BY MADDIE TOPLIFF
Welcome. My name is Maddie Topliff. I’m a sophomore Public Relations major at Drake University, and 19 years ago, I was born into a Chicago Bears family.
My dad and I have been watching the Bears together ever since I can remember, and we are both very passionate fans. I can still recall how I felt when retired special teams player Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff of the Bears’ last Super Bowl performance. I also left class to cry when I heard wide receiver Brandon Marshall got traded and when both Matt Forte and Devin Hester retired as Chicago Bears. I have also worn head-to-toe Bears gear for the past handful of Super Bowls in protest of the actual matchups. To say I’m excited about this column is an understatement.
So, make sure to look for me here to update you on everything related to the Monsters of the Midway the rest of the semester. Here’s your first look at what to expect.
The Bears defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 30 in a 48-10 blowout, securing their spot as the current number one-ranked defense in the National Football League. Last week was the Bears’ bye-week, which left their pre-game record sitting at 3-1, first in their division–the NFC North . The one loss came by way of Green Bay Packers–of course–in week one.
The last time the Bears played the Dolphins was in October of 2014, when the Bears lost 14-27 at home in Chicago. Although this pairing surfaces only every four years, the Bears went into this week’s game familiar with the Dolphins’ playmaker: Brock Osweiler.
Brock Osweiler is the second-string QB of the Dolphins, usually anyway. However, regular starter Ryan Tannehill was listed as inactive Sunday with a throwing shoulder injury. Osweiler was viewed as doomed by many, but he has beaten the Bears twice, once in 2015 as a Denver Bronco and once in 2016 as a Houston Texan, scoring two touchdowns each time. However, the Bears’ pick up of defensive standout of Khalil Mack sacked Osweiler not one, two, three or four, but five separate times in the two gentlemens’ 2015 Broncos-Raiders meeting.
Personally, the Dolphins don’t really do it for me, so I wasn’t that worried. They’re one of those non-divisional, underwhelming teams who I tell myself shouldn’t be a problem. See: the Baltimore Ravens or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Oct. 14 was a steamy Sunday in Miami, the weather both hot and humid. The Bears showcased their orange-and-white throwback uniforms and had a good fan showing, or at least that’s what the announcers said. Radio, am I right? The national anthem was pitchy, but she got the job done. The Bears won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
Both of the first drives were and resulted in punts. It was exciting when the Bears forced the Dolphins to go three-and-out on the opening set, but then the Bears turned around to do the exact same thing. Yikes. Terrible Bears field position made for a terrible punt, putting the Dolphins on their own 46-yard line. Long story short, the Dolphins scored a TD during that drive, which ended up being the only points earned in the first half by either team.
During the second quarter, the Bears entered the red zone exactly once, but to no avail. The team was literally within one yard of the goal line, but Bears running back Jordan Howard fumbled it, and the play resulted in a Dolphins recovery.
It’s one of those plays where the Bears fan in me sighs extremely obnoxiously because of course Chicago would fumble on the 1-yard line. Who else? Yet, Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller made me feel better when he intercepted Osweiler once both in the second and third quarter.
The second half of the game was incredibly frustrating. Mitchell Trubisky was putting in the work, but the same can’t be said for his 11-man defense. For every touchdown the Bears put in, the Dolphins managed to glide into the end zone just as many times in the fourth quarter.
Once the game hit overtime (28-28), my heart hit the floor. The Bears have never in my recent memory been consistent in overtime victories, so I knew it was over.
The Dolphins weren’t able to score on their opening drive, making it easy for the Bears to put it away. The Bears’ Cody Parkey attempted a 53-yard field goal to secure the win with less than two minutes left, but he missed. Parky is now 9-for-10 on the season in FGs.
The Dolphins didn’t make the same mistake with their second OT possession and put away a 47-yard FG for the home victory.
A loss is definitely not how I wanted to start my column off, but I am not a fair weather fan. We take what we can get, and this week, we got nothing. This weekend, Tom Brady–perhaps the player I like the least–will bring his team to Chicago’s Soldier Field, where the Bears will host. I pray for two things. Number one: I pray that the Bears remember to play defense because I am not in the mood for Brady to make fools of us at home. Granted, Khalil Mack had an injury scare and probably played gingerly on purpose, but nobody stepped up. Number two: I pray that the Packers lose for eternity.
Maddie’s Monster of the Game (MoG): Cornerback Kyle Fuller picked off QB Brock Osweiler twice in addition to six solo tackles, third in tackles overall.