Miami Dolphins backup quarterback Brock Osweiler has had his share of ups and downs in the NFL, and lately it’s been far more down than up.
What Osweiler does have a knack for is beating the Chicago Bears.
For the third time, Osweiler led a team past the Bears with a big passing effort, and kicker Jason Sanders ended a wild free-for-all with a 47-yard field goal on the final play of overtime as the Dolphins beat Chicago 31-28 on Sunday.
“My whole mentality was make the most of this opportunity, do whatever it takes to help your team get a win and have fun with it,” Osweiler said.
Pressed into service when starter Ryan Tannehill had late-week shoulder problems, Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards on 28-of-44 passing with three touchdowns against Khalil Mack and the league’s second-ranked defense.
A 15-yard completion to running back Kenyan Drake set up Sanders’ winning kick one possession after former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey missed a 53-yarder for a Bears win.
Before Sunday, Osweiler had started wins in the past for Denver and Houston against the Bears.
“I felt comfortable from the first play,” Osweiler said. “I really did. I think there comes a certain point when you’ve played enough games and you’ve prepared the right way, you’re not going to have any jitters.”
Osweiler started the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Nick O’Leary and the Dolphins led 7-0 at halftime.
Then, a track meet broke out in the second half.
Parkey’s missed field goal was hardly the only missed opportunity on the day as both teams threw away chances to win or take control.
Chicago running back Jordan Howard lost a fumble at the 1-yard line and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw an interception in the red zone. Drake lost a fumble at the goal line with Miami trying to win it on its first drive in overtime.
“I feel like a lot of the time in the first half we were stopping ourselves, they weren’t stopping us,” Trubisky said. “But you’ve got to give credit to their defense.”
Trubisky threw for 316 yards and had three second-half touchdown passes, one for nine yards to Trey Burton, 12 yards to Allen Robinson and 29 yards to Anthony Miller. Tarik Cohen also broke free for a 21-yard scoring run in the second half for Chicago.
But the Bears let a 21-10 lead slip away in the second half on two touchdown catches by Albert Wilson, who had six catches for 155 yards.
“That ain’t what you expect with what we have up front,” said Mack, who sprained an ankle early and was held without a sack.
The Bears came in leading the league in sacks with 18. They went without a sack.
“Our offensive line played great football today,” Osweiler said. “What those guys did against a great Chicago front, it should be talked about because it’s special.”
They did enough to help spring Dolphins running back Frank Gore for 101 yards rushing.
“He ran hard, man, he gave everything he had,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said about Gore. “That’s why he’s going to be a guy that’s one of the greatest backs ever.
“To do it at his age and be able to come out here and get 100 yards and grind through that heat, that guy’s a warrior.”
But it was Osweiler calmly standing up to the Bears’ defense with a heat index hitting 100. He played like a starter, rather than someone who had just a few snaps at practice on Thursday and Friday.
“The entire organization is counting on you, they’re counting on you to be prepared,” Osweiler said.