The Chicago Bears knocked off the Los Angeles Rams and their vaunted offense on a chilly night at Soldier Field. The Rams looked uncomfortable all night, partly due to temps in the 20s, but mostly due to the electric crowd and the dominating Bears defense. With the low scoring 15-6 final, It was a type of game that most Bears fans have come to know and love, and quite the change up for a national audience that has seen offensive explosions creep their way into the league. The Bears proved to everybody that defense is not dead in this league, and a good defense can stop a good offense. They did more than just stop the Rams, however, they absolutely shut them down. They might as well have not even made the trip. The Rams had only 214 offensive yards, a far cry from their average of 440 coming into the game.
Jared Goff has never looked worse on a NFL football field. He was 20 for 44 with 180 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions, and he was sacked three times. League rushing leader Todd Gurley ran for a season-low, only 28 yards. Sean McVay admitted to being out-coached. It was the first time in his two seasons as a head coach that his team failed to score a touchdown.
Jordan Howard rushed for over 100 yards in a game, finally, for the first time this season. He had 101 yards on 19 carries to be exact, good for 5.3/attempt. The Aaron Donald-led defensive front of the Rams got a lot of media attention leading up to this game due to Donald’s league-leading 16.5 sacks, but he was not a factor at all. Rookie James Daniels (with some double-team help) took care of Donald, and the entire Bears offensive line opened up gaping holes for Howard and Cohen, as they combined for 170 yards on the ground. The Bears controlled the tempo, they chewed off big chunks of clock with each drive, which led to a 61-39% time-of-possession advantage.
This team can beat ANYBODY: Prove. Me. Wrong.
The Rams came into this game average nearly 35 points per game; the Bears gave up two field goals. They absolutely dominated the best offense in the league and there is nothing out there to say the Bears cannot do that again. This is the best defense in the league; they limit big plays, they stuff the run, they rush the passer, and they lead the league in takeaways. They have 34 takeaways so far this season, which is the most by a team since the Panthers had 39 in 2015, they went to the Super Bowl. They have 25 interceptions so far this season, which is the most since the Seahawks had 28 in their Super Bowl Championship season in 2013 (according to @kfishbain on Twitter). They have playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, which has led to six defensive scores.
Do not tell me the Bears found their running game, that is the last thing the NFL wants to hear, but boy, am I EXCITED. I’ve waited all season for a running game. They had one last week for a half and then abandoned it. This week, Jordan Howard broke through against the Rams for 101 yards and Tarik Cohen kept it going with a respectable 69-yard game. IF that is foreshadowing what is to come you can book that trip to Atlanta in February.
The Bears have been a top-10 scoring offense all season. A running game immediately puts this offense into a spot where they can take control of a game. Throughout the season the Bears have averaged 31:26, or 52.39%, time of possession, which is good for fourth in the league. That is great because when you have the ball you can control the game. I previously mentioned the 61-39% split the Bears had against the Rams. The offense ran the ball terrifically, which killed the clock and gave their defense rest while tiring out the opposing defense. That is how you beat playoff-caliber teams, control the clock. Which is why I think the Bears can make a very serious run for the Super Bowl if the running game has been found.
To cap off why this is a Super Bowl caliber team…
This team has a ball hawking secondary just itching to intercept a ball, and it doesn’t end there, they want to take that ball and score with it. They lead the league in turnover differential, which means they force more mistakes than the other team. They stuff the run, which forces teams into having to make those tricky throws that can be picked off. They get off the field on third down by no allowing a lot of first downs. Point differential may be the most underrated stat in the league. The Bears have scored 112 more points than their opponents. They have lost by a combined margin of 14 points over the course of their four losses. Which means, when they win they usually win by a healthy margin. This is a team that is well-coached. Matt Nagy has a new trick play every week and Vic Fangio dials up so many different defensive looks that offenses have no idea how to move the ball against them.
It is good to be a Bears fan right now. Their 9-4 record has them well in first place and there is a chance that they can clinch the division next week when the Packers come into town.