Dolphins Watch

November 17, 2010 9:27 PM

Dolphins, Bears tangle Thursday night

CUTLER.bmpWhenever the Bears face the Dolphins in a nationally televised night game, South Floridians like to flash back to 1985, when the 12-0 Bears rolled into Miami and were crushed by the 8-4 Dolphins, 38-24, to end Chicago's run at a perfect season.

Less talked about is Miami going into Chicago to face a 6-0 Bears team in 2006, and likewise handing them their first loss. Or when the Dolphins marched into Soldier Field to face the remnants of the 46 defense in 1991, and Dan Marino led them to a 16-13 overtime win.

So, even though these teams play in different conferences, and have not played often, they have produced some memorable games when they have met.

Now, with a Thursday night matchup, both teams meet in what is undoubtedly a big game for both.

The Bears are 6-3, and tied with Green Bay atop the rough-and-tumble NFC North. The Dolphins are coming off a 29-17 win over Tennessee in which they lost their starting and second-string quarterbacks, and little-known Tyler Thigpen had to save the game.

The Bears took care of Minnesota last week, behind a sure performance from Jay Cutler, who completed 22-of-35 passes for 237 yards and three TDs in a 27-13 win.

The Bears defense, which has quietly been one of the better units this season, intercepted Brett Favre three times, and held All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to 51 yards on 17 carries.

Overall, Chicago is fourth in total defense, and second against the run.

Devin Hester also had a big game against the Vikings, with a 68-yard kickoff return, a 42-yard punt return, and a 19-yard TD catch.

The Dolphins have been unable to run the ball with any sustained success this season, a trend that continued with just 88 rushing yards against Tennessee last week.

With Chicago's strong defense, I don't see Miami able to do much on the ground.

Add to it the injuries to center Joe Berger and safety Chris Clemons, who will both be out, as well as Jake Long and several other players dealing with various bumps and bruises, and it doesn't look good for Thursday.

Thigpen had a strong relief effort last week, but he has been inconsistent during the course of his career -- first in Kansas City, and when he relieved an injured Chad Henne in his only game action in 2009.

The Bears will force Thigpen to throw early and often, which will lead to mistakes, mistakes the opportunistic Bears defense will capitalize on.

Bears 23, Dolphins 14.

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