I am sure that there are Bear’s fans of all ages reading this article right now and I am sure that these Bears fans will have a special hatred for the Dolphins. Why? This isn’t a strong rivalry like the Bears versus the Packers or the Bears versus the Vikings so why make such a big deal about games played between these two teams?
In both the 1985 and 2006 NFL seasons, the Dolphins have been the team to stop the Bears from continuing forward with an undefeated season. It’s ironic because the Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to go undefeated (their 1972 season) and they managed to be the team to knock the Bears twice.
So what happened in those two games that forced the Bears to lose and miss the chance to go undefeated? Why was it the Dolphins who knocked the Bears out? Let’s find out by looking at those two games and those four teams as we get ready for the Bears versus the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football this week.
The famed Monday Night game took place on December 2, 1985 in Miami. The Bears came into this game undefeated and had been sporting the famed “46” defense, the brainchild of former Bear’s defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. The defense had been giving teams big problems all season long and no one could seem to stop them. That is until they came to Miami.
The Bears came into this game shutting down opponents with that defense and playing some of the best football in NFL history. Could Miami figure out how to beat this defense and send the Bears back to Chicago with their first loss of the season?
There was one other factor built into this game for the Dolphins. In attendance at this game were several members of that 1972 Dolphins team and they didn’t want to see their “grand” lone achievement all of a sudden be accomplished by someone else. Although it may not have been spoken so much on the sidelines, you can tell that those 1972 Dolphins wanted those 1985 Dolphins to stop the streak.
The Dolphins ended up beating the Bears 38-24 in a game that can best be described as a shootout. The Bears defense, so good in every other game that season, could not solve the Dolphin’s offense in this game. What did Miami do that was so special to beat the Bear’s tough defense?
First, they had an offensive line that could protect quarterback Dan Marino very well. They hadn’t allowed him to be sacked much that season and since the Bear’s 46 defense was built on pressure, if they could stop the pressure they could stop the Bears defense. Quarterbacks that were under pressure (by the Bears defense) would either get sacked or would throw the ball into a bad area where it could be intercepted or fall incomplete. With pass protection, this wouldn’t happen as much.
Another thing that helped Miami is the way that the Bears rushed the passer. Almost each time they rushed, they would bring eight men and even though most quarterbacks would have thrown the ball in a hurry, Marino could hold onto the ball longer.
The Dolphins used a mix of short passes to force the Bears to commit a blitzing safety to cover receivers running those short routes. This would take out the extra blitzing player in the 46 defense.
So both teams battled hard during this game and in the end, the Dolphins triumphed and took the Bears down a notch. As we know, Chicago went on to play in and win the Super Bowl and left the Dolphins as the only team to beat them in 1985.
These two teams played each other in 2006 when the Bears were driving to the Super Bowl once again. Chicago came into the game undefeated (their record was 7-0 at the time) and didn’t expect to have too much of a hard time against the Dolphins.
The Bears were “ambushed” so to speak in this game. The Dolphins ran the ball all over the Bears vaunted defense (to the tune of almost 160 yards) and ended up turning the ball over allowing the Dolphin’s offense to score.
The Dolphins beat the Bears 31-13 in that game.
That was the last time the Dolphins played the Bears.