After the loss to Green Bay, Cortland Finnegan left the field frustrated, feeling responsible after a poor tackle aided the Packers’ game-winning drive. Against the Bears, Finnegan left the field leaving his opponents frustrated.
Finnegan and the Dolphins’ secondary redeemed themselves Sunday, holding Chicago to only 190 yards passing. A ticked-off Brandon Marshall pushed Finnegan in the end zone after the Bears’ last drive, punctuating a defensive effort that gave Chicago fits.
“The [defensive calls] put the onus on us on the outside, and we had to play well,” Finnegan said. “I had to improve from last week. I came in with a new mind-set.
Coach [Kevin] Coyle continues to put us in good positions.”
The performance was the secondary’s most consistent of the season, grounding the NFL’s ninth-ranked passing attack. Finnegan did play well on the outside, lining up against both Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
Brent Grimes also bounced back this week. Against the Packers, Grimes matched up with Jordy Nelson everywhere he went, and couldn’t contain him. On Sunday, it seemed the ball never went to Grimes’ side of the field.
Grimes and Finnegan were a bit of a question mark headed into Sunday’s contest, with a large height disadvantage against Marshall and Jeffrey. But Grimes shrugged off that issue after the game.
“It’s football. Me and Cort, we’re obviously never going to be the biggest people on the field,” Grimes said. “But I believe that was a little overblown. They’re good players, they can make plays, but we’re good players, too, and we can make plays.
“[Sunday], we did some good things, and won the game.”
The play of Grimes, Finnegan and the secondary went a long way in stalling the Bears’ offense. Their shutdown of the Bears’ top receivers forced quarterback Jay Cutler into difficult positions, according to coach Joe Philbin.
“It’s just less options for the quarterback as he goes through his progressions,” Philbin said. “There are less guys getting out, there are less opportunities for him to get rid of the football.”
While the secondary’s consistency was most important, their play didn’t lack a highlight. Safety Reshad Jones, playing in his second game back from suspension, provided the excitement with a second quarter interception. Off an overthrow from Cutler, Jones picked the ball off and ran it back 50 yards, only to fumble before Koa Misi recovered for Miami.
The play was a reminder of Jones’ playmaking ability, although his run-back skills left a little to be desired.
“Aw man, I was gassed,” Jones said. “I was tired. But I got my breath back, went out and continued to play the game.”
If anyone was unhappy after the game, it was second-year corner Jamar Taylor.
Taylor played more often in the second half, and he was clearly targeted by Cutler.
On the Bears’ second touchdown drive, Taylor was flagged for a questionable pass interference penalty that set up Chicago on the 5-yard line.
“All I know was that the receiver was trying to grab me and pull me, I was trying to hold my ground,” Taylor said. “The ref called it, but I just had to keep playing.”
Overall, the entire secondary’s effort was more than capable. Chicago’s big-play ability was never a factor, and none of the Bears’ stars could get going.
As Grimes described it, “it was a winning performance.”