Scouting Report: Dolphins-Bears

The Dolphins return to action following their bye and face a daunting task in the form of the undefeated Bears -- at Chicago no less. Here's a complete preview of the matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

SERIES: 10th meeting. The Dolphins hold a 6-3 all-time series lead, winning the last meeting, 27-9, in Dec. 2002 when Ricky Williams rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

2006 RANKINGS: Dolphins: offense 16th (27th rush, 6th pass); defense 5th (13th rush, 4th pass). Bears: offense 12th (19th rush, 9th pass); defense 1st (5th rush, 2nd pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Winging it all over the field hasn't worked for the Dolphins, with QB Joey Harrington throwing seven interceptions while throwing 146 passes over the past three games. Chicago's pass defense is too strong and the Bears have blown too many opponents out in the first half for Miami to keep relying so heavily on the passing game. The Dolphins must stick with RB Ronnie Brown, even if the ground game isn't reeling off big chunks of yardage. The Bears have been particularly explosive at home, with QB Rex Grossman posting a passer rating of 100.5 or better in all four games at Soldier Field this season. Still, the Dolphins' best hope is to stuff RB Thomas Jones and hope to pressure Grossman into mistakes under pressure even though Miami's secondary has been burned consistently all season.

FAST FACTS: Dolphins: Brown has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in five career games against the NFC. ... TE Randy McMichael needs five receptions to break Bruce Hardy's franchise record of 256 for tight ends. Bears: DE Mark Anderson leads all rookies and is fourth in the NFL with 7.5 sacks.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Dolphins:

-- QB Daunte Culpepper continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired knee while not participating in football drills.

-- LB Channing Crowder (foot) practiced without limitations for the first time since sustaining the injury during the Packers game.

-- CB Travis Daniels (knee) practiced on a limited basis and is "improving every day," according to coach Nick Saban. However, Andre' Goodman continues to work with the first team, while Daniels seems headed for some snaps in the nickel defense Sunday.

-- LG Jeno James, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery nine days ago, is practicing without limitations and seems ready to play Sunday.

-- FB Kyle Eckel was shifted from the military/reserve list to the exempt/commissioner's permission list after completing his active duty with the Navy. Eckel will compete with Darian Barnes for the fullback job, but he isn't expected to be activated until he regains football condition.

Bears:

-- QB Rex Grossman is No. 38 in the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating at 26.4 and has completed just 13 of 32 passes.

-- RB Cedric Benson still doesn't have a run as long as 20 yards on 55 attempts this season and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

-- TE Desmond Clark, a former Dolphin, leads all NFC tight ends with 391 receiving yards and is tied for second with 26 receptions.

-- PR Devin Hester leads the NFL with a 14.6-yard punt-return average and two touchdowns. He was added to the Bears' injury report on Friday because of a hamstring injury and is listed as questionable.

-- DE Mark Anderson is tied for fourth in the NFL with 7.5 sacks, 2.5 more than the next-best rookie, Denver's Elvis Dumervil.


Dolphins Report Top Stories