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Q&A George McCaskey and Ted Phillips on the search for a new Chicago Bears president — and a potential stadium in Arlington Heights

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Q&Amp;A George Mccaskey And Ted Phillips On The Search For A New Chicago Bears President — And A Potential Stadium In Arlington Heights
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When Chicago Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips announced last week he will retire at the end of the 2022 season, it created more change for a franchise that already is eyeing a lot of it.

In the middle of the Bears’ exploration of building a new stadium and entertainment complex in Arlington Heights, the team also is searching for a new president.

Bears Chairman George McCaskey and Phillips sat down Friday with the Tribune and a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times to address some of the many questions that come with such a search.

Here are some of their answers on what the Bears are looking for in the next president, how the Arlington project will be handled as Phillips prepares to depart, how Phillips reflects on his tenure and more.

The interview was edited for length and clarity.

The search for a new president

How far are you in the search process for a new president? Who’s involved and what will it entail?

George McCaskey: We’ve had plenty of discussions. We’ve got the search firm on board. The internal team consists of Tanesha Wade, Ted and myself. We’ve had good discussions with Nolan Partners. We established a rapport very early on with them. We feel good about the decision to have them assist us in the process. And we’re looking forward to a good result.

What are you looking for in the next president?

McCaskey: Leadership, vision, humility, consensus building. You look at the qualities of outstanding leaders, and we think we’re going to be able to bring in an exceptional candidate to succeed Ted and lead the Bears.

What sort of consideration will be given to people inside the building and is there an appeal to going outside the building?

McCaskey: We’re open to all possibilities. I would compare it to a head coach search. There’s no limitation on college or pro, offense or defense. The same principle applies on a broader scale to this position.

When you had a GM search recently, what did you learn about the way organizations worked around the league, if anything, that might inform your president search?

McCaskey: Well, one benefit of that type of experience is you get a little intel on how other organizations work, so that’s helpful. I’ll leave it at that.

You said in January that you didn’t get the appeal of a “football czar.” Does that hold here and can you say with certainty you’re looking for a business person as opposed to a football guy to fill the president role?

McCaskey: We don’t anticipate any change in the structure, but we’re not locked into a business or football person.

So general manager Ryan Poles would still report to you?

McCaskey: It would depend on the candidate.

Would you like someone with a balance of football and business expertise or does that not matter to you?

McCaskey: Again, we don’t want to get locked into a quote-unquote football person or a quote-unquote businessperson. What we’re looking for more are the qualities I recited just a moment ago.

A lot of teams have built stadiums recently. Would someone who has experience in this huge undertaking of building a stadium have an appeal to you?

McCaskey: Not necessarily. If that person didn’t have that type of background, we would count on him or her to find the right people with that expertise.

Ted, what do you think the Bears need in your replacement?

Phillips: Besides what George has said, I would say someone that can make tough decisions. It’s very important. Someone who can handle a lot of different balls in the air on a daily basis because every day is different. Someone who understands what it means to be a Bear. Culture here is important. You don’t have the right fit, you can be the smartest person on Earth but won’t get it done.

Someone that’s able to deal with different personalities from politicians to business leaders to the media. It’s not easy, so we need someone who can understand all those different dynamics. Someone who can groom younger people. I think about that because I got a lot of great opportunities when I was younger and through my whole career. So I love that, and I think that’s important for someone to be able to come in and be able to listen more than they talk and learn from others, including those who aren’t at the same level as them. It’s important.

Do you need to find the right personality match for Halas Hall?

Phillips: Not so much for Halas Hall but for the family, I do, yes. I do think that’s important. Because without that, you’re just another corporation. And that doesn’t work.

Ted, when are you retiring?

Phillips: Feb. 28.

George, when would you like a new president in place? Would you like him or her to spend a few months with Ted?

McCaskey: Just like the broad scope of the search, we’re not going to be locked in by someone’s availability. It’s going to be whenever the timing is right. If we find somebody in late February and Ted has to stay on for another six months…

Ted, will you consult with the Bears on a stadium project?

Phillips: George and I have just touched on that idea and have left the door open if it makes sense at the right time and it makes sense for the Bears and for me. I’d consider it. It’s hard to say no when you’ve been somewhere for 40 years.

McCaskey: It makes sense for the Bears.

The Arlington Heights stadium project

What steps are you doing to assure the handoff of the Arlington project to the next president goes smoothly?

Phillips: That’s going to be a big component of my successor’s role. What I’m happy about is that we have good people here internally who have been involved in the Arlington project, so assuming we close, assuming we develop it, there are a lot of people with expertise here, and obviously whoever that new CEO is, I’ll sit down with him, talk to him, explain all the ins and outs of what we’ve been going through. So I don’t see it being a difficult transition at all from that standpoint.

Ted, how much of your life has been devoted to the stadium the last 18 months? Is it exhausting?

Phillips: It’s not exhausting. That’s not why I’m retiring if that’s what you’re getting at.

(But) it’s a massive challenge. The idea it might take five years, 10 years if we go forward, more? That played a little bit of a role in my decision to retire. … When I get into a project I go full bore, and I still am full bore.

I believe, I hope, that by the time I retire this project will be in a place where we know if we’re going to close, maybe we have closed, hopefully we have closed. And that there’s a path to where we want to go, either developing or not developing. If I can get to that point, then the rest of it, we’ve got good people that know what’s happened, and I’ll make sure the transition is smooth. I’ve promised George that, so I have no problem doing that.

You said 10 years to complete the project. Is there a world in which this takes that long?

Phillips: Well, the whole development could take 10 years plus, for sure. And that’s just our preliminary guess, estimate, right?

With the stadium, is it more like five?

Phillips: Can’t tell. We haven’t designed it. We haven’t designed the stadium. I think you guys know that now. We’ve still got 12 years, 11 years left on our lease at Soldier Field, so that plays a role in it too.

There’s a way to end that lease earlier?

Phillips: We could reach a settlement with the city. We could.

What are the biggest challenges in getting funding for this project, including public funding, and do you have confidence that funding will ultimately be obtained?

McCaskey: Before we get to that, we have to determine whether we’re going to be able to close on the land. So we’re continuing our financial analysis. It’s not complete yet. But the focus in the short term is the property.

If you close and get funding for the stadium, what happens to PSL (personal seat license) holders at a new stadium?

Phillips: We haven’t gotten to that level of detail because the stadium is not designed. But we think we always take care of our long-term season ticket holders. … And if and when we get to that point, we will come up with a plan that we hope will be beneficial to the long-term PSL holders that we currently have. It’s important to us. But what that is, we don’t know yet.

Last night at the meeting in Arlington Heights, you talked about the 100-year search for a permanent home for the Bears. Have you always felt that way? Did you turn over a new leaf at some point? How did you come to the realization that this might be you fulfilling the dream of George Halas?

McCaskey: Well, George Halas in his book talks about how the Bears came to play at Wrigley, and how he had a handshake agreement. Over the course of the 50 years that they were there, it became less and less workable as a football venue. I mean, one of the end zones wasn’t even 10 yards deep for crying out loud.

… The move to Soldier Field in ‘71 was supposed to be temporary. We played one game in Evanston in 1970. But in each of those situations, the building had been designed and built primarily for other events or another team. This is our 100-year opportunity to design it for us.

Have you believed that for years, that it’s destiny?

McCaskey: No, I would compare it to a homeowner that rents year after year after year. I mean, there are advantages to that, but there are some significant disadvantages to that also.

Phillips’ tenure

Ted, as you reflect on your tenure, is there anything you could have done differently to set up the team for better success on the field?

Phillips: I know what’s been said. Obviously. I don’t have regrets. I don’t operate that way. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. We haven’t been able to find a consistently winning team. We’ve had moments of success that have been really fun to be around. But whether or not the structure would have made a difference, I’m not convinced that it would. I think you need a football decision-maker, which we’ve always had. And at some point that person always reports up to ownership.

I think we’ve done a good job here, and I’ll use Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus as the most recent example of being told, “Put together the structure you need to give yourself the best chance of success.” Evaluating talent, there’s an art to it. It’s a difficult job. You could be wrong 40% of the time and be in the Hall of Fame. I think right now Ryan has put together a really strong personnel department that has layers, not just of soldiers but of leaders, along with himself. And that’s going to be a big help.

So to answer your question: Would I do something differently? No. Maybe encourage past GMs to make sure they’ve got the right people in place who can have a lot of influence and listen to them. Again, we’ve taken the approach that the GM is the final decision-maker. I don’t see that being an issue if they make the right choices going forward.

You said you’ve heard what’s been said. What have you heard?

Phillips: Of course, everyone says I’m not a football guy. It makes me chuckle a little bit. I’m not a coach. I’m not an evaluator. I’ve been in the business for 40 years, and I think I’ve learned a little bit. I’ve never made the decisions of who should coach and who should play. So I guess that’s what I’m saying, the people that write that, I don’t quite understand it. But it’s OK.

Two years ago, when you decided to bring back Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, you had that quote about everything but the quarterback is in place.

Phillips: It was taken out of context, but that’s OK.

What’s the right context to view that?

Phillips: It’s in terms of the people. They both brought a lot of good things to the organization. Some of the mistakes that were made were high-profile mistakes. Those are tough to come back from. The Achilles’ heel, the one thing I’d change: Get the quarterback right, please. That’s what I’d change. It is. It hurts when you see. I saw it. You’ve all seen the scrolling list. I think since the Super Bowl year there’s been 45 different starting quarterbacks. It’s disappointing. Hopefully, we’ve got that right now.

George, what do you appreciate about Ted’s tenure here?

McCaskey: Well, I’m sorry to be repeating myself. But it’s difficult to put into words my high personal regard for Ted and my high professional regard for him. The way he’s handled the various situations that he just described to you — all the personalities. He touched on just a few of them, and there’s so many more.

When he was my boss, I would look at an issue that faced the organization and think about how I would handle it. And sometimes the path Ted took after he explained it was so clear and made so much sense that I was wondering why I was puzzled about it in the first place.

That’s the kind of leader that he is. He talks about making tough decisions. Not everybody can do that. And when you make tough decisions sometimes you make people unhappy. But he’s always thought about what was best for the Chicago Bears. And just very grateful to Ted and indebted to him for all he’s done for the Bears and all he’s done for our family.

Is this emotional for you, Ted?

Phillips: Of course it is. Forty seasons. It’s a blessing. George used the word that I had in my head. I’m grateful. Grateful for the opportunities. Grateful for all the people here that have made my job easier. It’s been a great team effort. I’ll miss it.

Potential Soldier Field renovations

What do you think of the proposal of putting a roof on Soldier Field?

McCaskey: Our singular focus is Arlington Park.

Have you talked with Mayor Lori Lightfoot or the city about that proposal at all?

McCaskey: She called me shortly before that proposal was presented. We had a good conversation. I have all the respect in the world for Mayor Lightfoot.

What are those talks like? Are they frank, formal, casual?

McCaskey: She just called me up. I’m not going to share the details of the conversation.

Phillips: I can add a little color, from the standpoint of we’ve been very transparent with Mayor Lightfoot and the city. So you ask about the dome proposal. She knows we have an agreement with Churchill Downs. We have a mutual understanding that we will not explore any other site while we’re under contract for that land. She knows that. The city knows it. We’ve been very candid with them. So when they outline that publicly, we haven’t see any of the details because we told them we weren’t engaging in those discussions.

That agreement includes Soldier Field?

Phillips: Correct. We can engage on current operations. But we agreed with Churchill Downs that we would not pursue any other site while we’re under contract with Arlington Park.

That includes renovations to your current site?

Phillips: Long-term renovations, yep. It does.

Other topics

How do you measure success this year?

McCaskey: Wins are always a gauge of success and progress. Beyond that, I’d like to see some of the themes that Matt has been emphasizing — discipline, smart play, hustle, swarming defense, takeaways, going for the ball. Three-and-outs. Getting the run game going. Minimizing mistakes. And learning from mistakes. He talks about getting better each week, and that’s a good gauge.

What shows you that what needed fixing has been fixed?

McCaskey: In our search for the GM, we relied on Bill Polian and his intelligence network to tell us whether a candidate was a good talent evaluator. I don’t know that there’s any question you could ask or any foolproof research that you could do that would answer that question. We’re relying on his sources for that. And then just what (Poles) conveys in the interview. And what we saw in the interview I think you’re seeing play out on a day to day basis here. His organization, his leadership. His what I would describe as a preternatural calm. Just has a sense about him that when there’s chaos all around him, he’s going to remain calm and make sound decisions.

George, how’s your mom doing?

McCaskey: Doing well. Thank you.

Why the orange helmets? Why mess with a good thing, like the New York Yankees?

McCaskey: That was a consideration. And I think when it comes to uniforms, the Yankees are the Bears of Major League Baseball, if I may borrow from Jerry Reinsdorf. That was a consideration. But we’ve retained the classic look, but over the years we have made minor adjustments from time to time. In ‘62 we added a decal to the helmet. In ‘73 we put the orange in the decal. In ‘84 we added the GSH monogram. In recent years we’ve added the alternate jersey, which is really, in my view, a throwback to the 1930s when we were setting a record for most consecutive regular-season wins. That team was a juggernaut.

We see this as yet another enhancement of a classic look. And I think, like the orange jerseys, people said, “Ugh! That’s too much!” And then we won a few games in them and they became pretty popular. I’m hoping it’s much the same with the orange helmet, orange jersey combination.


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Things we learned in Miami Dolphins’ 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills

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Things We Learned In Miami Dolphins’ 21-19 Win Over The Buffalo Bills
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Here are some takeaways from the Miami Dolphins’ incredible win over the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium:

You gotta play it ‘til the end

With the Dolphins leading, 21-17, punter Thomas Morstead booted a punt from his own end zone into the backside of teammate Trent Sherfield, cutting the Dolphins’ lead to 21-19 with 1:33 left. Morstead helped save the day with his free kick that traveled to the Buffalo 6-yard line and was returned to the Bills’ 23-yard line. Buffalo needed a game-winning field goal and the Dolphins’ defense held. — Chris Perkins

Dolphins playoff chances now 76%

The Dolphins, according to the NFL, have a 76% chance of making the playoffs with a 3-0 start in a 17-game season. The Dolphins, of course, started 3-0 in 2013 and 2018 and missed the playoffs, but this 3-0 start has a different feel. Not only are expectations higher, the team is better and better-equipped to deal with changing expectations. The Dolphins have a tough game ahead at Cincinnati on Thursday, but if you’re keeping track of tiebreakers the Dolphins are 2-0 against AFC East opponents and 3-0 against AFC opponents.

Dolphins offense still finding itself

The Dolphins’ offense hasn’t scored more than seven points in any quarter this season aside from that impressive 28-point showing in the fourth quarter at Baltimore. It seemed the Dolphins would attack Buffalo’s secondary, which was missing three starters from a week ago (All Pro safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and cornerback Dane Jackson). But that didn’t happen. Dolphins wide receivers Tyreek Hill (two receptions, 33 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (four receptions, 102 yards) had relatively low-key contributions considering their high-spirited moments from earlier this season.

Dolphins defense still ballin’

Safety Jevon Holland had a strip-sack on Bills quarterback Josh Allen that defensive end Melvin Ingram recovered at the Bills’ 6-yard line. The Dolphins began the day tied for 10th in forced turnover with three. The Dolphins’ defense held Buffalo to a reasonable point total (17) and had a decent showing overall, limiting both Allen (41 of 62, 388 yards, two touchdowns, 94.0 passer rating) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (seven receptions, 74 yards).

Tua leaves briefly, then returns, answering durability questions

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whose injury durability has been questioned, showed some toughness when he had his bell rung late in the second quarter. Tagovailoa was shoved down by linebacker Matt Milano and appeared to have his head hit the ground. Tagovailoa stood up briefly, was wobbly, then went to the ground and went to the locker room with trainers. Tagovailoa only missed three plays (backup Teddy Bridgewater was 0 for 2) and returned for the third quarter. Of course, with third-team quarterback Skylar Thompson inactive the Dolphins avoided a potentially nerve-racking situation. It’s unclear who would have served as Bridgewater’s backup.

Right tackle shuffle

The Dolphins again showed some depth at right tackle, going four deep and doing OK against the likes of Bills pass rushers Von Miller and Greg Rousseau. When starter Greg Little went down in the second quarter with an apparent finger injury, Larnel Coleman was inserted in his place. But when Little went out again in the third quarter, right guard Robert Hunt shifted to right tackle, and Robert Jones was inserted at right guard. You could say Hunt was the fourth-team tackle considering Austin Jackson (ankle) was the starter for the opener and Little was his backup and Coleman was his backup. Little eventually came back and finished the game.

Crossen makes TD-saving play, showing more secondary depth

Cornerback Keion Crossen, possibly on the field because Xavien Howard was being treated for cramps, showed off the Dolphins’ cornerback depth when he batted away what should have been a touchdown reception, saving four points. Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis appeared to have beaten Crossen in the third quarter for an 11-yard touchdown reception. But Crossen knocked the ball out of Davis’ hands at the last second. Buffalo ended up kicking a 30-yard field goal for a 17-14 lead. But considering Howard and Byron Jones (Physically Unable to Perform list) were sidelined, the Dolphins showed good depth and fortitude against one of the NFL’s best offenses.

Bills fans know how to get tickets

Buffalo fans, known as Bills Mafia, were thick in Hard Rock Stadium. Bills fans might have comprised as much as 35% of the crowd, possibly even as much as 40%. It was an impressive showing from a group that usually travels well, and even more impressive considering the Dolphins have soldout their season ticket allotment. Bills fans found a way to get tickets.

Melvin Ingram is a force

Dolphins edge rusher Melvin Ingram made an impact on the game among two sacks, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, and setting the edge (turning the run play inside). Ingram had a 6-yard scoop-and-score fumble recovery touchdown in the opener against New England. Although Jaelan Phillips has gotten off to a slow start, Ingram has been there to put some energy into the Dolphins’ edge game.

Dolphins sit atop a hotly-contested AFC East

The Dolphins (3-0) are atop the AFC East. Of course, the battle was so closely-matched you could argue either the Dolphins or the Bills are the best team in the division right now. But the Dolphins won so they’re the kings. Both teams had injury issues in Sunday’s game, the Bills’ injuries more serious than the Dolphins’ injuries. Whatever the case, this matchup stirred more intrigue for their December matchup.

Dolphins haven’t seen this sort of a 3-0 start since Dan Marino was playing

Miami started 3-0 in 2018, 2013 and 2002, but the most recent time they started by winning their first three games with at least two of them division games was 1998, in Dan Marino’s second-to-last year playing. The only coach who has had a Dolphins team start 4-0 is Don Shula. His teams accomplished that feat six times in his 26 seasons coaching the Dolphins (1995, 1992, 1984, 1981, 1979 and 1972). — Steve Svekis

Dolphins defense had two plays in the opening minutes that haven’t been seen by Miami against Josh Allen

First, 250-pound Melvin Ingram was alone on an island in the left flat at the Dolphins’ 2 and had Allen chugging toward him full speed. Somehow, Ingram stayed squared up and put Allen on the ground for a loss of a yard for what was technically a sack. The Bills behemoth quarterback is never stymied from scoring in that situation. Yet, here was Ingram, laying down a huge marker regarding how stout the defensive effort would be from the aqua-and-orange. Then, Jevon Holland — a week after battling a pulling guard to a stand-still near the goal line in Baltmore — got in on Allen for a strip sack that set up the Dolphins’ first touchdown. The defense, who had played good first halves last year against Buffalo, put in a full game that brought the Bills back into their realm after years of dominance by Allen and Buffalo.

You see something new every day

Into my 47th year watching the NFL, I can’t remember having seen a team’s offensive tackle actually call the first timeout of the second half with his team trailing. That is what Terron Armstead did in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins DID go on to take a 21-17 lead. Then, came play number two, in the same quarter … a safety when a punt bounces off the punting team.

Eye-popping stat from the Baltimore miracle, part 1

When Tyreek Hill rolled up his 190 receiving yards and Jaylen Waddle his 171, it was the first time in over 10 years that teammates had each caught 171 yards of passes in a game. That came on Sept. 16, 2012, when the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks (199) and Victor Cruz (179) did it against the Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. The only other time it had been done on the road during the Super Bowl era (since 1966)  was 50 years ago, and also in Baltimore. On Sept. 24, 1972, the New York Jets’ Rich Caster (204) and Eddie Bell (197) pulled it off.

Eye-popping stat from the Baltimore miracle, part 2

The Dolphins became the first team to win a game when trailing by at least 21 points with 14 minutes left AND lose a game when winning by at least 21 with that small amount of time left on the clock (up 30-7 over the Jets at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in 2000). Tampa Bay has blown two games where they led by at least 21 points after three quarters, and Dallas has won two where they trailed by at least 21 when heading into the fourth quarter.Playoffs-vs.-the-Bills Tyreek Hill vs. Regular-Season-vs.-the-Bills Tyreek HillTyreek Hill, who has annihilated Buffalo the past two postseasons (20 catches for 322 yards — 16.1 yards a catch — and a touchdown in two wins), has had a different experience before the calendar turns to January. Hill’s performance in his four regular-season games against Buffalo: Nineteen catches for 157 yards (8.3 yards a reception) and zero touchdowns. His teams improved to 2-2 in those games.

Jaelan Phillips’ dry Septembers

The former University of Miami standout had played six games in September as a pro. In those approximately 220 defensive snaps, Phillips had logged no sacks and only one knockdown of the quarterback and one hurry. Dolphins Hall of Fame defensive end/linebacker Jason Taylor, though, has shown the value of patience for a thinner, angular edge pass-rusher. Taylor began his career with only 17 sacks in his first 46 games. And, none of those sacks forced a fumble, a play he became known for, as, over the next 125 games, he terrorized offenses for 100 sacks and 34 fumbles forced, scoring six touchdowns and three safeties. Still, it is an early truth that the season’s first month as been dry for Phillips.

On deck: At Cincinnati Bengals, Paycor Stadium, Thursday, 8:15 p.m.

The Dolphins head to southern Ohio on a short week with a ton of “house money” in their pockets, at 3-0 and — incredibly — arguably the best team in football. Joe Burrow enters Week 4 having averaged being sacked 5.3 times a game in his past six contests, with a multitude of additional hits on him as he threw passes.


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Jets fail to contain Bengals’ playmakers, lose 27-12 in Week 3 matchup

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Jets Fail To Contain Bengals’ Playmakers, Lose 27-12 In Week 3 Matchup
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On Sunday, the Jets were looking for their first two-game winning streak since 2020.

But, on a rainy, cloudy day at MetLife Stadium, Gang Green left their fans feeling gloomy.

Bengals (1-2) defeated the Jets (1-2) 27-12 to get their first victory of 2022.

The Jets came into the matchup with the Bengals as the No. 8 offense in the NFL, but they looked far from it.

Joe Flacco, who started his third consecutive game for the injured Zach Wilson (knee), along with the Jets offense struggled most of the afternoon. He completed 28 of 52 passes for 285 yards and two interceptions.

Flacco was also sacked four times, three times by defensive end Trey Hendrickson.

A week after his standout performance in the victory against the Browns, Garrett Wilson finished with six catches for 60 yards.

Greg Zuerlein was one of the few bright spots as he made all four field goal attempts.

The Jets entered this week’s game knowing that Cincinnati’s offensive line was one of its biggest weaknesses. The Bengals allowed 13 sacks in their first two games. However, Gang Green could not capitalize on that as they recorded only two sacks.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow took advantage of the lack of a pass rush. He was 23-for-36 as Burrow threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd caught four passes for 105 yards and a touchdown catch. Tee Higgins finished with five catches for 93 yards. Ja’Marr Chase recorded six catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.

The Bengals won the pregame coin toss and elected to receive instead of deferring into the second half. The gamble paid off as Cincinnati went on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Semaje Perine 12-yard touchdown catch that gave the team a 7-0 lead.

Gang Green responded by driving down the field and getting to the Bengals’ 32-yard-line. But after a Breece Hall drop on 3rd and nine, the Jets settled for a Zuerlein 50-yard field goal that cut the Jets deficit to 7-3.

The Jets caught a break on the Bengals’ second possession of the game as Chase fumbled and C.J. Mosley recovered on Cincinnati’s 43-yard-line. But it didn’t result in a touchdown as Zuerlein’s 40-yard field goal cut the Bengals lead to 7-6.

Gang Green’s third series against the Bengals was full of mistakes. First, a John Franklin-Myers unnecessary roughness call on third down gave Cincinnati a new set of downs. Then Jordan Whitehead’s missed tackle allowed Boyd to go for a 56-yard touchdown that extended the Bengals lead to 14-6.

The Jets’ defense continued to have problems slowing down Burrow and the Bengals’ offense as, in the second quarter, he completed a 47-yard pass to Tee Higgins. But Cincinnati managed to get three points out of it as Evan McPherson’s 22-yard field goal extended its lead to 17-6.

Midway in the second quarter, Flacco’s pass to Braxton Berrios was intercepted by linebacker Logan Wilson. A McPherson field goal increased Cincinnati’s lead to 20-6. Zuerlein’s 52-yard field goal before halftime made the score 20-9.

The Jets got the ball after halftime but turned the ball over after Hendrickson strip-sacked Flacco on their 24-yard line. That quickly led to a Chase five-yard touchdown catch, increasing the Bengals’ lead to 27-9.

Gang Green’s offense wasn’t much better in the second half as Flacco struggled with accuracy and decision-making. That caused fans to chant for Jets’ backup quarterback Mike White to replace the 15-year veteran. The Jets finished with three points in the second half as they couldn’t replicate the magic they had in last weekend’s 31-30 win against the Cleveland Browns.

The Jets will return to the field next Sunday as they will play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Cincinnati will have a short week as it will host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.


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Week 3 recap: Chicago Bears offense struggles but Cairo Santos’ last-second field goal gives them 23-20 win

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Week 3 Recap: Chicago Bears Offense Struggles But Cairo Santos’ Last-Second Field Goal Gives Them 23-20 Win
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Roquan Smith came up with a big play just when the Chicago Bears needed it Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

Smith jumped in front of Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills’ pass to Rex Burkhead for an interception and returned it 18 yards to the 12-yard line with just more than a minute to play.

Kicker Cairo Santos followed with a 30-yard field goal to give the Bears a 23-20 victory to improve to 2-1.

With the score tied at 20, the Texans committed a holding penalty on a punt return and got the ball at their own 17-yard line with a chance to take the lead. But three plays into the drive, Smith came up with the play on a pass that defensive lineman Angelo Blackson defended.

It helped seal a game in which the Bears rushed for 281 yards but the passing game again struggled.

Filling in for injured David Montgomery, running back Khalil Herbert had 20 carries for 157 yards. Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 8 of 17 passes for 106 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Texans safety Jalen Pitre intercepted Fields twice, the second on a pass to Darnell Mooney with three defenders nearby in the fourth quarter.

But Bears defensive lineman Justin Jones sacked Mills for a loss of 8 yards and Nicholas Morrow stopped Phillip Dorsett for a loss of 5 yards on third down to kill the ensuing Texans drive.

Herbert’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave the Bears a 20-17 lead. Herbert, filling in for injured David Montgomery, broke for a 52-yard run, and Justin Fields hit Equanimeous St. Brown with a 20-yard pass on the drive.

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn made field goals from 39 and 23 yards in the third quarter. Before the latter kick, Smith stopped Dameon Pierce for a loss of 3 yards on third-and-1 from the 2-yard line.

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Here’s how Week 3 unfolded.

Inactives announced

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson will miss Sunday’s game against the Texans with a quad injury he suffered in practice Thursday.

But linebacker Roquan Smith, who missed practice all week with a hip injury, will play.

Linebacker Matt Adams, safety Dane Cruikshank and rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. all are inactive with hamstring injuries. Tight end Ryan Griffin will sit out with an Achilles injury, and offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter also is inactive.

Johnson’s absence is big for a young Bears secondary. Opposing teams largely have stayed away from targeting Johnson, instead going after rookie Kyler Gordon, who moves between outside cornerback and nickel, and Kindle Vildor. Gordon had a rough night against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

For the Texans, tight end Brevin Jordan, wide receiver Tyler Johnson, defensive back Isaac Yiadom, linebacker Jake Hansen, offensive lineman Austin Deculus and defensive lineman Kurt Hinish are inactive.

Injury update

David Montgomery went down with a right leg injury midway through the first quarter. After the trainers tended to him for a few minutes, he walked off the field on his own into the medical tent. He then left the tent to go to the locker room.

The Bears announced Montgomery has a knee and ankle injury and is doubtful to return. Wide receiver Byron Pringle also is doubtful to return because of a calf injury.

Running back Khalil Herbert entered the game after Montgomery left and had carries of 8 and 11 yards and then scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.

At halftime

As the clock ran out in the second quarter with the Texans leading the Bears 14-13 some boos could be heard across Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and an 11.6 passer rating in the half, which ended with the Texans’ third sack as time ran out. The Bears had timeouts to use but didn’t to try to get in a deep shot.

Playing without David Montgomery, who left in the first quarter with right knee and ankle injuries, running back Khalil Herbert rushed for 64 yards and rookie Trestan Ebner rushed for 23 yards. Fields also had 47 yards rushing.

The Bears were threatening to retake the lead late in the second quarter but couldn’t come up with a big play.

On third-and-5, Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet with a 24-yard pass — Kmet’s first catch of the year — to get to the Texans’ 27-yard line. But the Bears offense stalled three plays later when Jerry Hughes sacked Fields for a loss of 9 yards. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 50-yard field instead to cut it 14-13.

Santos made a 47-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive for a 3-0 lead. And Herbert scored on an 11-yard touchdown run after Montgomery left the game to make it 10-0.

But Davis Mills’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins cut the Bears’ lead to 10-7. That drive included a 52-yard pass to Chris Moore.

And the Texans took a 14-10 lead on Dameon Pierce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 7:32 to play in the second quarter. Pierce had four carries for 41 yards on the drive, which started with Desmond King’s 30-yard punt return.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson forced a fumble and had an interception in the first quarter.

The Texans recovered the fumble, but the pick came at a key moment. With the Texans threatening to take a lead at the Bears’ 7-yard line, cornerback Kindle Vildor broke up Davis Mills’ pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone. Jackson grabbed it out of the air but stepped out of the back of the end zone. The Bears got the ball on their 20.

Jackson’s pick came after Fields threw a pass to Kmet that Texans safety Jalen Pitre intercepted.

Soldier Field guide — and a weather report

There’s a slight chance of rain in Sunday’s forecast, but nowhere near the amount of precipitation fans endured in the Week 1 win over the 49ers (so, no Slip ‘N Slide celebrations this time around). The expected high is set for 69 degrees, with wind of the WNW at 19 mph.

Chicago experiences higher temperatures longer than outlying suburbs due to the heat-island effect. Its location next to Lake Michigan’s warm waters explains why the city and nearby suburbs freeze later in the year than their farther-out counterparts.

Locally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting temperatures leaning above normal and “equal chances” of above or below precipitation from October through December.

If you’re headed to Soldier Field, here’s our guide — including where (and what) to tailgate. And no, you won’t be hearing the Bear Raid siren this year.

Latest stadium news from Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers.

The petition calls for the village to create an “Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance” that would prohibit any financial or other incentive to a business to operate in the village. The petition was submitted by Americans for Prosperity Illinois, part of a libertarian group backed by the conservative Koch brothers. Read the full story here and read all our coverage here.

OC defends the Bears’ run-pass balance

The comparisons were all over social media this week.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has 28 pass attempts in two games this season. Every other team in the league has at least 28 completions and 52 attempts.

The Bears’ measly passing-game numbers, which total 15 completions and 191 yards, have dominated talk, with coach Matt Eberflus saying the Bears need to strive for a better balance in the running and passing games.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy understands it: “I love to throw because I’m a quarterback guy, right?”

And surely Getsy knows Fields needs to throw to develop in his second season. But Getsy also believes in following a plan tailored to what a defense is presenting them. Read the full story here.


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QB Lamar Jackson dazzles again, defense makes big plays late to lead Ravens over Patriots, 37-26

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Qb Lamar Jackson Dazzles Again, Defense Makes Big Plays Late To Lead Ravens Over Patriots, 37-26
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Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns and ran for the decisive score late in a wild 37-26 road win Sunday over the New England Patriots.

Jackson’s 9-yard run on third-and-1 late in the fourth quarter punctuated his dazzling day and handed the Ravens a commanding lead on a topsy-turvy, injury-filled afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Cornerback Marcus Peters’ interception on the Patriots’ subsequent drive was the Ravens’ fourth takeaway of the game, all coming in the second half.

Jackson finished 18-for-29 for 218 yards, four touchdowns and an interception and added 11 carries for 107 yards, including the late score. He’s the third player in NFL history to record four touchdown passes and 100 yards rushing in a single game, joining Cam Newton and Randall Cunningham, according to ESPN Stats and Info. All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews caught eight of his 13 targets for 89 yards and two first-half touchdowns, moving past Torrey Smith for the second most touchdown receptions in team history with 32.

One week after a fourth-quarter collapse in a home loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens (2-1) overcame another spotty day on defense. Quarterback Mac Jones finished 22-for-32 for 321 yards, an impressive day undone by his three costly interceptions. The Ravens also allowed 28 carries for 145 yards (5.2 per carry) and three touchdowns.

The Ravens took a 28-20 lead in the third quarter on back-to-back touchdown catches by tight end Josh Oliver, the first of his career, and wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who toe-tapped for a 4-yard score in the back of the end zone. After an interception by inside linebacker Josh Bynes, kicker Justin Tucker hit a 56-yard field goal — the 50th from at least 50 yards in his career — to extend the Ravens’ lead to 11.

Then the game swung in the Patriots’ favor. New England (1-2) got within single digits on a 1-yard touchdown run, their 75-yard drive helped by an improbable fourth-and-1 scramble by Jones that led to an 8-yard completion to tight end Jonnu Smith. Their 2-point-conversion attempt was ruled no good after an overturned call on another improvised pitch.

After a fumble by wide receiver Rashod Bateman (two catches for 59 yards), the Patriots started knocking on the door again. But on third-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Jones threw his second straight questionable interception, a jump ball to the corner of the end zone that cornerback Marlon Humphrey brought in like a punt return. The pick preserved the Ravens’ 31-26 lead.

Another crucial turnover helped turn back the Patriots. Safety Kyle Hamilton’s chase-down strip midway through the fourth quarter jarred the ball loose from wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a long catch-and-run, and cornerback Marcus Peters, somewhat improbably, recovered the ball before he or the ball were out of bounds.

A resurgent running game carried the Ravens for stretches Sunday. In addition to Jackson’s efforts, running backs Justice Hill and J.K. Dobbins, in his first game since January 2021, combined for 13 carries for 83 yards.

The Ravens’ pass defense, however, even with the return of Brandon Stephens and the improved health of fellow cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, struggled mightily for the second straight week. With leading Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers sidelined by a knee injury, DeVante Parker stepped up. In his first two games, Parker had one catch for 9 yards. On Sunday, he had five catches for 156 yards. Each reception was for 20 yards or more.

The Ravens’ first half was full of fits, starts and injury breaks. On their first and third drives, they went three-and-out. On their fourth drive, Jackson threw an interception into double coverage. On their second and fifth drives, though, they rolled through the Patriots’ defense like it was nothing.

Andrews ended both marches in the end zone. He took a shovel pass on third-and-1 for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead. On his second score, Andrews outjumped safety Devin McCourty for a 16-yard touchdown to help the Ravens retake a 14-10 lead.

Injuries mounted for the Ravens in the first half at hard-hit positions. In the first quarter, emergency left tackle Patrick Mekari — starting because first-stringer Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was again inactive and backup Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon) landed on season-ending injured reserve after Week 1 — exited the game with an ankle injury.

That left rookie tackle Daniel Faalele, who didn’t play a single snap at left tackle over his college career at Minnesota, to contend with the noise inside Gillette Stadium and the speed crashing down Jackson’s blind side. Faalele allowed two sacks in the first half. On the right side, Morgan Moses had two false-start penalties.

Early in the second quarter, the Ravens announced that outside linebacker Justin Houston had left the game with a groin injury. Houston was one of two outside linebackers on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, along with Odafe Oweh. Brandon Copeland (Gilman) had been promoted from the practice squad.

On the Patriots’ go-ahead touchdown drive midway through the second quarter, defensive tackle Michael Pierce left with an arm injury. He was carted off just minutes before Jones scrambled for a 3-yard touchdown, the first rushing score of his career giving New England a 10-7 lead.

Mekari, Pierce and Houston did not return.

This story will be updated.

Week 4

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Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM


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Dolphins finally take down division-behemoth Bills in game that had it all

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Dolphins Finally Take Down Division-Behemoth Bills In Game That Had It All
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There are no division titles handed out in Week 3 — and sure, the Miami Dolphins didn’t get the Buffalo Bills at full strength.

But with everything lined up for the Dolphins to finally take down their AFC East rivals — from the myriad Bills injuries to having them swelter in early-season South Florida heat and humidity — Miami handled its business, even as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was momentarily knocked out of the game and a late safety put the outcome in doubt.

Overcoming remarkable play form Bills quarterback Josh Allen until he short-armed a late throw for a potential go-ahead touchdown and ran out of time on Buffalo’s final chance, the Dolphins topped the division behemoth Bills, 21-19, on Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium.

And Miami, off to its first 3-0 start since 2018, is in first place in the AFC East through three weeks.

The Dolphins snapped a seven-game losing streak to the division-rival Bills (2-1). Miami also extended its home winning streak to eight games, the franchise’s longest since a 10-game stretch from Dec. 17, 1984 to Sept. 14, 1986 at the Orange Bowl.

Allen, who was 42 of 63 for 400 yards and two touchdowns, plus 47 yards rushing, bounced a pass to Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone on fourth down with his team trailing by 4, 21-17.

It proved to be far from over for the Dolphins, though. Having to punt backed up after the turnover on downs, Thomas Morstead’s boot went into the back of upback Trent Sherfield, going out of bounds for a safety.

With both teams out of timeouts, Allen completed a pass over the middle to McKenzie, who could not get out of bounds vying for extra yardage. Time ran out on the Bills.

Tagovailoa, who left momentarily in the first half after a late hit that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty, returned to action for the second half and finished 13 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown in a game where Buffalo dominated time of possession.

Tagovailoa made his throw of the day early in the fourth quarter on third-and-22, hitting an open Waddle deep over the middle for 45 yards. After two timeouts, two plays and an unnecessary roughness by Bills safety Jaquan Johnson on a pass to running back Chase Edmonds, Edmonds ran in a 3-yard score to give Miami a lead, 21-17, with 10:05 remaining.

Tagovailoa escaped pressure on a third-and-3 play right before the two-minute warning, threw a pass that was completed to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, and was pushed to the ground after the throw by linebacker Matt Milano. The back of Tagovailoa’s head banged against the ground in a whiplash effect.

Tagovailoa was walked off the field and into the locker room, under his own power, with trainers alongside him. He was originally questionable to return with the head injury, but Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol at halftime, according to the CBS broadcast.

The Dolphins and Bills were tied at 14 at the time of the injury and going into halftime. Tagovailoa was 8 of 10 for 76 yards with a touchdown pass when he exited. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then entered for Miami’s third-year signal-caller to finish off Miami’s final series of the first half. Tagovailoa then entered for the opening drive of the second half, completing his first pass for 22 yards to Tyreek Hill.

It’s the third consecutive time Tagovailoa has gotten hurt in a meeting with the Bills. In last year’s Week 2 meeting in Miami Gardens, an A.J. Epenesa hit sidelined Tagovailoa with fractured ribs and put him on short-term injured reserve to miss the ensuing three weeks. In the 2021 Oct. 31 game in Orchard Park, Tagovailoa finished the game but came away with a finger injury on his throwing hand that cost him the next one and a half games.

With the teams tied at 14 at the half, Buffalo ate up 9:22 on one third-quarter drive that resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Tyler Bass. The Bills went up, 17-14, covering 87 yards on 20 plays as Allen connected on a series and short passes and scrambled for a 19-yard gain.

The Bills missed an opportunity to extend the lead with their defense as Milano dropped an interception he could’ve scored on. Then, Bass missed a low field-goal attempt wide left to start the fourth quarter.

The Bills struck first on their opening drive Sunday that was capped by a fourth-down 1-yard pass from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to an open Devin Singletary in the end zone. Allen was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the opening series after his first completion, a 28-yard strike over the middle to Stefon Diggs, was nearly a fumble lost with Diggs losing the back. It was ruled that cornerback Xavien Howard barely contacted the receiver.

The Dolphins defense set the offense up to tie later in the first quarter. Jevon Holland broke free on a safety blitz for a strip-sack on Allen, and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 6-yard line. Miami scored on a Chase Edmonds plunge from a yard away after a pass to Trent Sherfield got the team to the 1-yard line.

Buffalo responded early in the second quarter with Allen again finding another South Florida product, Isaiah McKenzie, wide open for a short touchdown pass. The Bills picked up the Dolphins blitz on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, with Singletary blocking Holland in the backfield.

Tagovailoa responded with a nine-play, 83-yard drive yard that was capped by a touchdown pass to practice-squad elevation River Cracraft, his second touchdown in as many weeks up from the practice squad. Tagovailoa threw a dart to Cracraft for the 11-yard scoring strike after also completing chunk plays to Waddle and Hill earlier in the drive.

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football, facing the Bengals on the road in Cincinnati.

This story will be updated.


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Instant Analysis: Miami Dolphins 21, Buffalo Bills 19

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Instant Analysis: Miami Dolphins 21, Buffalo Bills 19
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Chris Perkins, Dolphins Columnist

The Dolphins answered the call in a big way and now they’re the top dog in the AFC East with Sunday’s victory over Buffalo. It was an excellent performance all the way around even if it was ideal in some ways. The Dolphins showed guts, grit and talent. They’re now the team to beat in the AFC East and one of the teams to beat in the AFC.

Keven Lerner, Assistant Sports Editor

The defense bailed out the Dolphins over and over again, and Miami escaped with an incredible win and a perch atop the AFC East…and the conference itself?

Steve Svekis, Sports Senior Content Editor

And, we thought last week was earth-shaking? The Dolphins, propelled by a truly great defensive performance.against a monster quarterback, got the two greatest consecutive regular-season wins in my memory. A legitimate AFC favorite.

This will be updated.


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