Bears’ Defense Overwhelms Ailing Dolphins in Shutout

Miami’s already depleted offense lost the Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall to a hamstring injury and center Cory Procter because of a left knee injury. With the third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen struggling in his first start since 2008, the Dolphins (5-5) were no match for a Bears defense that took over the league lead in points allowed per game.

The Bears (7-3) won for the third time in 12 days and moved a half-game ahead of atop the N.F.C. North.

SCHAUB EXPECTS TO PLAY quarterback Matt Schaub is back with the team after he was hospitalized with an injury to the bursa sac in his right knee.

Schaub practiced Thursday, and Coach Gary Kubiak said he expected his No. 1 quarterback to start when the Texans visit the Jets on Sunday.

Kubiak said Schaub took about half the first-team snaps Thursday. The only way Schaub will not start is if he has a setback.

“Everything is pointing in the right direction,” Kubiak said.

Schaub said his knee has been bothering him most of the season. He said the pain increased Tuesday morning, and he checked into a local hospital and stayed overnight. He said the knee did not bother him during Thursday’s workout.

GOING BEYOND THIRD STRING Brian St. Pierre has thrown five passes in eight N.F.L. seasons. He was not in a training camp this summer, and as recently as last week was a stay-at-home dad.

On Sunday, he will start for the .

A season of multiple injuries and one victory took an even stranger twist when Coach John Fox picked St. Pierre, 30, over the rookie Tony Pike to play against Baltimore.

That is good enough to start for Carolina, which has no healthy, experienced quarterback.

The rookie Jimmy Clausen missed practice again Thursday with a concussion sustained Sunday against Tampa Bay. Matt Moore was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury last week.

Enter St. Pierre, who since becoming a fifth-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2003 is 2 of 5 for 12 yards, a touchdown and an interception with three teams.

St. Pierre, who last practiced in January as he finished a stint with Arizona, was spending his days taking care of his 18-month-old son in the Boston area. He was signed to the practice squad Friday and promoted to the active roster Tuesday.

GIANTS THIN AT TACKLE The Giants are uncertain who will play left tackle Sunday with Shawn Andrews sitting out a second consecutive practice with soreness in his back. Andrews had started at left tackle the past two games in place of the injured David Diehl.

“He’s being treated, and hopefully he’ll be a little better today and a little better tomorrow,” Coach said of Andrews, whose status is day-to-day. “He has had a stiff, sore back before, so this is what we’re dealing with right now.”

MARK VIERA ’ SECONDARY HOBBLED The Washington Redskins could be without half of their starting defensive backfield when they face the on Sunday.

Carlos Rogers said his right hamstring was sore after hurting it Monday against Philadelphia, and safety LaRon Landry has a sore Achilles’ tendon that has limited him in practice for weeks. (AP)

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