Chicago used a physical defense and excellent special teams play to defeat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. The Bears topped the Rams, 15-6, and are on the doorstep of winning the NFC North. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in- game report:
The Sunday night showdown was largely about the defensive efforts of the respective teams but running back Tarik Cohen left his mark on the contest. Head coach Matt Nagy is as creative a playcaller as there is in the NFL, he follows his mentor, Andy Reid’s philosophy of getting your best players the ball in space. Cohen can make plays in the passing game, the running game and through his return ability. Cohen (5’6 179) is one of the smaller players in the league but he is built well and has very strong legs. The back isn’t afraid to lower his shoulders and run behind his pads and between tackles. Coupled with his acceleration, Cohen is a hard cover. His running back mate, Jordan Howard, runs most of the power running plays between the tackles but Cohen can run the same concepts but at a lower rate. The former North Carolina A&T running back makes his money on the outside and in space. The Bears running back finished with 111 all-purpose yards, and the team as a whole put up 336.
A mark of a good defense is the ability to make the opposing offense uncomfortable and force them to find new ways to score. Chicago forced Rams quarterback Jared Goff to throw four interceptions and held Los Angeles to 214 yards of total offense. The pocket was rarely clean for Goff, who was sacked three times and when it was clean, he rushed throws and made errant reads. Chicago didn’t do much better than the Rams offensively (294 total yards) but the Bears have the type of defense that can carry its football team. Khalil Mack stirs the drink but the Bears possess playmakers at all three levels of the defense.
Rams play calling
The Rams rank in the top five in scoring per game, passing yards per game and rushing yards per game but looked ordinary against the Bears. Sean McVay is a Coach of the Year candidate and the honor is warranted but his play calling was suspect on Sunday night. The Rams best player offensively, Todd Gurley, carried the ball just 11 times and he finished with just three receptions despite being targeted seven times in the passing game. The passing numbers aside, Gurley should’ve seen more touches in the running game. On 2nd and 15 to start the third quarter, McVay opted for a shotgun set when his team was on its own five-yard line. Bears defensive lineman Eddie Goldman capitalized and sacked Goff for a safety.
“Really, consistently over and over I continue to put our players in bad spots,” McVay said during the postgame press conference. “Certainly a humbling night, but it’s one you get a chance to look at yourself critically, find a way to get better and move forward accordingly and that’s exactly what we’re going to do and that’s all I know how to do. And I have to be better for our football team. This loss is on me. I didn’t do a nearly good enough job for us today. I trust we will respond the right way.”
The Rams coach accepted blame for the loss. Look for Los Angeles to establish the running game early in their next game against the Eagles.