Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dolphins Open Preseason With 27-10 Loss To Bears

Just as he did in 2014 against the Atlanta Falcons, Ryan Tannehill directed the Dolphins offense to a touchdown drive against the Chicago Bears to kick off the 2015 preseason. 

But whereas the Dolphins defense watched Atlanta respond with a touchdown drive last year, this time it was a three-and-out for the Bears on their opening offensive possession. 

The strong start clearly was the highlight in a game the Dolphins ended up losing 27-10 after being outscored 24-0 in the second half. 

Tannehill completed 6 of 7 passes against Chicago, capping the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry on fourth-and-goal. 

“Really good opening possession,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said at halftime. “Guys stepped up and made plays and we overcame a little bit of adversity within the drive.” 

The only other points scored by the Dolphins came courtesy of a 31-yard field goal byCaleb Sturgis late in the first half a few plays after McLeod Bethel-Thompson connected with LaRon Byrd on a 31-yard completion. 

Bethel-Thompson, however, threw two interceptions in the second half as part of a bad offensive run that saw three turnovers in a four-drive stretch — the other turnover was a Mike Gillisleefumble after he was stripped at the end of a 25-yard run. 

The first Chicago interception, by linebacker John Timu, set up the Bears’ first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Ka’Deem Carey on fourth-and-goal that gave them their first lead of the game. A two-point conversion made it 17-10. 

Chicago closed out the scoring with a 54-yard run by Senorise Perry with 3:57 left in the fourth quarter. 

The Dolphins struggled with penalties throughout the game, and that included two holding calls on that impressive opening drive. But they were able to overcome those two setbacks thanks to some big plays, most notably a 19-yard pass from Tannehill to veteran newcomerGreg Jennings that was followed immediately by a 27-yard run by Lamar Miller

The Dolphins got a first-and-goal after an 8-yard completion from Tannehill to tight endDion Sims, and the touchdown came on a quick out to Landry in the corner of the end zone. 

“We’ve got two good kickers that we want to evaluate, but we were on the 2-yard line, so we just felt like it was a good opportunity for us to practice our fourth-down offense,” Philbin said in explaining the decision to go for the touchdown. 

The defense forced the Bears into a three-and-out on their opening drive afterNdamukong Suh enticed a false start on Chicago’s first snap from scrimmage. SafetyReshad Jones also was instrumental on that first drive as he tackled Jacquizz Rodgers after a 1-yard gain on a run and later broke up the third-down pass. 

When the Dolphins returned on offense, Matt Moore took over at quarterback and centerMike Pouncey, tackle Ja’Wuan James and Miller accompanied Tannehill on the sideline. 

All four quarterbacks on the roster saw action against the Bears, with Josh Freemanreplacing Bethel-Thompson in the fourth quarter. Freeman led a drive that reached the Bears 8-yard line after completions of 15 and 19 yards to Cobi Hamilton and another of 21 yards toKevin Cone, but the scoring threat ended with four consecutive incompletions.

GAME NOTES 

• Right guard Billy Turner remained in the game long after the other four starters on the offensive line had been taken out for the night. Turner played most of the first half and was back in the lineup at the start of the second half. 

• The Dolphins opened on offense with two tight ends, Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims, and on defense in the nickel formation with Brent Grimes and Jamar Taylor outside at cornerback and Brice McCain in the slot. 

• Rookie linebacker Zach Vigil led the defense with five tackles and had the Dolphins’ only sack of the game. 

• Linebacker Jordan Tripp left the game in the first half with an injury to his lower right leg. He returned to the sideline in the second half wearing a protective boot and sporting crutches. 

• The Dolphins are now 22-27-1 in preseason openers and have lost their last four. 

• The Dolphins defense didn’t allow a play longer than 17 yards in the first half. 

• Eight Dolphins players were kept out of the game: WR Christion Jones, WR Kenny Stills, WR DeVante Parker, FS Louis Delmas, RB Jay Ajayi, DB Don Jones, LB Koa Misi and T Branden Albert.

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