Following a big road victory, the Bears (3-3) return home looking for their first win at Soldier Field this season when they face the Miami Dolphins (2-3). Here is a breakdown of the Week 7 opponents:
What's New: After the Dolphins ranked 26th in rushing yards per game in 2013, they went out and signed former-Bronco runner Knowshon Moreno to bolster the attack. Moreno played well in Week 1, but an elbow injury sidelined him for a few weeks and an ACL tear last Sunday forced him to Injured Reserve. Turned out, however, Miami already had the answer to its running problems on the roster. Third-year back Lamar Miller is off to the best start of his career, averaging 5.2 yards per carry through the team's first five games. His performance has helped the Dolphins become a much better all-around offensive team. Miami is third in the NFL this season in rushing yards per attempt thanks to Miller's strong play.
What's Old:** NFL quarterbacks are quite accustomed to seeing Cameron Wake charging at them. The Dolphins' defensive end / outside linebacker has recorded 49.5 sacks since the start of the 2010 season, tied for the third most in the NFL during that span. This former star of the Canadian Football League has shown an ability to handle even the league's toughest offensive linemen, using a combination of speed, power and intelligence. He has 3.5 sacks on the season – including 1.5 last Sunday against Green Bay – and leads Miami's defense, which ranks seventh in the NFL this season.
Last time out: In Week 6 versus Green Bay, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was outmatched by his foe on the other side. Aaron Rodgers finished with 264 yards and three touchdowns – including the game-winner with just three seconds remaining – leading the Packers to a 27-24 victory. Rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the team's second-round draft choice, had his best game as a pro, with six receptions for 75 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown from Tannehill.
Series history: Miami holds a 7-4 edge over the Bears in a series that dates back to 1971, including wins in three of the four meetings at Soldier Field. Chicago won the last game between the teams – 16-0 in South Florida on November 18, 2010. The most memorable game between the teams took place in 1985, when the Dolphins defeated the then-unbeaten Bears 38-24 on "Monday Night Football." It was the only loss the Bears suffered all season on their way to a Super Bowl XX title.
Ex-factor: Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall was acquired from the Dolphins in 2012 in exchange for a pair of third-round draft choice. He played in Miami for two seasons, hauling in 167 receptions in 30 games for the team. Other former-Dolphins on the Chicago roster include tight end Dante Rosario, who was on the Miami roster for two games in 2011, and offensive lineman Michael Ola, who was released by the Dolphins prior to signing with the Bears. Chicago head coach Marc Trestman was the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach in 2004. There are no former-Bears on Miami's roster.
Injury report: Along with Moreno, who the team shut down for the season earlier in the week, the Dolphins have several other key players injured. The most notable of those players is Tannehill (sore ankle), Miller (knee) and left tackle Branden Albert (hyperextended elbow). Albert is the most likely of those three to miss Sunday's game, though it would be a surprise if he wasn't in uniform.
Did you know?: The Bears have long been known for their defense, but the unit in Chicago hasn't shut out an opponent since the last time they faced the Dolphins. The 16-0 win on a Thursday night in
2010 was the last game Chicago blanked their opponent, as the team has allowed points in the 62 games since. In that contest, the Bears held Miami to just 10 first downs, as the Dolphins had no rushing plays go for more than eight yards.
If you think that streak is lengthy, know that the Bears' offense hasn't been shut out by an opponent since Dec. 29, 2002, a 188-game stretch.