Dolphins’ Tannehill looks sharp, Bears rally for 27-10 win
CHICAGO (AP) Ryan Tannehill picked apart a rebuilt defense, throwing for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, and the Miami Dolphins led into the second half before the Chicago Bears rallied for a 27-10 victory in the preseason opener Thursday night.
The Bears used two interceptions by reserves to set up a touchdown and field goal that gave them a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The rally aside, it was not a promising performance by a team coming off a five-win season. The Bears hired general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox while overhauling the defense, but there clearly is work to do.
Miami, 8-8 last season, looked good until Chicago’s reserves made their move.
”I think we’re very confident,” Tannehill said. ”I think that we’re excited about the talent that we have, the guys that we brought in. I feel like we made this a better team and we’re excited about what we have.”
Tannehill, armed with a $96 million contract extension, played like a big-money quarterback, going 6 of 7 for 56 yards. He threw a 2-yard touchdown to Jarvis Landry to finish an 85-yard drive and called it a night.
Prized free-agent signing Ndamukong Suh did little, but a defense the Dolphins believe can dominate sure looked the part.
The first-teamers shut down Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ starters on the first possession. Chicago started moving on its second drive, which ended with a 48-yard field goal by Robbie Gould against a mix of starters and reserves.
Cutler, missing his top two receivers in the injured Alshon Jeffery (calf) and Kevin White (shin), played two possessions and threw for 42 yards, going 4 of 7. He did not commit a turnover after leading the league with 24 last season.
”It’s not always going to go smooth,” Cutler said. ”I mean, it’s with a new group, new coaches, new players out there, so we’re all kind of adjusting to how it will go.”
A defense that ranked among the worst in franchise history the past two years gave no indication a quick turnaround is coming. The Bears, switching from a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme under Fox and new coordinator Vic Fangio, quickly fell behind.
The Dolphins overcame two holding penalties and burned 8:01 on that opening touchdown drive. Tannehill was nearly intercepted deep in Chicago territory by Jared Allen, who reached out and knocked down a pass. But Landry’s TD gave Miami the lead.
Dolphins: Coach Joe Philbin had no update on LBs Chris McCain and Jordan Tripp after they suffered ankle injuries during the game. ”I think we have to wait about 24 hours to see exactly where these guys are,” he said. Miami held out S Louis Delmas (knee), LT Branden Albert (knee) and LB Koa Misi.
Bears: Jeffery suffered a strained calf in practice. Fox said he was in a boot and on crutches for precautionary reasons and is day to day.
BACKUP QUARTERBACK WATCH
Dolphins: Matt Moore played three series after Tannehill and went 4 of 9 for 43 yards. McLeod Bethel-Thompson then went 5 of 12 for 71 yards and two interceptions. Josh Freeman came in early in the fourth quarter and completed just 5 of 16 passes with an interception for Miami.
Bears: Jimmy Clausen was 17 of 27 for 151 yards.
As good as the Dolphins’ starters looked, getting outscored 24-0 in the second half raised some questions about Miami’s depth.
”I don’t want to start panicking now,” defensive end Cameron Wake said. ”It is early. But that is the way this league is. You have to play the full 60 minutes no matter who’s out there.”
Bears veteran LB Sam Acho found himself playing in the fourth quarter when mostly unproven players are on the field, but made an interception that led to a field goal. He also had a sack.
”I’m on a new team, nobody knows me here,” said Acho, a free agent acquisition. ”I’ve got to go out and prove myself. That’s what practice is about, that’s what games are about, that’s what preseason is about.”
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