Todd Gurley, Rams Beat Bears as Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky Both Struggle

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 18, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Jared Goff #16 and Tyler Higbee #89 during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams survived an ugly Sunday Night Football contest by defeating the Chicago Bears 17-7 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

L.A. opened a 10-0 halftime lead off a Greg Zuerlein 38-yard field goal and a one-yard Todd Gurley II rush. The Bears had a couple scoring chances, but kicker Eddy Piniero missed 48- and 47-yard field goals.

Chicago eventually got on the scoreboard with a Tarik Cohen 14-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, but Los Angeles rebounded with a five-yard touchdown run via Malcolm Brown late in the fourth.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for just 4.4 yards per attempt en route to completing 24 of his 43 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Trubisky was removed late in the game for backup Chase Daniel. The Bears' public relations team tweeted that the signal-caller suffered a hip injury and was questionable to return.

As for the Rams, Gurley led the way with 133 scrimmage yards and touchdown.

Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff only threw 18 passes, completing 11 for 173 yards and an interception. He played without starting wideouts Robert Woods (personal issue) and Brandin Cooks (concussion).

The 4-6 Bears' season is all but over at this point, with the team four games behind the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North lead. Chicago trails the 8-3 Minnesota Vikings, who occupy the final wild-card spot, by three-and-a-half games.

Despite the win, the 6-4 Rams are in danger of missing the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl last year.

Like the Bears, they are currently looking up at the Vikings. However, the Rams have an even bigger mountain to climb for their division, with L.A. three games behind the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West lead.

            

Notable Performances

Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky: 24-of-43, 190 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Bears WR Taylor Gabriel: 7 catches, 57 yards

Bears RB Tarik Cohen: 9 carries for 39 yards; 5 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD

Rams QB Jared Goff: 11-of-18, 173 yards, 1 INT

Rams WR Josh Reynolds: 3 receptions for 55 yards

Rams RB Todd Gurley: 25 carries for 97 yards and 1 TD; 3 receptions for 36 yards

     

Rams Defense Leads the Way

The Rams under head coach Sean McVay established a clear identity in 2017 and 2018 behind an explosive, high-flying and powerful offense that could effortlessly drop 30 points against anyone.

That hasn't carried over to 2019 for various reasons: Todd Gurley and Jared Goff haven't been as effective, and key members of the pass-catching group have missed time. L.A. entered Sunday ranked 21st in offensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders.

The offense still struggled on Sunday (albeit against a tough Chicago Bears defense), but the Rams emerged victorious because of a new identity.

Keyed by the game's best defensive player in Aaron Donald, the Rams defense has been phenomenal of late, allowing just 11.0 points per game over their last four contests. None of their last four opponents have managed over 6.8 yards per pass attempt, and the teams have averaged just 64.5 rushing yards.

Granted, Los Angeles entered the evening facing an advantageous matchup with the struggling Bears offense, but holding any NFL team to seven points is an impressive task regardless of the opponent.

Donald was in the backfield all night, earning two sacks and four quarterback hits. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey helped shut down Allen Robinson II to the tune of four catches for 15 yards. For good measure, Troy Hill defended three passes and intercepted another too.

Los Angeles has some work to do to crawl back into the playoff picture, but at the very least, the defense should keep the Rams competitive enough down the stretch to have a chance.

     

Bears' Passing and Kicking Games Falter

The Chicago Bears have lost four of their last five games, and the lone win came against a 3-6-1 Detroit Lions team that was forced to start backup signal-caller Jeff Driskel on short notice.

There are multiple causes for the losing streak, but the kicking and passing games may be the top two on the list.

Eddy Piniero began the season on a hot streak, making nine of his 10 field goals and all of his 11 extra-point attempts. But he went 3-of-5 on field goals in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers and missed two Sunday on a night when the Bears were desperate for points.

To his credit, Piniero didn't offer any excuses postgame, per Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic:

Piniero was once the hero after knocking home a 53-yard field goal with no time remaining to beat the Denver Broncos 16-14 in Week 2, so he's excelled in clutch situations before. However, recent misses are magnified with the Bears' margin of error so thin. 

As for Trubisky, he entered the evening having posted just 5.8 yards per pass attempt (versus 7.4 in 2018) and a 85.2 quarterback rating (versus 95.4 last year).

The struggles continued on Sunday, but in fairness, he started well as Aaron Leming of 247Sports noted:

His lone interception also could have easily been incomplete (or caught) after deflecting off wideout Anthony Miller:

Trubisky engineered a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive capped by a 14-yard pass to Tarik Cohen too.

But the third-year signal-caller went just 5-of-10 for 23 passing yards for the remainder of the game.

Next Gen Stats provided his passing chart, pointing out concerns throwing deep and to the left:

Trubisky is simply not performing to the standards set when he was drafted second overall in 2017. At the same time, fellow draft class members Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (picked 10th) and Houston Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson (picked 12th) are excelling with their teams:

In sum, the Bears' issues go far beyond Piniero and Trubisky.

The run game entered the night averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. The defense has not been as strong, most notably when it gave up 123 rushing yards and two scores to running back Josh Jacobs in a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

However, the Bears now have two more losses this season (six) than they did all of last regular season (four), and that's with six games still to go. By any measure, this season has been a major disappointment.

     

What's Next?

The Bears will host the New York Giants on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Soldier Field. The Rams will welcome the Baltimore Ravens into L.A. on November 25 at 8:15 p.m.

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