Bears Left Hoping Their Loss Won't Loom Large

The Bears must regroup after a 31-28 overtime loss to the Dolphins.

Chris Emma
October 14, 2018 - 6:22 pm
Bears running back Jordan Howard reacts after fumbling just before the goal line.

Mark Brown/Getty Images


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (670 The Score) -- Part of what makes the NFL such a captivating force is the parity so often on display. Teams are similar enough in talent that seasons can be decided by individual plays.

On Sunday, the Bears were left wishing for moments back, hoping it all doesn't hurt them in the end. Once again, a golden opportunity for victory was lost, and this hopeful team was left licking its wounds in a losing locker room. The Bears fell 31-28 to the Dolphins in the final second of overtime after squandering so many chances.

Both teams lost fumbles at the goal line. Both made big plays and costly errors that swung momentum and opportunities at a more decisive outcome. In the end, the Bears were beat by kicker Jason Sanders connecting from 47 yards out to win the game.

"We just need to be able to finish," Bears guard Kyle Long said.

Bernstein: Bears day totally wasted

The Bears arrived in Miami fresh off their bye week and eager to keep building on a promising start. They could've run their winning streak to four games, and it was right there for the taking. Instead, they packed up for Chicago as a 3-2 football team that was drained physically and emotionally, forced to regroup from a disappointing day.

Had former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey connected on a 53-yard field goal in overtime, it would've been the Bears' victory. Had cornerback Kevin Toliver stayed with receiver Kenny Stills on the game-tying two-pointer, the Bears would've still held their late lead. Had Jordan Howard not lost a fumble at the goal line late in the second quarter, the game may not have been so close. 

Of course, the Dolphins' Kenyan Drake was stripped at the goal line by Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks on a play earlier in overtime that would've won the game for Miami earlier. Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler, forced into the start with Ryan Tannehille injury, had two interceptions to Kyle Fuller that squandered Miami drives. The Dolphins defense had its defensive breakdowns too. 

This game was a roller coaster ride.

"The fans got their money's worth," Hicks said. 

A Bears defense that was beginning to garner national attention as one of the game's best took a major step back Sunday, allowing 541 yards to an offense led by the backup ​Osweiler. They failed produce a sack, had far too many missed tackles and were left relying on the offense for bailouts, just weeks after the offense counted on the defense.

Even star outside linebacker Khalil Mack had an off day, and the Bears were left waiting for his game-changing play late.

“That’s not what you want," Mack said. "You want to finish out the game on defense."

Haugh: Where was boldness that Matt Nagy promised when Bears needed it most?

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky took a step back after his historic game two weeks ago, finishing 22-of-31 for 316 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The numbers look fine on paper, but Trubisky missed some key throws -- including a pass to Anthony Miller early in the first quarter that would've gone for a touchdown.

Trubisky's greatest mistake was an interception thrown into double coverage in the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter, a ball that he said never should've been thrown. That would've been the case if Trey Burton wasn't called for offensive pass interference on a questionable call the play before, one that negated a Bears touchdown.

Coach Matt Nagy was in no mood to discuss the penalty on Burton. As for the following play?

"I forced it and I put my team in a bad position, and I shouldn't have thrown that pass," Trubisky said.

There will be second-guessing after a game like this. Nagy understood he would be questioned for a conservative running call on third-and-4 in overtime that set up Parkey from 53 yards out. Tarik Cohen invited the (crap) talk on Twitter after his fourth-quarter fumble set up the Dolphins with a chance to win it. Trubisky volunteered his own mistakes at the postgame press conference podium.

The Bears each took responsibility for their shortcomings that created this collective disappointment. 

"That's the nature of this team," Long said. "That's why we've had such success early on. But the thing we can't do is get tripped up on this loss."

At 3-2, the Bears can enjoy their spot atop the NFC North for at least another week, but holding first place will be a challenge. The Vikings (3-2-1) are looking more like the team they were anticipated to be, and the Packers (2-2-1) still have Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. The Bears got off to a hot start but now have let two victories slip away.

Winning this division or even earning a wild-card spot will be a tough task for the Bears. They can only hope a gut-wrenching loss like this doesn't loom large in the end.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​