Written by Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
Although it’s had it’s fair share of ups and downs this year, the Miami Dolphins defense set the tone against the Chicago Bears this past Sunday according to Head Coach Joe Philbin.
Led by Reshad Jones (7 tackles, 1 interception), Koa Misi (6 tackles) and Cortland Finnegan (4 tackles, 1 forced fumble), the Dolphins defense held the home team to 224 total yards and a 41-percent conversion rate on third down.
“After watching the tape, I thought it was a good effort by the football team,” said Philbin this week. “I thought our defense really set the tone in the first half the way they performed. I thought we did some good things on offense and some good things in special teams, but, obviously, I felt like we should have had more points on the board.”
While the defense did it’s job, the offense scored early, but sputtered at times. The aqua and orange suffered to convert on third down as well, going 4-for-11 for a stagnant 36-percent.
Despite holding a 14-0 lead, the Bears stormed back in the second half with a pair of touchdowns and a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t feel like it had to be that close at the end of the game,” Philbin said. “It was a good team win – I thought everybody’s effort was good, [and the] attitude was good. We had a good road trip. The guys were great on the trip, so now [we have to] make these corrections and move on.”
Through the first half of the season, the coaching staff has enforced corrections on both sides of the ball, usually resulting in better overall play. One correction Philbin and Co. made this week was scoring early and converting when the team reached the red zone. Unlike last week’s game against Green Bay, where the offense turned the ball over on downs in the red zone, the team cashed-in on their first two possessions ending in the Bears endzone.
The guys – their attitude was good. I thought they were hungry on the field,” Philbin said. “They made some plays and, when we had to have some plays, we stepped up and made some plays. Even at the end of the game, when it was a 13-point game, our defense got up there and made some big plays to keep them out of the end zone and prevent an onside kick. God knows only what could happen after that. I thought the resolve of the football team was good.”
The team also held onto their early lead thanks to aggressive play-calling on drives following Chicago’s scores.
“I think the guys responded well,” Philbin stated. “As I said, I think I probably said it yesterday too, I know you guys probably think I’m kidding half the time I use it as a filler, but I thought we really had an excellent week of preparation.”