Repeat for all needing
CHICAGO (AP) _ The Chicago Bears have gotten the breaks for most of the season, so it was probably just a matter of time before things went the other way.
The time came Sunday, against the Miami Dolphins.
A bad snap led to a blocked Chicago punt with 2:01 left, allowing Miami’s offense, stalled in the snow all afternoon, to score the tying touchdown. Pete Stoyanovich’s 27-yard field goal in overtime then gave the Dolphins a 16-13 victory.
″We definitely needed something good to happen,″ Dolphins coach Don Shula said. ″It took a long time for it to happen and it finally happened ... on the bad snap.″
It was Chicago’s fifth loss in six regular-season meetings between the two teams, including a 38-24 setback in 1985 that spoiled what otherwise would have been an undefeated season.
The loss snapped the Bears’ five-game winning streak and left them at 9-3, while Miami kept alive its playoff hopes at 6-6.
Miami has had some tough-luck losses this season.
″The breaks went in our direction today, and we sure could use some breaks,″ quarterback Dan Marino said.
The big break was center Jerry Fontenot’s bad snap that sailed over punter Maury Buford’s head. When Buford got to the ball and tried to make the kick, it hit Marc Logan and was recovered on Chicago’s 4 by Paul Lankford.
Fontenot said he was trying to adjust because of the swirling winds.
″I rolled my hips and snapped it too long,″ he said.
Buford tried to get a hand on the high snap, but couldn’t.
″We had the game won, we should have won,″ Buford said. ″If I had to do it over again, I would have just jumped on the ball. But I turned around to my right and thought I could get the kick off.″
Logan said he was lucky.
″I just thought, ‘Here’s our opportunity,’ and I just tried to get in front of it,″ he said.
Two plays later, Marino hit Farrell Edmunds with a 2-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 13-13.
The Dolphins won the overtime toss and never gave the Bears a chance. Marino set up the winning score with a 31-yard pass to Mark Clayton, who made a circus catch on the Chicago 5.
Just to make sure Stoyanovich had the perfect shot, Marino took a snap and loss four yards to center the ball for Stoyanovich.
″This is a very tough place to kick this time of the year,″ said Stoyanovich, who kicked two other field goals on a day when snow flurries fell throughout the game, the winds swirled at 16 mph and the wind-chill index at Soldier Field was 4 degrees.
″I can’t wait to get out of here. You can have this kind of weather,″ said Clayton, who caught six passes for 92 yards.
Chicago took a 13-3 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Kevin Butler, capping a 20-play drive that took 11:07 at the start of the second half.
But the Bears couldn’t hold on.
″We win as a team, we lose as a team, and this was a classic example of a team effort to lose a football game,″ coach Mike Ditka said. ″We made too many mistakes and couldn’t overcome them.″
Chicago dominated the game up to the point of the blocked punt, and had an edge in almost every important statistical department at the end.
Chicago, which had a chance to move within a game of Washington for the best record in NFC, now finds itself with only a one-game lead over the Lions in the Central Division race. The Bears play at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
″We’re only one game up, so it’s going to be a challenge,″ said Harbaugh.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, are home to face Tampa Bay on Sunday.
″I think this win will be a big boost for us and hopefully help us get into the playoffs,″ Marino said.