Rams’ Defense Shines in 24-10 Victory Over Bears


Photo courtesy of WilI Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via OCRegister.com

Rams defensive back Troy Hill (22) breaks up a pass intended for Bears receiver Darnell Mooney (11). Fellow Rams defender Taylor Rapp (24) hauls in the interception. The Rams’ defense intercepted Bears quarterback Nick Foles twice, while keeping the Chicago offense out of the end zone.

The Rams took down the Monsters of the Midway, defeating the Chicago Bears 24-10. Here’s what we learned from Monday Night Football’s duel at SoFi Stadium:

Rams’ Defense Bounces Back

After a down week against San Francisco, the Rams’ defense shook off the rust and looked lively. They limited the Bears to 49 yards on the ground and only allowed a field goal on offense. A week after tallying zero sacks, L.A. registered three quarterback takedowns and forced a pair of interceptions. Former Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd led the way with two sacks and a pair of tackles for loss. Aaron Donald registered his first sack against Nick Foles, too. Okay, he split the sack with fellow lineman Greg Gaines, but it still shows up on the stat sheet. This Rams defense has played exceptionally well in the fourth quarter, only allowing opposing offenses to score 26 total points throughout the season. 

Efficient Offense

Los Angeles’ offense came back to life, too. Quarterback Jared Goff was sharp, completing 23 of his 33 passes for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While the Chicago defense got up in Goff’s grill, the Rams’ offensive line kept him clean for the most part. They only gave up a single sack all game, which is incredible considering they had to fend off former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and former Ram Robert Quinn. Keeping with the offense, the Rams had almost four times as many rushing yards as their Chicago counterparts. Darrell Henderson continues to put together an excellent sophomore campaign, leading the team with 64 yards on the ground. Not to be outdone, fellow backfield mate Malcolm Brown chipped in 57 rushing yards of his own, along with a touchdown. This running game continues to act as the engine of this offense, with about four different Rams players contributing more than 10 yards on the ground. 

Big Nick Energy Not Enough for Bears Offense

Chicago fans had to have been pulling their hair throughout this one. While the Rams defense did a good job of holding them in check, the Bears had a few prime opportunities to score touchdowns. During their first series of the third quarter, Nick Foles overthrew a wide open Darnell Mooney on third down. On their next drive, Big Nick drove Chicago to the Rams’ nine yard line, but threw an interception in the red zone. To be fair, that was just a great pass break up by Troy Hill and heads up play by Taylor Rapp, who had the ball batted into his hands. After the Rams missed a field goal, Foles led the offense back into L.A. territory. On 4th&goal, from the four yard line, Foles took an ugly eight yard sack. Turnover on downs. Chicago’s next/last two possessions ended in an interception and another turnover on downs. Foles couldn’t spin any comeback magic.

Johnny Hekker for MVP

I said what I said. Now listen, I know the odds are against us here. No punter has ever won the NFL MVP award. No special teams player has won the award since kicker Mark Moseley in 1982. That year, the NFL season was shortened to nine games because of a players’ strike. That season, Moseley made 20 of his 21 field goal attempts, and the then Washington Redskins went 8-1. Will Hekker take home the prestigious award? No (my early season pick is Russell Wilson). But he did have a phenomenal game, punting five times for a net average of 44.2 yards. All five of those punts were either downed at or inside the 10 yard line. Hekker is arguably the best punter in football, so let’s give him the recognition he deserves. At least name him the NFC Special Teams Player of the week.

The win puts the Rams at 5-2 on the season. This is their first win against a non-NFC East opponent this season. More importantly, the win keeps them afloat in an extremely competitive NFC West, with the Seahawks and Cardinals each sporting five wins as well. Meanwhile, it’s Tua-time next week, as they square off against a surging Dolphins team. This will be the first career start for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whom Miami selected with the fifth overall pick this last draft. Kickoff will take place at 10 am PST at Hard Rock Stadium.