1. Archive

Dolphins help end Bears' wait

Published Oct. 2, 2005

When the game ended, 33 hours after the scheduled kickoff, the Chicago Bears finally had something to celebrate.

Coach Dave Wannstedt's beleaguered Bears earned their first victory Monday, overcoming a 15-point deficit in the final 5:48 of regulation to beat the stunned Dolphins 36-33 in overtime.

The game was postponed Sunday so Game 7 of the World Series could be played at Pro Player Stadium. For the Bears (1-7), the victory was worth the wait.

"I can't tell you what a relief it is," said Erik Kramer, who threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the final 7{ minutes of regulation. Jeff Jaeger clinched the victory by kicking his fourth field goal, a 35-yarder, with 5:35 left in overtime.

"I never went through anything like this in my life," Kramer said. "I think the entire team breathed a collective sigh of relief when we hit that field goal."

The Bears averted the first 0-8 start in the 78-year history of the franchise. They began 0-7 in 1969, won the next game and finished 1-13.

"If anyone had any questions about our character, tonight we provided some answers," said Wannstedt, who has been under fire from fans and the media.

Barry Minter set up the winning score when he sacked Dan Marino to force a fumble Carl Reeves recovered at the Miami 17-yard line. Two fumbles by Marino in the first half led to nine Chicago points.

"We pretty much gave them the game with the turnovers," Marino said. "They blitzed and came after us, and it worked a lot of the time."

The loss left the Dolphins (5-3) tied with New England and the Jets for first place in the AFC East. The Patriots lost 28-10 to Green Bay in the other Monday night game.

Coach Jimmy Johnson blamed Miami's defeat on 13 penalties, four sacks and three turnovers.

"We haven't been a highly penalized team, we haven't turned the ball over, and we have protected the passer," Johnson said. "The things that have helped us win up to this point got us beat tonight."

Late defensive breakdowns also hurt Miami. Kramer completed 32 of 50 passes for 343 yards, and Chicago achieved its highest point total in 71 games dating to 1993.

With six minutes left, the Bears appeared to be beaten _ again. But they rallied from a 33-18 deficit to tie the score.

Kramer hit Bobby Engram with an 8-yard touchdown pass to cap an 80-yard drive and make the score 33-25. Twice Miami failed to move the ball and had to punt, and Chicago drove 59 yards to score again with 1:25 left on Kramer's 25-yard pass to a wide-open Chris Penn.