Rams v. Bears - Week 7 recap
Keys to outcome
1.) The pretense of defense
The Los Angeles Rams' defense surrendered just three points to the Chicago Bears' offense.
I don't think there are superlatives you could throw at this defense that they don't deserve after this one. They created tons of disruption up front to ensure it wasn't just the Aaron Donald show. The secondary was fantastic. Save for a few overly aggressive moves from CB Jalen Ramsey (none of which the Rams were punished for thanks to DC Brandon Staley's playcalling and the front's execution), they were pretty perfect. CB Troy Hill was sterling negating nearly all of the looks his way and creating a great interception in the end zone for S Taylor Rapp. CB Darious Williams was stifling. And FS John Johnson III (aka John Johnny Johnston Johnstone Johannasson IV) played better center field than Cody Bellinger (NOT NOW).
It's just a group that's performing at a very very high level from front to back and masking the deficiencies across the linebackers. And if they can do that against the 5-1 Bears as comprehensively and competently as they did here, they can do it well enough against stronger offenses to compete.
This was good.
2.) McVay's return
Make no mistake. Rams HC Sean McVay needed to have a good showing to put his offense on good terms to be able to succeed. After what happened in San Francisco, McVay was in a sore position to respond to last week.
QB Jared Goff was frequently in space that wasn't created by his offensive line to operate and pick apart a very good Chicago defense. That latter portion was reinforced frequently enticing Goff into some bad decisions mostly in the first half to throw some interceptable passes that favorably went to ground.
But given the caliber of opposition, McVay did a fantastic job when it was needed most.
3.) Hekk yeah
P Johnny Hekker put his foot up the entire ass of that game.
Personal story time.
I went to the Rams' Week 15 21-44 loss against the Dallas Cowboys last year with some longtime friends. At one point, I stood up to cheer a fantastic punt from Hekker. After doing so, my boy asked me why the hell I was cheering a punter.
I told him because he's that damn good.
This game reminded everyone that that's the case.
5 key factors revisited (from game preview)
1.) Pressuring Foles
The boys got it done last night. They finished with 8 hits on Bears QB Nick Foles and four sacks without having to rely solely on Aaron Donald. OLB Leonard Floyd had what might go down as his best game as a Ram with two legitimate sacks and a very good night overall. Box, checked.
2.) Malcolm Brown in Poundtown
We saw instances of this throughout the night punctuated by RB Malcolm Brown's 1-yard touchdown as he painted Bears LB Roquan Smith's chest:
3.) (Red zone) opportunity knocks
Red zone trip 1: Touchdown
Trip 2: Field goal
Trip 3: Touchdown
Trip 4: Touchdown
That'll do, pig. That'll do.
4.) Paper tigers still bite
What was perhaps most relevant here was the expanse of the victory. This was not a close game by any means. If there was a degree to which the Rams could prove a level of competency with a victory here (and the Bears could ratify the "paper tiger" charge), it was only likely to be so with a demonstrative win.
Which was exactly what the Rams delivered.
5.) K Sam Sloman
3 key matchups revisited (from game preview)
1.) Rams' edge rushers v. Bears' tackles
Well done, boys.
2.) Rams LT Andrew Whitworth & RT Rob Havenstein v. Bears EDGE Khalil Mack
Good lord that kid's good. Whit and Hav did their best (for the most part...), but he's just a hell of a lot to deal with. Perhaps if they're deserving of credit here, they only allowed one big play from Mack. I suppose if you were offered that pre-game, you'd take it if only because the chances are he's going to produce more than that on average.
3.) Rams HC Sean McVay v. Bears DC Chuck Pagano
Sean had a good game overall. I know there were some criticisms of leaning into the pass too much in the first half, but I think this was a clear instance of a gameplan where McVay wanted to pass to open the run. Thankfully, he was successful in that aim. it worked well, and the Rams benefitted from it overall.
Jared did a fine job operating the system, but he had numerous poor decisions especially in the first half. I remarked on Twitter last night that he threw three interceptions in those first 30 minutes. The Bears just didn't catch them.
Very good game from Brown and Darrell Henderson, Jr., finishing with 25 carries for 121 yards and even that's misleading since the final two possessions featured the two running the clock out.
Good game for WR Josh Reynolds, but again this was a team effort. Reynolds, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson combined for 14 receptions on 20 targets for 141 yards and the touchdown to Josh. They didn't need to be spectacular (and they weren't), but they did need to be proficient. And they were.
HELLO, JOHNNY MUNDT! No Tyler Higbee? No problem. Really good game for this group.
Not their best game, but they did enough especially in the run game.
They absolutely shut down the Bears' running game. A great example of Michael Brockers' impact in one of his best games as a Ram.
Floyd was fantastic, and we got a lil preview of what Terrell Lewis can do when he shut down Cordarelle Patterson on a 4th down attempt. Also good evidence of how shook the Rams' defense had the Bears' offense to even run that playcall.
The defensive front did most of the work in the run game, but I thought this was perhaps the best game in pass defense from Micah Kiser. The Rams went heavy with defensive backs this game and didn't have too much work beyond Kiser this week.
The coverage all night was very very good. Even some of the bigger catches from Chicago's offense came amid very tight defense. Mentioned the fantastic job the secondary did above, but they were just phenomenal.
Not going to spend too much concern over K Sam Sloman here because Hekker was incredible.
McVay was in his bag, and Staley continues to excel. What's amazing is just how good the Rams have been in the second halves of games. This coaching staff is winning every single halftime break.
Great game from the defense with plenty of offense in support. Caliber of the Bears' resume aside, the Rams beat a 5-1 team with ease.
That's a hell of a referendum on where this team is at right now.