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What we learned in loss to Dolphins


Here are four things we learned in Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins:

1) The frustration level is very high. The Bears expected to build on their impressive road victory a week earlier in Atlanta by winning their first home game over the Dolphins to improve to 4-3.

Instead, they mustered a measly 54 yards and two first downs while being shut out in the first half for the first time under coach Marc Trestman, and never recovered. After their disappointing 27-14 loss to Miami, reporters could hear frustrated players yelling in the locker room.

"We're 3-4; we need to play better," said receiver Brandon Marshall. "That's unacceptable. That's unacceptable. Unacceptable. We shouldn't have lost today, shouldn't be 3-4. The offense has got to play better. It's as simple as that."

With Sunday's defeat, the Bears (3-4) have now lost three of their last four games since a 2-1 start.

"It was a tough loss," added quarterback Jay Cutler. "Guys wanted to win this one, a home game. After a good win at Atlanta, we wanted to come back home and get a big win here and get some momentum going into New England. Guys are really down on this one, myself included."

2) The struggles continue at home. While they're 3-1 on the road, the Bears fell to 0-3 at Soldier Field for the first time since 2004. In home losses to the Bills, Packers and Dolphins, they're minus-seven in turnover ratio with eight giveaways and one takeaway.

"I'm surprised," said running back Kyle Long. "Road games are the hardest ones to win. Apparently, we switched the way that is this year. We've been struggling at home, and we have to do something to fix it. Every time we're losing games, we're shooting ourselves in the foot."

With the Bears' next game at Soldier Field not until Nov. 16 against the Vikings, this season marks the first time they failed to win a home game before November since 2000.

"We should be playing better at home," said coach Marc Trestman. "We should be taking advantage of our facility and our players to play at a higher level consistently. And that doesn't mean we're not playing hard and with great effort.

"We're just not executing to the degree that we have on the road. We haven't executed relative to turnovers and we haven't executed collectively in all three phases."

3) Jeremiah Ratliff can rush the passer. A stout defensive tackle against the run, the 10-year NFL veteran showed his pass-rush skills in recording a career-high 3.5 sacks. The only Bears defensive tackle with more sacks in a game is Jim Osborne, who had four in a 1983 loss to the Falcons.

Early in the second quarter, Ratliff dropped Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for a seven-yard loss and Caleb Sturgis pushed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right on the next play. Ratliff later teamed with Jared Allen on a sack that knocked Miami out of field goal range.

"[Ratliff] is a heck of a player," said defensive end Jared Allen. "That's one of the reasons I came to play with a guy like that. He's a beast. He's a force."

Before Sunday, Ratliff had never recorded more than two sacks in a game. It was the fourth multi-sack game of Ratliff's career and his first in two seasons with the Bears. He now has five sacks in nine games with the Bears and 32 in his career.

4) A sense of urgency is required. At 3-4, the Bears slipped two games behind the Packers (5-2) and Lions (5-2) in the NFC North. Unlike last season when no team emerged—Green Bay won the division with an 8-7-1 record—both clubs ahead of the Bears appear to be legitimate contenders.

"The second half of the season [is looming] and we've just got to figure this out," said quarterback Jay Cutler. "We've got to play better or we're going to end up 8-8."

After facing the Patriots in New England Sunday, the Bears visit the Packers Nov. 9 in Green Bay. Their two games against the Lions will be on Thanksgiving in Detroit and Dec. 21 in Chicago.

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