Bears vs. Dolphins — What to Watch 4

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson figures to have primary responsibility of containing Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who leads the NFL with 69 receptions and 961 receiving yards (13.9 average), with two touchdowns this season.

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Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) had 12 receptions for 188 yards against the Lions last week.

Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) had 12 receptions for 188 yards against the Lions last week.

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Key matchup

Some skeptics thought wide receiver Tyreek Hill would wither after leaving Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense, but he has been better than ever with the Dolphins. In eight games, Hill has 69 receptions for 961 yards (13.9 average) and two touchdowns. That’s 120.1 yards per game, well ahead of his high-water mark with the Chiefs — 92.4 yards per game in 2018.

Hill already has had four games of 160 yards or more, including 12 receptions for 188 yards in a 31-27 victory over the Lions last week.

It’ll be a supreme challenge for Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson — if the Bears decide to have Johnston shadow Hill. The last time they faced a receiver of Hill’s caliber, they mixed it up against the Vikings Justin Jefferson, and it was a huge bust. Jefferson had 12 receptions for 154 yards, including 10 catches for 138 yards in the first half as the Bears fell behind 21-10.

Hill’s raw speed makes it a particularly daunting task.

“It’s not something you can prepare for,” Johnson said. “Everybody knows he’s fast until you line up, and then it’s a totally different speed. I’ve got to play my game, play my style of ball and do my best to contain him.”

Trending

The defense has struggled to contain the best quarterbacks it has faced this season — the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (131.1 rating), the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins (94.7) and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (114.5). Now it faces the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, who leads the NFL with a 112.7 passer rating (279.7 yards per game, 12 touchdowns, three interceptions).

The Dolphins are 5-0 this season in games Tagovailoa has finished.

Player to watch

Wide receiver Chase Claypool is expected to make his Bears debut after being acquired in a trade with the Steelers.

“The level of what that looks like, we’re not quite sure,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said.

It might not be more than a token appearance, but all it takes is one play to excite the home crowd. At his best, the 6-4, 238-pound Claypool gives Justin Fields a big target who can win jump balls.

Claypool had 32 receptions for 311 yards and one touchdown for the Steelers, including five receptions for 41 yards against the Dolphins two weeks ago at Hard Rock Stadium.

X-factor

Whether it was a coincidence, the Bears had their worst defensive performance of the season in a 49-29 loss to the Cowboys — four days after captain Robert Quinn was traded to the Eagles. Now they face another challenge, emotionally and physically, against the Dolphins five days after an even bigger hit — the trade of linebacker Roquan Smith to the Ravens. On the flip side, the Dolphins figure to be energized by the addition of defensive end Bradley Chubb from the Broncos.

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