Dolphins coach Adam Gase, the 2015 Bears offensive coordinator who was instrumental in cultivating Jay Cutler’s best season, did not care to distinguish between the two defeats.
“Every loss hurts, Gase said. “When you put 110 hours in a week and get kicked in the nuts like that, it pisses you off. This isn’t like a 9-to-5 (job). We have a lot of people putting a lot of work into this stuff.”
Despite being outscored 117-99, the Dolphins are still clinging to a piece of the lead in the less-than-impressive AFC East, tied with the Patriots at 3-2.
The Bears, who have won three straight under new head coach Matt Nagy, are in a much better mood after a bye in which players had the week off and returned refreshed and enjoying their 3-1 record and spot atop the NFC North.
This trip to South Florida is the first of four straight games vs. AFC East teams for the Bears, who host the Patriots and Jets in back-to-back games before traveling to Buffalo to face the Bills.
Bears rushing offense vs. Dolphins run defense
RB Jordan Howard (11 carries, 25 yards) took a backseat to change-of-pace guy Tarik Cohen (13 carries, 53 yards) in the Week Four victory, but Nagy shot down implications that the Bears were moving away from Howard, who has been the team’s workhorse for the previous two seasons. “Jordan Howard is a big part of this offense, and I think that for us to continue to keep trying to grow, everybody in this offense has a role,” Nagy said. “This is not going to be an offense where it’s just one person, and it goes through one person.” The Bears’ coach had addressed the situation with Howard, and he reaffirmed that the big back has a prominent role. “Jordan understands what we’re trying to do as a team,” Nagy said. “And he also understands, and we’ve talked, that he has a major part of this offense. He has a big-time role.” Howard is off to a slow start, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but Cohen (5.1-yard average) has helped pick up the slack.
The Dolphins’ run defense is middle of the pack but has been plagued by turmoil, most notably the release of 2015 second-round pick DT Jordan Phillips a week ago following his sideline tirade after being removed from a game. While the Fins allowed a respectable 102 yards in last week’s loss to the Bengals, they were gouged for 175 yards on the ground by the Patriots’ mediocre run game in Week Four.