3 and Out: Justin Fields shines, but Chicago Bears come up short against Miami Dolphins

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver in the Miami Dolphins secondary during their game Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

CHICAGO – Justin Fields ran for 178 yards, an NFL single-game regular-season record for a quarterback, but the Bears fell short in a 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Soldier Field. Here’s what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Fourth-and-ball game: On fourth-and-10 with 1:29 left, Fields found Equanimeous St. Brown open beyond the first-down marker, but the wideout dropped a pass that hit him directly in the hands. This came a play after newly acquired receiver Chase Claypool couldn’t come up with a long pass in which two defenders easily could have been flagged for pass interference.

2. Whew: With 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter and nursing a three-point lead, the Dolphins almost had what effectively would have amounted to a game-clinching third-down conversion on a deep pass to Jaylen Waddle, but cornerback Jaylon Johnson recovered just in time to swat the pass away and force a punt. It at least gave Fields and the offense a chance.

3. Turn on the jets: Fields escaped for a stunning 61-yard touchdown run to cut the Dolphins’ lead to 28-25 with 11:20 left in the third quarter. Fields’ early-season struggles suddenly seem like a distant memory.

Three things that worked

1. QB1: Fields, again, continues to trend upward in his second season. His rushing ability and elusiveness continue to be lethal. And it’s coming together in the passing game with Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet finding more success and Claypool already getting into the mix. Fields finished with 123 passing yards, 178 rushing yards and had four total touchdowns.

2. Get some stops: The Bears’ defense struggled overall Sunday, but it did force a pair of turnover-on-downs on consecutive Miami drives in the second half. On the second one, where the Dolphins had an incomplete pass deep in Bears territory, the Dolphins had to burn two timeouts. It kept the Bears in the game, as they later forced another punt to set up the frantic finish.

3. Arrow pointing up: At the half, the Bears were 6 for 8 converting on third down, 2 for 3 in the red zone and ultimately finished 10 for 16 and 3 for 4, respectively. The first three-and-out came with 4:40 left in the third quarter, and the Bears scored at least 20 points for the fourth time this season and 30 points for the second time.

Three things that didn’t

1. Containing Tua: The Bears’ defense had little answers for containing Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa until the fourth quarter. Tagovailoa maintained a perfect passer rating with 11:20 left in the third quarter. The Dolphins scored touchdowns on four of nine offensive drives. The Bears’ defense, coincidentally, had only two QB hits, no sacks or takeaways.

2. No stopping Cheetah: Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill is obviously one of the league’s most explosive receivers in space, and he had little trouble finding it in the Bears’ secondary. Hill had three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown by halftime to go over 1,000 yards on the season and finished with seven receptions for 143 yards.

3. Punt team: With 8:25 left in the first half, Bears punter Trenton Gill had a punt blocked and returned for a 25-yard touchdown by Dolphins safety Andrew Van Ginkel for a 21-10 Dolphins lead. The Bears’ defense already has trouble keeping opponents off the scoreboard, so a special teams mistake compounded problems.

What’s next?

The Bears face the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field. Kickoff is at noon.

Jacob Bartelson

Jacob Bartelson

Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.