The Dolphins move to 6-0 in games that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa starts and finishes with their 35-32 road win at the Chicago Bears. Much more coming in the postgame recap.
Dolphins vs. Bears score, takeaways: Tua Tagovailoa outduels Justin Fields in a game of historic performances
Tua accomplished something Dan Marino couldn't, while Fields re-wrote the single-game record books
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields played Sunday's game like it was a Saturday showdown between Alabama and Ohio State, with each putting up numbers one could only imagine in an NCAA Football video game in the Dolphins' 35-32 win in Chicago. Tagovailoa became the first quarterback in Dolphins history with over 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and no interceptions in consecutive games thanks to his 302 passing yards and three scores on 21-of-30 passing.
Fields went toe-to-toe with Tagovailoa and his high-powered pass-catchers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle with a performance never before seen. Fields became the first player in NFL history with three passing touchdowns and over 150 rushing yards in the same game. He has also broken the NFL's regular season, single-game quarterback rushing yards record with 178 on the ground against Miami, 61 of which came on his only rushing score of the day. Fields' rushing touchdown marked the longest run in his career. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick had the previous record with 173 rushing yards in Week 13 of the 2002 season against the Minnesota Vikings.
One of the key differences between Tagovailoa and Fields' afternoon was how Miami's playmakers made some magic on their own since essentially everything the Bears did offensively solely stemmed from Fields' singular brilliance. Hill finished with seven receptions, 143 receiving yards and a three-yard receiving touchdown, running his season total for receiving yards to 1,104, the most in a player's first nine games in the Super Bowl Era. Hill topped Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson's record of 1,083 receiving yards in his first nine games of the 2013 season.
Waddle also showed out for his quarterback, recording 85 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. The Dolphins' dynamic duo have combined for 1,916 receiving yards this season, the most by teammates through nine games in the Super Bowl Era. They broke the previous record of 1,878 receiving yards set by "The Greatest Show on Turf" terrific tandem of Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
The Dolphins scored touchdowns on four of their first five offensive possessions with their fifth score of the day coming on the Bears' first punt, which they blocked for a 25-yard return score. Fields had one last chance to lead the Bears to overtime or a win with Chicago getting possession of the football with 2:50 left to play. He was only able to pick up one first downs before a sack and consecutive incompletions thwarted their last-ditch efforts.
The win improves the Dolphins to 6-3 overall, and 6-0 this season when Tagovailoa starts and finishes a game. Chicago falls to 3-6 overall with losses in five of their last six games after starting the season 2-1.
Why the Dolphins won
The Dolphins could not be stopped from the start, scoring an offensive touchdown on four of their first five drives in addition to the seven points from their special teams blocking a punt for a score. Tagovailoa completed his first nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown across the Dolphins' first two touchdown drives. The Shanahan offense that head coach Mike McDaniel has imported to Miami -- after working alongside current San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in 14 of his 15 NFL seasons as an assistant with five different teams -- has taken his quarterback's game to another level. Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passing yards per attempt (9.2) and passer rating (115.9) through nine weeks. If he can maintain this level through the end of the season, Tagovailoa would be the first Dolphin to lead the NFL in passer rating since Dan Marino in his 1984 MVP season.
Tagovailoa's best was needed after Fields' career-long 61-yard rushing touchdown cut Miami's lead down to three, 28-25. He delivered, marching the Dolphins 75 yards all the way down the field, and he punctuated the drive with his third and final passing touchdown of the day to trade deadline pickup, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. The connection stretched the Miami lead back to double-digits, 35-25. McDaniel continues his reconstruction of the 49ers backfield he coached for five seasons (2017-2021) with both Raheem Mostert and Wilson Jr. once again topping his running back depth chart.
Why the Bears lost
Playing from behind isn't a recipe for success for this Bears team that runs the football on 59.5% of their offense plays, the highest rate in the NFL. Chicago faced 11-point deficits twice, down 21-10 in the second quarter and 28-17 in the third quarter. Fields' legs and arm accounted for 301 of Chicago's 378 total yards with running back David Montgomery finishing as the team's second-leading rusher with 36 yards on 14 carries and wide receiver Darnell Mooney finishing as the team's leading receiver with 43 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. The quarterback had only one more carry, 15, but 142 more rushing yards than Montgomery.
In order for the Bears to finish these types of offensive, seesaw games, Fields needs more from his supporting cast. His final pass of the day hit a diving Equanimeous St. Brown in the chest, but the receiver was unable to hang on to a potentially game-extending catch. Tight end Cole Kmet had a career-high two receiving touchdowns in the red zone, but he didn't add much else to the offense in terms of being able to regularly help move the chains, finishing with five receptions for 41 receiving yards.
Wilson Jr.'s 10-yard catch-and-run for six stood up as the game-winning touchdown, creating a double-digit lead that Fields and the Bears just couldn't quite reach before the end of regulation. The newly acquired running back co-led the Dolphins in carries with him and Mostert each with nine. However, the Dolphins' newest former 49er running back led the team in rushing yards with 51. It was an encouraging debut as McDaniel can continue to re-integrate Wilson Jr. into his gameplans at greater and greater volumes.
Play of the game
The play of the game is Miami's blocked punt that they return for a touchdown since they needed all five touchdowns the team scored today to hold off Fields' historic outing. The special teams score allowed for the Dolphins to relax for the first time on Sunday since it gave them their first double-digit lead of the game, 21-10.
The Dolphins will return home for one more game before their Week 11 bye against the Cleveland Browns. The Bears host one of their NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions in Week 10, a team coming off a 15-9 teardown of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Lions forced the NFL's back-to-back MVP into multiple interceptions in a division game for the first time since Week 17 in the 2013 season.
The Dolphins defense holds, forcing a turnover on a downs after Fields can't connect with Equanimeous St. Brown on fourth down. Justin Fields finishes as the first player in NFL history with more than three rushing touchdowns and 150 rushing yards in a game. Fields' 178 rushing yards are the most in a regular season game by a QB in NFL history.
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson makes a humongous play, knocking the football away from Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle on third and 11 to force a punt. Had Tua Tagovailoa put more air on the pass, the play may have been a catch-and-run touchdown for the lightning fast Waddle. Instead, Miami has to punt, giving Fields the ball back down 35-32 with 2:10 to go and one timeout. Chicago is driving into the wind, important considering Miami missed a field goal into the wind at the end of the first half.
Justin Fields is now the first player in NFL history with three passing touchdowns and 150 rushing yards (153 and counting) in a game, including the playoffs.
The Bears get a huge stop on fourth and one with the Dolphins at the Chicago 14. Miami head coach Mike McDaniel turned down what would have been about a 31-yard field goal to call a play-action roll-out for Tua Tagovailoa, who had an open Durham Smythe, but his pass was too low, falling incomplete. A red-hot Justin Fields takes over with a chance to give Chicago their first lead of the game since going up 3-0 on the game's opening possession.
Fields is the sixth quarterback in the Super Bowl Era with three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and over 100 rushing yards in a game along with Lamar Jackson (twice this season), Kyler Murray (2020), Marcus Mariota (2015), Michael Vick (2010), and Randall Cunningham (1990).
Bears tight end Cole Kmet hauls in his second touchdown of the day, marking his career game with multiple receiving touchdowns. Justin Fields completely froze the defense with play-action as Miami has to respect his ability to tuck and run. 35-32 Dolphins with 11:38 left in the game. Justin Fields second touchdown to Kmet was his third in the game, a new career-high for the second-year quarterback.
The Bears defense gets a huge stop, forcing a huge turnover on downs after the Dolphins drove down to the Chicago 30. Thanks to the wind today, a field goal was out of the question. 35-25 Dolphins with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have 1,916 combined Rec yards (and counting) this season, the most by teammates through 9 games in the Super Bowl Era. They broke the previous record of 1,878 receiving yards set by "The Greatest Show on Turf" terrific tandem of Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. They have 12 catches for 228 receiving yards and two touchdowns combined so far this afternoon.
One of the newest Dolphins and former San Francisco 49er Jeff Wilson Jr., acquired at this year's trade deadline, scores in his first game with Miami and head coach Mike McDaniel, his former offensive coordinator in The Bay Area. His 10-yard receiving touchdown from Tagovailoa puts the Dolphins up 10, 35-25, with 6:02 left in the third quarter. Miami has scored on five of their first six drives with the only scoreless possession coming on a wind-influenced field goal miss of 29 yards by Jason Sanders.
Justin Fields is the second player in Bears history with multiple passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and over 100 rushing yards in a game, joining Hall of Famer Walter Payton, who did so in Week 3 of the 1983 season in a 34-31 overtime loss at the New Orleans Saints.
Justin Fields answers Tagovailoa's touchdown pass with a career-long 61-yard run for six on a play in which it looked like he was going to be sacked on third and six. Fields hits his tight end for the two-point conversion, and now the Dolphins' lead is just three, 28-25, with 11:20 left in the third quarter. The Bears quarterback now has a career-high 114 rushing yards to along with three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. What a game in Chicago.
Well, that was fast...Tagovailoa hits Jaylen Waddle for his second touchdown pass of the day to finish a four-play, 75-yard drive. 28-17 Dolphins with 12:47 left in the third quarter. Not having defensive end Robert Quinn and linebacker Roquan Smith, players the team traded away to the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens respectively, appears to be factoring into the Bears defensive performance today.
The second half is underway, which means Tyreek Hill is off and running. He secures a 22-yard catch to begin Miami's first drive of the second half.
The wind took hold of Jason Sanders' 29-yard field goal and hooks it wide left for the shortest miss of his five-year career. The Dolphins will take a 21-17 lead into the half and have the football to start the second half. Tua Tagovailoa finishes the first half with a line of 162 passing yards and a touchdown on 11-of-13 passing. Not to be outdone, Justin Fields also showed little issue with the opposing defense, totaling 94 passing yards, two passing touchdowns (each over 15 yards) and a game-high 53 rushing yards.
Chicago Bears third-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney hauls in his first touchdown of the season, securing a tough catch in the back left corner of the end zone over Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard. Bears quarterback Justin Fields is 11-of-15 passing for 94 yards and two touchdowns as well as having six carries for 54 rushing yards. The Dolphins lead is trimmed to just four, 21-17, with 1:53 left in the half.
The Dolphins 2021 first round draft pick, linebacker Jaelan Phillips, blows through the Bears' line to block what was the first punt of the game, and his teammate Andrew Van Ginkel scooped up the punt for a 25-yard return touchdown. 21-10 Dolphins with 8:25 left in the first half. It's the first blocked punt return touchdown for the Dolphins since Week 12 of the 2021 season against the Carolina Panthers. Yes, it's early, but this Bears offense isn't built to play from behind as they run the ball a league-high 59.9% of the time. Fields and Co. need an answer quick or this game could get away from them quickly.
Both of these offenses are doing whatever they want early in Chicago. Tyreek Hill hauls in a three-yard touchdown as the Dolphins have opened the game with touchdowns on each of their first two drives. Tua Tagovailoa is perfect so far, completing all nine passes for 111 passing yards and the touchdown toss to Hill. Hill (two receptions for 28 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (2 receptions for 43 yards) have a combined four catches, 71 yards, and a touchdown on Miami's first two possessions. The Bears allowed the Cowboys to score touchdowns on each of their first four possessions a week ago. 14-10 Dolphins lead with 10:39 left in the first half.
Justin Fields marched the Bears up the field with ease on that drive. That was an awesome play-action bootleg to sell the run, leaving Chicago tight end Cole Kmet wide open. Bears accomplished what they set out do with their 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive that melted 7:41 off the clock. 10-7 Bears with the Dolphins taking the field for their second drive next.
Thanks to Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill drawing a defensive pass interference call in the end zone, he moves Miami's offense 32 yards up the field to the one. Running back Raheem Mostert immediately capitalizes on the good field position, powering into the end zone for the game's first touchdown. Miami leads 7-3 with 7:33 left in the first quarter following each team's first possession.
The Bears cap the game's first possession with a 32-yard field goal from Cairo Santos after Justin Fields picks up six on a 3rd & 10 scramble. Fields looked for the newest Bear, wide receiver Chase Claypool multiple times on the drive, completing a one-yard pass to the former Steeler as well as drawing a defensive pass interference call that extended their drive 28 yards and into the red zone. Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins take the field for the first time now.
Justin Fields turning his season around with seven total touchdowns and only two turnover in his past 4 games led the Bears front office to show their faith in his development, trading their own second round pick to the Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool.
Justin Fields This Season
WEEK 1-4 WEEK 5-8
Comp pct 51% 64%
Total YPG 154.6 251.3
Total TD-TO 3-5 7-2
Passer rtg 58.7 97.6
Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have been the primary beneficiaries of Tagovailoa's breakout with Hill, who leading the NFL with 961 receiving yards, and Waddle, fourth in the NFL with 727 receiving yards. They have the most combined receiving yards (1,688) by any duo through Week 8 in NFL history, but they'll be going up against the NFL's fifth-ranked pass defense in Chicago that allows only 188 passing yards per game.
Most Rec Yards by Duo Through Week 8
2022 Tyreek Hill/Jaylen Waddle 1,688
1961 Bill Groman/Charley Hennigan 1,621
1982 Wes Chandler/Kellen Winslow 1,539
Tua Tagovailoa has made a leap this season, leading the NFL in passing yards per attempt and passer rating while throwing deep passes like Tom Brady in the Patriots' perfect regular season of 2007. If Tagovailoa can finish the season leading the league in passer rating, he would be the first Dolphin to do so since Dan Marino in his 1984 MVP season.
Tua Tagovailoa This Season
Comp pct 70% 3rd
Yds/att 9.0 1st
TD-INT 12-3 T-4th
Passer rtg 112.7 << 1st <<
>> Would be 1st Dolphins QB to lead NFL in passer rating since Dan Marino in 1984
Tua Tagovailoa: 53/80 (66%) on throws of 10+ air yards this season
Best by any player through 8 team games since 2007 Tom Brady (min. 50 attempts)
Highest Comp Pct on Throws of 10+ Air Yards
Through 8 Team Games Since 2006
2007 Tom Brady 70% 53/76
2022 Tua Tagovailoa 66% 53/80
2006 Drew Brees 66% 53/80
>> Min. 50 attempts
The Dolphins five wins this season have occurred in every game Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished this season. He'll be going up against a depleted Bears defense after Chicago traded away edge rusher Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles and linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens.
Dolphins This Season
By Tua Tagovailoa Status
PLAYS FULL GAME ALL OTHER GAMES
W-L 5-0 0-3
PPG 26.0 16.0
The Dolphins are the comeback kids this season, coming off a 31-27 road win at the Detroit lions a week ago. The win marked their second road comeback of 14 or more points this season, something they did only once from 2000-2021 Miami is t only team in NFL with multiple comebacks of 14+ points this season (home or road). Tua Tagovailoa is coming off the best game of his career, becoming the first quarterback in Dolphins history with a completion percentage over 80%, more than 350 passing yards, three or more passing touchdowns and no interceptions in a game.
Tua Tagovailoa Week 8 at Lions
Comp pct 81%
Pass yd 382
>> 1st QB in Dolphins history with 80+ comp pct, 350+ pass yards, 3+ pass TD & 0 INT in game
The Bears are the NFL's top rushing offense, averaging 188.4 yards on the ground while running on league-high 59.9% of their plays. That emphasis on the ground has led to historic output: Chicago has run for over 230 yards in three consecutive games, making them the first team to do so since the 1998 49ers. That San Francisco team's rushing attack was led by Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and running back Garrison Hearst. However, the Dolphins are well-equipped with the NFL's sixth-ranked run defense, allowing 100.6 rushing yards per game.
MIA: under 100 rush yards allowed in 3 straight games (their longest streak since 2015)
Bears Rush Offense vs Dolphins Rush Defense
CHI OFFENSE MIA DEFENSE
Week 6 237 78
Week 7 243 95
Week 8 240 82
>> Bears: 1st team with 230+ rush yards in 3 straight games since 1998 49ers
When the Dolphins have the football, it will be a matchup of a team that has totaled the most passing yards in the NFL this season versus a top-five passing defense.
MIA: 2,340 pass yards this season (most in NFL)
CHI: 1,015 pass yards this season (fewest in NFL)
Passing Yards This Season
Pass yards 2,340 1,015
NFL Rank Most Fewest
- Tua Tagovailoa: 112.7 passer rating (highest in NFL)
- Bears opponents: 80.3 passer rating (8th-lowest in NFL)
- Tua Tagovailoa: 12 pass TD, 3 INT this season
- Bears opponents: 7 pass TD, 9 INT this season
Bears Pass Defense
Pass YPG 188.0 5th
TD-INT 7-9 4th
Passer rtg 80.3 8th
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