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 »This Week in History
Miami Dolphins

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill wasn't the hero of Sunday's 27-14 victory over the Bears in Chicago.

Defensive end Cam Wake had a strip/sack and recovered the fumble. Fellow defensive end Derrick Shelby had a sack and a quarterback hit. Safety Louis Delmas had a sack, two passed defended and a quarterback hit. Safety Reshad Jones had an interception.

The point is, Tannehill was near the top of a list of many players who performed well. And that's the winning formula for the Dolphins. Everyone has to contribute.

When the Dolphins get good efforts, not necessarily great efforts, from many players, the way they did against Oakland, you see signs of improvement. And that's what coach Joe Philbin sees from his team.

"If you want to be an optimist, you can look at the last three games and can say we played pretty well against Oakland, we played a very competitive game against what appears to be a very good Green Bay team that is 5-2, and then we played relatively good (Sunday)," Philbin said.

"There are signs we are getting better as a football team."

Tannehill completed his first 14 passes on his way to finishing 25-for-32 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a career-best 123.6 passer rating.

But the defense was at the tip of the spear, limiting the Bears to 224 yards and producing three turnovers. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked three times, twice in the first half, and had just 190 yards passing, no touchdowns and one interception and ended with a miserable 40.3 passer rating.

"I thought our defense really set the tone in the first half the way they performed," Philbin said.

And that pivotal matchup between the Dolphins' short cornerbacks (Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes are both about 5-feet-10) and the Bears' tall wide receivers (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are both about 6-3)?

The Dolphins dominated. Marshall and Jeffery combined for 57 yards receiving and no touchdowns. And this was a matchup many thought Chicago would dominate because of the size difference.

"I ran into them on the plane a little bit on the way home," Philbin said, "and they mentioned the same thing. These guys are professionals. They've been around the league for a little while. They've competed at a high level for a long period of time.

"I think those types of things can give you a little shot in the arm."

The challenge for the Dolphins now is to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Philbin made a point of saying his team practiced well every day during the week and maybe Sunday's victory was a function of the mid-week work. He said they finished a few minutes early every day and didn't have to repeat things. Philbin thinks that's a good sign for the future.

"We're not spending a lot of extra time on the field," he said. "We're not repeating a ton of plays, so we are getting our work done and getting off the field. I think that's a positive that obviously has to continue as we move forward."

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