- Associated Press - Saturday, October 18, 2014

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The way the Chicago Bears’ first two games at Soldier Field have gone, Jared Allen had an unusual idea for Sunday’s matchup.

“Maybe we should wear (road) white jerseys,” the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end said.

The Bears will try for their first home win and try to build on a strong performance when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Chicago knocked off Atlanta 27-13 last week, with Jay Cutler delivering one of his best games as a pro and the defense creating all kinds of havoc. As promising as that performance was, here’s a sobering thought for the Bears (3-3).

They’re 0-2 at home, not that they really needed the reminder.

The Bears dropped the season opener to Buffalo in overtime, fell to Green Bay three weeks ago. And in both games, turnovers played a big role.

Against the Bills, he made an ill-advised pass across the body that got intercepted with the Bears driving in the fourth quarter.

The Green Bay game was another rough one for Chicago. Cutler threw two interceptions in the third quarter, and the Packers pulled away for a 38-17 victory.

It was a different story at Atlanta. Cutler had the second-biggest passing game of his career with 381 yards, and Chicago limited the Falcons to 12 first downs and 287 yards even though their linebackers group was decimated.

Here come the Dolphins (2-3), who are trying to shake off a tough 27-24 loss at home to Green Bay. They blew a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost when Aaron Rodgers took advantage of a mismatch in coverage.

He threw a 4-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds to tight end Andrew Quarless, who outmaneuvered linebacker Phillip Wheeler.

Despite the loss, Miami coach Joe Philbin insisted his team is ready for Sunday.

“Guys are engaged and so far the preparation has been good,” he said.

Here are some things to look for in this game:

SIZE MISMATCH: Miami’s Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan are facing a big challenge.

After struggling against Green Bay, the two 5-foot-10 cornerbacks will have to contend with a pair of Pro Bowl receivers in the 6-4 Brandon Marshall and 6-3 Alshon Jeffery.

As if that’s not enough, Chicago also has 6-6 tight end Martellus Bennett. Running back Matt Forte, who leads the league with 46 receptions, stands 6-2 and does not mind running over cornerbacks.

MARSHALL REUNION: Marshall still calls South Florida home. That doesn’t mean he misses the Dolphins.

Marshall criticized quarterback Chad Henne during his two seasons in Miami and took another shot at him this week as he prepared to face his former team for the first time since he was dealt to Chicago. He also had some good things to say about the Dolphins.

“I learned so much in Miami, grew so much,” said Marshall, who had two 1,000-yard seasons there. “I wish we could have made it work, but we didn’t.”

The Dolphins went 7-9 and 6-10 with Marshall before dealing him to Chicago before the 2012 season. The trade was the first big move for Bears general manager Phil Emery, and it reunited the receiver with Cutler, his friend from Denver.

CUTTING IT: As encouraging as the defense’s play was last week, the Bears’ fortunes still hinge largely on their quarterback. In their three wins, Cutler has zero interceptions. He has two in each of their three losses, but the disparity throughout his career is striking.

He is 59-51 over nine seasons with Denver and Chicago. In victories, he has 114 touchdown passes and 38 interceptions. In losses? Make it 54 TDs and 80 interceptions.

MORE MILLER TIME: The Dolphins’ run game took a hit this week with Knowshon Moreno going on injured reserve with a knee injury. Even so, an area that has been a strength should not suffer too much.

After all, the Dolphins still have Lamar Miller and he’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry. That ranks third among running backs.

Now, he figures to carry a heavier workload.

“All the guys that we have here can get the job done,” he said. “I think we have some good running backs here and we just have to get the job done.”

Moreno signed a one-year contract and made a huge impact in his Dolphins debut, running for 134 yards in a win over New England. But injuries first to his elbow and now the knee slowed him.

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: With a league-leading seven sacks, defensive end Willie Young sure is giving the Bears a good return on their investment.

Chicago signed him to a three-year contract hoping he would help solidify the line. Young has done his part.

His seven sacks are more than double his previous career high of three. He had six sacks over four seasons with Detroit.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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