s win, as he filled the stat sheet by having a very productive game on the ground. Certainly worthy of the moniker “Runnahill,” No.17 was Miami’s second leading rusher behind Lamar Miller with 6 carries for 48 yards.READ MORE: Lines Of Mourners Pay Their Respects Sunday For Gabby Petito
Miami Dolphins Defense: A+
Much like it’s been all year, defense is the staple of the Miami Dolphins in 2014. Led by Cameron Wake, Louis Delmas and Derrick Shelby with one sack apiece, the Fins defense shut down the Bears offense for four quarters.
Free safety Reshad Jones recorded the only interception of the game, as he picked off Jay Cutler and returned it some 50 yards in the process. Other notable defenders include: cornerback Cortland Finnegan (4 tackles, 4 pass deflected), linebackers Brent Grimes (4 tackles) and Koa Misi (6 tackles), just to name a few.
Miami Dolphins Special Teams B+
The only reason why Miami’s special teams unit is the only one not to receiver a perfect letter grade is because of a pair of missed field goals by kicker Caleb Sturgis. Other than that, the Dolphins special teams did a great job of returning kicks, covering and punting for the duration of the game.
Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields was instrumental in Miami winning the field-position battle, as he punted the ball twice for an average of 37.5 yards per punt and pinned the Bears inside their 20-yard line in one instance.
Wide receiver/kick returner, Jarvis Landry, had his second solid start of the year with 2 kick returns for 55 yards, along with 2 punt returns for 22 yards total. The rookie out of LSU also registered 4 catches for 46 yards, including a 15-yard play.
For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.MORE NEWS: Blue Alert Issued Out Of North Florida County For Patrick McDowell, Accused Of Murdering Deputy During Traffic Stop
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .