"This is probably the best game we've played all year," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said after toppling the Bears (7-1). "I'm very proud of our players to stick with it and improve over the bye week, hang together as a group, believe in each other and have the confidence that you need to have to compete like that for 60 minutes in the game.
"There were obviously a lot of opportunities where if you couldn't stay focused on the next play, it would have been easy to say, 'Here we go again.' We didn't do that. I think this was great for our team and its confidence. Hopefully, we can build on something like this."
Although hardly mistake-free, the Dolphins (2-6) clearly outplayed Chicago in almost every phase of the game. Offensively, running back Ronnie Brown rushed for a career-high 157 yards on 29 attempts while quarterback Joey Harrington overcame two interceptions with three touchdown passes, including a 24-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Chris Chambers that gave Miami a commanding 28-13 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
"As professional athletes or a professional in any arena, you never liked to be overlooked," said Harrington, who completed 16 of 32 passes for 137 yards in winning for the first time in four Dolphins starts. "That's the ultimate sign of disrespect and when you're overlooked you're considered a non-factor. We wanted to let people know that we're still a factor."
"We've got a big uphill climb to get out of the hole, but this is the type of game that you could use to springboard toward that because there's no better team in the NFL, other than the (Indianapolis) Colts right now. ... We beat the best in the NFL on the road. If we could do that, then we could go and beat anybody."
Miami's defense also played at a high level, harassing Rex Grossman into throwing three interceptions -- including one returned 20 yards for a second-quarter touchdown by defensive end Jason Taylor -- while also sacking the Bears quarterback three times with a wide array of blitzes. Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard can expect similar harassment.
"We felt challenged on defense," said Dolphins defensive end Kevin Carter, whose unit also limited Bears running back Thomas Jones to 69 yards on 20 carries. "Everybody was talking about how good Chicago's defense was and we thought we had a good defense here. We took it as a personal challenge. We were excited at the opportunity. We had nothing to lose."
Expect the Dolphins to take that same carefree attitude into the Chiefs game.
"I think the biggest thing these players wanted to do was be respected and be considered as a factor as a team in the National Football League," Saban said. "It says a lot about their pride. We want to continue to build on that."