Tank Win III: Dolphins 35, Bears 32

Yours truly appreciates a slick tweet.

So when I saw this from the NFL’s official account after the Dolphins beat the Bears 35-32, the only thing I could do is tip my cap:

A passively worded tweet because you know the Dolphins stole one is clever. You’ll get credit for that (and that’s it).

Let’s discuss another Bears tank win below by answering some simple questions.

Did Justin Fields Show Progress in His Development?

Uh, yeah, I’d say so.

And all I need is three tweets to prove it:

I love CBS Sports color analyst Trent Green dissecting the touchdown afterward, noting how Fields was scanning the field looking to pass, but followed his instincts to make a big play. Let me be clear. Green, a former NFL quarterback, was highlighting how Fields was going through his progressions and *WANTED* to throw before ultimately deciding that running was the right decision.

Good process, good results. We love to see it.

The passing numbers were decidedly mid. A 4.4 yards per average isn’t going to catch anyone’s eye. And going 17-for-28 (60.7%) is a dip from last week’s performance. But three touchdown passes, no interceptions, and a 106.7 passer rating more than make up for the lack of aerial assault.

OK, But Did the Bears Win?

No, and I’m a bit upset about it. So thanks for asking.

I know better than to think one call wrecked the Bears’ chance at stealing a win. But this absolutely, positively needs to be called defensive pass interference every time. And that it wasn’t is a crying shame:

https://twitter.com/TheSASBurner/status/1589363282548121600?s=20&t=KCRXo0lGUH63wQFynlyJDg

That non-call aided in keeping us from seeing if Fields could claw his way to an upset come-from-behind victory with a game-winning final drive. And that’s the big shame of it all. When given an opportunity to take another leap in his development, all it took was one official missing a call to close up that potential path. I do my best to give officials some leeway because I know it’s a tough gig. And they’re going to miss calls. But that one? You just can’t miss it. Someone is going to lose a playoff assignment for that one.

Can We Call It a Tank Win?

Yes, we can. And yes, we will.

Four quick takeaways from Sunday’s Bears action:

  • The Bears offensive line went nearly 56 minutes without giving up a sack. Overall, ESPN had Chicago’s offensive line down for giving up just two sacks and two quarterback hits. Between the play-calling, Fields doing things only Fields can do, and the efforts by the guys in the trenches, there was a lot to like about this performance. And let’s not minimize what the big dudes where doing at the line of scrimmage. They’ve taken a lot of guff this year. In many cases, rightfully so. But they deserve daps for today’s showing.
  • If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Notre Dame’s upset win of Clemson spurred Cole Kmet’s two touchdown game. However, Kmet has been rolling for the last few weeks. After going more than 600 days between touchdown catches, Kmet has three in the last two weeks. Since starting the year without a catch in his first two games, Kmet has 24 targets, 19 receptions, 200 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. These are modest numbers that are coinciding with a developing Bears offense. The play calling has been better, as has Fields’ decision-making and performance. So it should come as no surprise that Kmet — who like Darnell Mooney spent a bunch of time working with Fields this offseason — is a beneficiary of these gains.
  • On the one hand, the Bears miss Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith as defensive stalwarts. But on the other hand, this is opening things up for others to get an extended look. Linebacker Jack Sanborn came up with seven solo tackles from the linebacker spot. But I’d like to see more from the defenders in the front seven. No sacks and no tackles-for-loss isn’t going to cut it. And I don’t think it is a good thing when your leading tacklers are mostly cornerbacks and safeties. Too much stuff happening down the field.
  • This week’s Trank Watch Standings update sees the Bears go from 12th to 7th after that loss. Dreamy:
  • Em-BEAR-Assment Meter

    Medium.

    Between the defense coughing up yards and points and how that game ended, I’m pretty miffed. But the defense turned it around for most of the second half. Multiple fourth down stops and forced punts gave the Bears a puncher’s chance at the end.

    And yet, that ranking his as high as it is because one simply cannot drop that pass in this moment:

    For Fields to escape out to the right and deliver that throw … only to see it go off Equanimeous St. Brown’s hands was a gut punch.

    Rookie Velus Jones Jr. didn’t play this week after dropping one against the Cowboys in Week 8. And even though St. Brown was helpful on Cole Kmet’s first touchdown with a key block, I wonder if this drop will put him on thin ice for next week.

    What’s Next?

    Another home date, this time against the Detroit Lions. Coming into today’s game, the Lions defense had given up the most yards, points, first downs and rushing yards. They also gave up the third most rushing yards, sixth most passing yards, ninth most passing touchdowns. This Bears offense is averaging 31.3 points per game since the mini-bye. And I can’t wait to see it against the Lions next week.

    written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

    more bears news

    Caleb Williams Offers Update Regarding Rookie Contract Status

    Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Caleb Williams has yet to sign his rookie contract. And even though Williams provided an update on the situation during his Caleb Cares event on Saturday, there wasn't much of substance. "I'm not handling that," Williams...

    Why Are Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze Still Unsigned?

    The Chicago Bears' first public training camp practice is three weeks from today. And yet, the team's top two draft picks have yet to sign their rookie contracts. Quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze remain unsigned as of...

    New Food Options Coming to Soldier Field, An Odd Quote About Tight End Usage, R.I.P. Jacoby Jones, and Other Bears Bullets

    The College Football '25 video game is coming out this week. So if you're curious as to why the group chat isn't as responsive as usual, it'll probably be because folks are getting in the game. There are 56 days...

    Bears Countdown Continues, Kreutz, Sanborn, Jaylon, Caleb, and Other Bears Bullets

    A Saturday brunch edition of BN Bears Bullets follows this sentence, which I am using as an intro because I don't have much else to say here at this time. The Chicago Bears will host their first open training camp...

    I Have A Good Feeling About Teven Jenkins

    This is a big year for Chicago Bears offensive lineman Teven Jenkins. So, as you might expect, the 26-year-old left guard is going to extra lengths to prepare for the 2024 NFL season. FOX Sports NFL reporter Carmen Vitali shares...

    This is Caleb Williams’ Favorite Play

    My second favorite thing about HBO's offseason version of "Hard Knocks" featuring the New York Giants has been how often the Chicago Bears have been tangentially connected. We are two episodes into the off-shoot that gives us a behind-the-scenes look...

    Around the NFL: Dak Prescott on Ankle Boot and Contract Talks: Nothing to See, Adams to Tennessee, Goodell on CBS Deal, More

    NFL NOTES — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has stated that there is "absolutely nothing" wrong with his right ankle despite being seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot recently. Dak Prescott on Ankle Boot and Contract Talks:...

    Darnell Has the Wright Stuff For a Breakout (And Other Bears Bullets)

    My apologies for a tardy set of BN Bears Bullets. Every once in a while I wake up with a pounding headache and it really throws my day off. Today is one of those days, so bear with me. Please?...

    Defensive Coaching Legend Monte Kiffin is Dead at 84

    Monte Kiffin, one of the greatest defensive minds in football history, has passed away at age 84. https://twitter.com/OleMissFB/status/1811530014678212689 Kiffin's coaching career began in 1966 as a Nebraska graduate assistant and included stops throughout college and professional football before coming to...

    How Devin Hester and a Lil’ Wayne Song Fueled Rome Odunze’s Bears Fandom

    The second installment of the Chicago Bears' "Meet the Rookies" YouTube series stars Rome Odunze. This wide-ranging episode includes all stories from former coaches, anecdotes from a family with a proud Nigerian heritage, and tales from Rome himself. Once again,...

    Latest News

    Teichmann vs. Ristic Prediction at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open – Monday, July 15

    On Monday, Mia Ristic (No. 301 in the world) meets Jil Teichmann (No. 211) in the Round of 32 at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open.In this matchup, Teichmann is favored (-400) against Ristic (+280) .32nd Palermo Ladies Open InfoTournament: The...

    Kawa vs. Muchova Prediction at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open – Monday, July 15

    In the Round of 32 at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open on Monday, Katarzyna Kawa (ranked No. 192) takes on Karolina Muchova (No. 35).Muchova is getting -667 odds to claim a win against Kawa (+400).32nd Palermo Ladies Open InfoTournament: The...

    Noha Akugue vs. Barthel Prediction at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open – Monday, July 15

    In the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open Round of 32 on Monday, we have a matchup featuring No. 202-ranked Mona Barthel versus No. 197 Noma Noha Akugue.Barthel is getting -159 odds to defeat Noha Akugue (+125).32nd Palermo Ladies Open InfoTournament: The...

    MATAS BUZELIS SUMMER LEAGUE POSTER DUNK ALERT!

    It was only a matter of time before Matas Buzelis rocked the rim. The 19-year-old was constantly hunting the highlight jam during his time with the G-League Ignite. An explosive six-foot-nine leaper, it sure felt like he would have at...

    Matas Buzelis Gave Us More Reasons to be Excited with Big Game 2 at Summer League

    Summer League basketball isn't supposed to be pretty, and the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors reminded us of that on Sunday night. The second game of the Las Vegas circuit for Chicago came with plenty of clanked shots. The...

    The Chicago Cubs Draft Cole Mathis in the Second Round

    When I saw that the Chicago Cubs had drafted College of Charleston first/third baseman Cole Mathis in the second round tonight (54th overall), I knew immediately he must've played in the Cape Cod summer league and hit really well with...

    Swiss Open Gstaad Schedule Tuesday, July 16: Matchups & TV/Live Stream Info

    There are six matches at the Swiss Open Gstaad on July 16, highlighted by No. 110-ranked Pedro Cachin versus No. 82 Matteo Berrettini. Looking to keep up with the action? The Tennis Channel provides live coverage and highlights of all...

    Heide vs. Napolitano Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Tuesday, July 16

    In the Round of 32 at the Swiss Open Gstaad on Tuesday, Gustavo Heide (ranked No. 178) takes on Stefano Napolitano (No. 125).Heide is getting -115 odds to claim a win against Napolitano (-110).Swiss Open Gstaad InfoTournament: The Swiss Open...

    Halys vs. Gasquet Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Tuesday, July 16

    Richard Gasquet (No. 132) will take on Quentin Halys (No. 192) in the Round of 32 at the Swiss Open Gstaad on Tuesday, July 16.Against the underdog Halys (+100), Gasquet is the favorite (-125) to advance.Swiss Open Gstaad InfoTournament: The...

    Hall of Fame Open Schedule Tuesday, July 16: Matchups & TV/Live Stream Info

    There are three matches at the Hall of Fame Open on July 16, highlighted by No. 99-ranked Mackenzie McDonald versus No. 74 Rinky Hijikata. Looking to keep up with the action? The Tennis Channel provides live coverage and highlights of...

    more bears news