The Chicago Bears had a ready response for Brandon Marshall’s taunting.
Julius Peppers and a swarming defense allowed only 187 yards and a single third-down conversion Thursday night in Miami, and the Bears won, 16-0, to send the injury-ravaged Dolphins to their second home shutout in 40 years.
Marshall drew a flag for taunting when he flipped the ball at former Denver teammate Jay Cutler, standing in front of the Bears’ bench. Marshall also was penalized for an illegal block and dropped two passes before he left the game in the second quarter after aggravating a sore hamstring.
Miami’s already depleted offensive line lost center Cory Procter with a left knee injury. And with third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen taking six sacks in his first NFL start since 2008, the Dolphins were no match for a Bears defense that took over the NFL lead in points allowed per game.
Playing in Miami for the first time since losing Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis, the Bears (7-3) won for the third time in 12 days and moved a half-game ahead of Green Bay atop the NFC North.
Peppers had three sacks for the Bears, who earned their first shutout since Nov. 19, 2006, against the Jets. The Dolphins were blanked for the first time since a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh during their one-win season in 2007. Their only other home shutout since the first year of the Don Shula era came in 2001.
Robbie Gould’s three field goals and Matt Forte’s 97 yards and one touchdown lifted the Bears, who converted 10 of 18 third downs and controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes. Miami went 1-for-12 on third down.
A 46-yard kickoff return to start the game gave the Dolphins (5-5) their best scoring threat. They moved inside the Bears’ 35 for the first time on the game’s final play.
Carolina Panthers rookie Jimmy Clausen missed practice again Thursday with a concussion sustained Sunday against Tampa Bay, so coach John Fox picked Brian St. Pierre to be his starting quarterback against Baltimore over rookie Tony Pike. … Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was back with the team after a season-long injury to the bursa sac in his right knee sent him to the hospital for an overnight stay. … Special-teams star Dwight Lowery will sit out the New York Jets’ game against the Houston Texans on Sunday with a concussion. … The Cincinnati Bengals have signed fifth-year NFL defensive end Victor Adeyanju and put Jonathan Fanene on injured reserve.