At the end of the 1985 season, the Los Angeles Rams came to cold Solider Field for the NFC championship game. They couldn’t move the ball, got shut out and the Bears went to the Super Bowl.
This Bears defense isn’t same as the one from 1985. But, this Rams offense isn’t the one led by 1985 quarterback Dieter Brock, either.
Everyone who tuned in to see the Bears and Rams square off in a battle of NFC division leaders saw the Chicago defense absolutely shut down what might be the best offense in the NFL. The Rams hadn’t scored less than 23 points in a game all season, and had scored less than 29 only once. But they rarely sustained a drive in a 15-6 loss against a Bears defense that is going to be a factor in the playoffs.
Todd Gurley couldn’t get much going. Jared Goff was under pressure all night and it caused him into many mistakes. The Bears broke a 6-6 tie with a safety, which was fitting. The Bears’ run defense was stifling, the coverage was tremendous and the pass rush never let up. There was no place for the Rams offense to go. The Rams had just 195 yards before a meaningless play on their final possession.
The league is moving toward offense, with more good quarterbacks than ever in the NFL and a lot of creative offensive coaches using them well. But the Bears are showing that you can still win a lot of games with a great defense. Bears fans who were alive 33 years ago are fine with that.
Bears did well taking away Todd Gurley
The key to the Rams offense is Gurley, the do-everything running back who at times this season has looked like a threat to challenge the NFL single-season touchdown record. The Rams didn’t use him enough, but he didn’t do much with his opportunities.
The Bears played tough up the middle on defense, and they wouldn’t let Gurley break any long runs to the outside. Gurley had 28 yards on 11 carries.
Without Gurley setting the pace for the offense, Goff had no chance. He threw four interceptions. He threw plenty of passes that missed badly, often because he had a pass rusher disrupting him. Goff was 20-of-44 for 180 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions and a 19.1 passer rating. We hadn’t seen the Rams offense struggle all season. They were totally shut down on Sunday night.
It’s a damaging loss for the Rams. They fell to 11-2, and back into a tie with the New Orleans Saints for the top record in the NFC. The Saints have the tiebreaker thanks to a head-to-head win over the Rams. The Rams will be heavily favored to win their three remaining games, but they’ll still get stuck with the No. 2 seed if the Saints win out too.
Bears offense doesn’t do much either
The Bears offense didn’t do much. Mitchell Trubisky returned from a shoulder injury and did not play well. He also missed badly on many passes and also threw three interceptions.
The Bears did create some offense on a gadget play, with three defensive linemen in the game, a fake handoff to defensive end Akiem Hicks and a touchdown pass to offensive tackle Bradley Sowell. That play pushed the Bears’ lead to 15-6 in the third quarter, and the Rams never really made a charge after that. You kept expecting Gurley to break a long run or Goff to find a receiver running open downfield on a creative play by Sean McVay, but it never happened. The Bears didn’t allow it to happen.
Given the competition, it might have been the best defensive performance by any team in the NFL this season (the Cowboys’ win over the Saints is the only other one in the conversation). If the teams meet again this season it would be in the playoffs, and that game would likely be in Los Angeles. After Sunday the Rams probably don’t want to see the Bears any more.
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