The Los Angeles Rams have to keep winning just to keep up in the daunting NFC West, and that is exactly what they did Monday.
Los Angeles improved to 5-2 with a 24-10 victory over the Chicago Bears in Monday's potential playoff preview at SoFi Stadium. Jared Goff and the defense led the way with impressive performances, helping the Rams bounce back from their loss to the San Francisco 49ers and move closer to the 5-1 Seattle Seahawks in a division with every team above .500.
The 5-2 Bears saw their two-game winning streak come to an end with an abysmal performance from Nick Foles' offense and fell behind the 5-1 Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
Notable Player Stats
- Jared Goff, QB, LAR: 23-of-33 for 219 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
- Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, LAR: 15 carries for 64 yards; 2 catches for 13 yards
- Malcolm Brown, RB, LAR: 10 carries for 57 yards, 1 TD
- Josh Reynolds, WR, LAR: 4 catches for 52 yards, 1 TD
- Nick Foles, QB, CHI: 28-of-40 for 261 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
- Allen Robinson, WR, CHI: 4 catches for 70 yards
Rams Offense Impresses Against Stout Bears Defense
It's not often the biggest names on each side are defensive players, but that was the case Monday.
Aaron Donald is a six-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, while Khalil Mack is a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and one-time Defensive Player of the Year. Donald wrecks opposing game plans by overpowering linemen in the middle, while Mack uses a head-turning burst to get around the edge.
Both consistently draw double-teams that open up blitzing lanes for teammates, but the Rams did a much better job out of the gates in neutralizing the pass rush with a combination of bootlegs to get Goff in space, tempo and short passes to remain ahead of the sticks.
Goff started the scoring by finding Josh Reynolds for a touchdown in the first quarter, but Chicago's defense kept the visitors in striking distance with a bend-but-don't break approach for the rest of the half.
That approach disappeared in the second half.
Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. started powering their way through the middle of a tired defense that was tasked with trying to make a big play every time it was on the field because of Chicago's terrible offense on the other side.
Brown scored the second touchdown before Goff found Gerald Everett to completely break it open. The variety of play-calling and ability for the Rams to counter Chicago's strength was a testament to head coach Sean McVay, and Los Angeles' offense now has plenty of momentum heading into the middle portion of the season following a couple of lackluster efforts.
Bears Offense Lost Once Again
An offensive showdown on paper this was not.
Entering play, the Rams were 18th in the league in points per game and failed to reach 20 points in two of their last three contests. Chicago was worse at 27th in points per game, and it was apparent why from the start.
The Bears managed a single field goal in the first half as they wasted timeouts because players didn't know where to line up, took multiple costly sacks, failed to establish the run and had a key false start to cancel out a fourth-down conversion that could have generated some early momentum.
It was more of the same for a team that has been forced to come back throughout the year because it rarely looks ready to play on the offensive side. That this was coming against Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Co. made the concerns all the more glaring.
The second half was no better, as Foles missed a wide-open Darnell Mooney on a play that could have been a touchdown and then threw a terrible interception to Taylor Rapp in the end zone when the offense was finally moving the ball.
That head coach Matt Nagy had the slow Foles roll to his left and throw against his body on the play certainly didn't help, and the coach appeared to make another poor play call when he called a toss to kick-return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson on 4th-and-1.
Like the Bears offense, that play failed magnificently.
Both teams are in action again in Week 8 when the Rams are at the Miami Dolphins and the Bears host the New Orleans Saints.