Matt Nagy defends setting up failed 53-yard FG try in wild loss to Dolphins
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Bears coach Matt Nagy tried to finish off the strangest of games with the most normal of plays. Facing third-and-four from the Dolphins’ 35-yard line in overtime, the Bears’ coach called for a Jordan Howard running play.
The running back was stuffed for no gain, but the Bears were comfortable with Cody Parkey trying a 53-yard field goal for the win.
He pushed the kick right.
Two minutes later, Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders made a 47-yarder as overtime expired to beat the Bears 31-28 on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Did Nagy think of throwing? Bleary-eyed and far more upset than he was after the season-opening loss to the Packers, Nagy said he wasn’t going to get into second-guessing.
“We could do that all day long,” he said. “You go ahead, you throw it and then you’re up here asking me why you took a sack. So you could go all day long with that kind of stuff.”
What about at the end of regulation, when the Bears had the ball at their own 7 with 34 seconds left and the score tied? Taking a knee was the prudent play, he said.
“If we take a sack or there’s a hold in the end zone, that’s a safety and it’s game over with 10 seconds,” he said. “And I’m not coming up here with that happening.”
The coach seemed drained and angry. After all, the Bears blew a 21-10 lead in the final 16 minutes of regulation. Nagy was displeased by two flags, too: a pick play by tight end Trey Burton, and an unnecessary roughness call on Leonard Floyd. After a whirlwind final 40 minutes, though, the Bears had plenty of reasons to be annoyed.
“Games like this sting,” receiver Allen Robinson said. “They sting for everybody. When you play the most amount of time you can play in an NFL game and lose by a field goal, that really stings. Especially when you feel like you had the game and had a chance to put the game away.”
Brock Osweiler, who started when quarterback Ryan Tannehill couldn’t go with a right shoulder injury, had the Dolphins ahead 7-0 at halftime — thanks in part to a Howard fumble at the Dolphins’ 1 in the second quarter.
In overtime, Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake did the same, three feet away from ending the game with a touchdown, to give the Bears life. Earlier in the drive, Osweiler’s third-down pass hit safety Adrian Amos’ left hand — his back was turned — and caromed forward to Kenny Stills for 35 yards. Osweiler completed 28 of 44 passes for a career-high 380 yards and three scores.
“It’s a roller-coaster ride,” said Tarik Cohen, who fumbled the ball away with 1:52 left and the score tied. “One team really couldn’t get going full stride.”
After totaling 54 yards on their first 24 plays of the game, the Bears scored three touchdowns in the first 8:10 of the second half. After Burton caught a nine-yard shovel pass for a score, cornerback Kyle Fuller picked off Osweiler and returned it to the Dolphins’ 12. Robinson caught a touchdown pass on the next play to go up 14-7. After a Dolphins field goal, Cohen ran for a 21-yard score.
A 25-yard field goal by Sanders and the first of two catch-and-run scores by Albert Wilson — a 43-yarder — plus a two-point conversion knotted the score at 21 with nine minutes left.
Bears receiver Anthony Miller caught a 29-yard touchdown pass with 3:17 to play, only for Wilson to turn a three-yard catch into a 75-yard touchdown on the Dolphins’ next offensive play.
The game only got weirder in overtime.
The result was a return to cold — or hot and muggy — reality for a team whose last win came by 38 points.
“We knew coming out here that this was going to be a football game,” tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “Games like [the win against the Buccaneers] rarely happen.”