Thursday, November 18, 2010
Most teams would be completely screwed if they had to start their third string quarterback. The Dolphins, however, have a couple advantages over most teams:
1) Their third stringer is Tyler Thigpen. In 2008 with a bad Chiefs team, he threw for 2,600 yards and 18 TDs. He also has the ability to take off and run with the ball.
2) The Dolphins are a run-first team anyways. With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, plus a tendency to utilize the Wildcat, the Dolphins don't rely on their QB nearly as much as most teams.
In fact, the last time the two teams matched up, in 2006, Brown ran for 157 yards as the Dolphins handed a 7-0 Bears team its first loss.
There's no doubt the Bears have caught a huge break by drawing Thigpen instead of Henne or Pennington, but the game is no gimme. Another odd advantage the Bears have is that they've managed a 3-1 record on the road this season while Miami is just 1-3 at home.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1st quarter sloppiness? Many of these Thursday night games have featured sloppy first halves. After all, teams are used to having six days to prepare for a game, but the Bears and Dolphins had just three. If the Bears can avoid playing ugly football, it could give them a leg up.Force them to pass. Again, Tyler Thigpen is not necessarily awful, but he's still a third-stringer for a reason. And since the Bears have the second-best run defense in the league, they need to focus on slowing down Brown and Williams, forcing Miami to put the ball in Thigpen's hands.
Jake Long vs. Julius Peppers. Offensive tackle Jake Long is awesome. In fact, he went first overall in the 2008 draft. But he has a labral tear, and some are saying he's risking serious long-term damage if he plays through it tonight. Chances are he will in fact play, but hopefully Peppers can exploit his injury and have a good game.