American Football: Miami mauling chews up Bears' perfect start

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The Independent Online

At the start of Sunday's play, only two teams had yet to taste defeat this season, and that number has been reduced to just one following a surprise defeat for the Chicago Bears at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins have endured a frustrating year, but their unexpected 31-13 humbling of the Bears may yet revive their hopes. The quarterback, Joey Harrington, threw three touchdown passes, but the win owed more to the efforts of the running back Ronnie Brown, who gained a career-high 157 yards.

Chicago were certainly the architects of their own downfall. Their quarterback, Rex Grossman, threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Jason Taylor. "This hurts bad," Grossman said.

Chicago's demise leaves the Indianapolis Colts as the only team yet to lose.

They visited New England, a graveyard of Colt aspirations recently, only to come away with an impressive 27-20 verdict.

The Colts' main strength is their offense, so it was no shock to see the quarterback Peyton Manning throw a pair of touchdowns to Marvin Harrison.

More surprising was the performance of their defense. The normally assured and accurate New England passer Tom Brady was forced into four interceptions in the face of relentless Indianapolis pressure.

The strangest ending of the season so far occurred in Washington, where the Redskins edged their bitter rivals the Dallas Cowboys on a field goal with no time remaining.

The kicker Nick Novak ran the full gamut of emotions. First, he failed with a 49-yard kick with 31 seconds remaining. That gave the Cowboys a chance but, with six seconds left, the Dallas kicker Mike Vanderjagt saw his effort blocked. Washington's Sean Taylor scooped up the loose ball and returned it to midfield as the clock ran out.

However, a penalty against the Cowboys gave the Redskins one final play, and Novak made no mistake, obliging from 47 yards out. "It's a short walk from outhouse to penthouse," he said.