Justin Fields throws for 2 TDs, but Chicago Bears trail Miami Dolphins 21-17 at halftime – The Denver Post


After a 20-point loss and a couple of big moves at the trade deadline, the 3-5 Chicago Bears on Sunday return to Soldier Field to take on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the 5-3 Miami Dolphins.

Here’s what you need to know before kickoff (noon, CBS).

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Halftime: Dolphins lead Bears 21-17

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders missed a 29-yard field-goal attempt wide left in the final seconds of the first half, but Miami leads the Bears 21-17 at halftime.

The Bears offense operated smoothly in the first half, but the Dolphins answered every single time — except for that miss.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 11 of 15 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 53 yards on seven carries. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 11 of 13 passes for 162 yards — 12.5 yards per attempt — and a touchdown.

After Fields threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darnell Mooney to cut the Dolphins lead to 21-17 with two minutes to play, the Dolphins marched to the Bears’ 11-yard line before the defense came up with the stop.

The difference for the Dolphins was a special teams touchdown on the only attempted punt of the half.

Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips blocked Trenton Gill’s punt and Andrew Van Ginkel scooped up the football and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown for a 21-10 lead.

The Bears briefly had a 10-7 lead. With Phillips chasing him, Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet with an 18-yard touchdown pass. Kmet cruised into the end zone with help from a block from Equanimeous St. Brown.

But the Dolphins easily answered again with Tagovailoa’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to go up 14-10. Tagovailoa hit Hill with a 25-yard pass and Jaylen Waddle with a 26-yard pass on the drive. The Dolphins got to the 3-yard line after Bears defensive end Dominique Robinson was called for roughing the passer following Tagovailoa’s 4-yard pass to Jeff Wilson Jr.

Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 32-yard field goal on the opening drive for a 3-0 lead.

Wide receiver Chase Claypool had his first catch with the Bears — a 1-yarder — and also drew a 28-yard pass interference penalty on Dolphins cornerback Keion Crossen. That got the Bears to the 20-yard line, but David Montgomery was stopped for no gain, Fields threw incomplete in the end zone at Mooney and Fields scrambled for 6 yards before the Bears opted to kick.

The Dolphins responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by Raheem Mostert’s 1-yard scoring run. The drive included Tagovailoa’s 18-yard pass to Trent Sherfield on third-and-2 and a 32-yard pass interference penalty on Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor in the end zone against Hill.

Vildor injured his ankle on the play, and the Bears classified him as questionable to return.

Inactives announced

Bears wide receiver/returner Velus Jones Jr. is inactive for Sunday’s game.

Jones, the Bears’ third-round pick this spring, was not on the injury report all week. He played 15 snaps on offense and had eight special-teams plays against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8.

The Bears acquired wide receiver Chase Claypool this week, and Claypool is expected to get limited snaps on offense. The Bears also have wide receivers Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, N’Keal Harry and Dante Pettis — who doubles as a returner — active.

Pettis replaced Jones on punt returns after Jones muffed two punts, but Jones returned one kickoff against the Cowboys.

Also inactive for the Bears are offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Ja’Tyre Carter, tight end Jake Tonges and cornerback Lamar Jackson.

For the Dolphins, wide receivers River Cracraft and Erik Ezukanma, running back Myles Gaskin, quarterback Skylar Thompson and offensive lineman Austin Jackson are inactive.

Concussion discussion

Former Bears defensive end Robert Quinn couldn’t wrap his head around it.

Like the national TV audience on Sept. 29, he saw the arresting images of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lying motionless near the 50-yard line with his hands frozen above him in a manner consistent with a brain injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

And Quinn saw the scene from the week before, when Tagovailoa hit the ground hard on a hit from a Buffalo Bills defender, shook his head slightly, ran several steps and then stumbled to the ground. Tagovailoa returned to that game after the stumble was chalked up to a back injury and then played against the Bengals four days later.

“I don’t see how people didn’t stop it instantly (against the Bills). He’s walking and he just literally collapsed,” Quinn said. “I’m not in the medical field, but I do know when something doesn’t look right. … I hope Tua approaches the situation and handles the situation as it should be handled. I hope he gets everything he deserves and more. To be put in that situation like that, especially dealing with your brain, that’s the one thing you can’t replace.”

Read the full story here.

Eye on the future

The NFL, once built on cliches, platitudes and coach-speak, needs to modernize its morsels of motto.

Winning isn’t everything, it’s having a high draft pick. The sport of Vince Lombardi has become the haven of Stephen Ross, and the Bears are clearly in one of those organizational overhauls under GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.

Here are three ideas for the Bears to implement with the focus on player development and growth as Poles, Eberflus and their staffs evaluate what pieces will fit for next season.

Read the full story here.

Fallout from the Roquan Smith trade

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson was leaving Halas Hall on Monday afternoon when he caught wind of the staggering news. Linebacker and team captain Roquan Smith had been traded to the Baltimore Ravens. Johnson froze.

For the second consecutive week the Bears had dealt away a respected team leader, playmaker and well-liked teammate. Smith’s exit, five days after defensive end Robert Quinn was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, felt like an uppercut to the jaw after a Week 7 punch to the gut.

“You can be good one day and the next day it can be harder on you,” Johnson said. “There’s really no clear-cut way to process the loss.”

By Wednesday morning, the emotional dip for Bears players was undeniable. Safety Eddie Jackson, who was promoted to take Quinn’s captain role last weekend, came to the team’s walk-through and was taken aback by the silence.

“You could hear a pin drop,” he said.

Read the full story here.



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