Today’s game was going to be decided in the trenches. Both offensive lines were iffy going into the game so we knew the more aggressive defense would give their team the win.
The Bears defense was pushing the patchwork Rams offensive line. This meant not enough time and more importantly more sacks on Sam Bradford. And it’s not just on the left side. Bears defenders have been getting penetration all along the line of scrimmage.
One tweet I saw pretty much sums it up: “That’s it, rams are back to 2011 form today…”
Offensive o-line (6 sacks on Bradford, 7 tackles for loss and 9 QB hits), stalled running game (59 yards total rushing), and STUPID (and I mean stupid) bonehead personal fouls from safety Darian Stewart and special teams Mario Haggan that just killed the Rams’ momentum.
The only bright spot for the Rams and the sole source of their points came from their kicker Greg Zuerlein who booted a 56-yard and 46-yard field goals. And I should mention the INT by cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
But the biggest stat of the day: The Rams did not have a red zone possession all afternoon.
I repeat the Rams didn’t get past the Bears’ 20 yard line. Just an all around offensive fail if you ask me.
The Rams defense held the Bears to a total of four offensive yards in the third quarter. FOUR and was still in the game trailing only 6-10. The Rams accumulated 74 yards of offense but could only turn it into three points on the board.
The Rams were still in the game going into the fourth quarter yet couldn’t hold the Bears from scoring 13 points and couldn’t get more than 55 yards of offense.
Now to answer my 5 questions:
1) Can the Rams offensive line keep Sam Bradford upright and allow him to throw down field?
Um, no. As stated above Bradford absorbed 6 sacks and 9 hits. And it wasn’t just the left side. The entire o-line crumbled when facing pressure. Bradford finished the day with 18/35 for 152 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, sacked 6 times for a loss of 51 yards. QB rating= 39.2.
The Rams had to double team Bears DT Henry Melton which opened up lanes for lesser known Bears defenders Israel Idonije (2.5 sacks), Stephen Paea, Nick Roach, and Amobi Okoye (1 sack each). Julius Peppers was credited with 0.5 sack.
2) Conversely, can the Rams defense attack the equally shaky Bears offensive line to make quarterback Jay Cutler’s afternoon as uncomfortable as possible?
Cutler didn’t have much of a better day than Bradford. Bears’ points came from kicker Robbie Gould (54, 22, and 37 yards), a Michael Bush 3 yard TD run, and a pick 6 from Major Wright. Cutler’s stat line: 17 of 31 for 183 yards. He took 2 sacks (both Chris Long) losing 12 yards and his QB rating was 58.9.
3) Who will Rams cornerback pick as his latest Finnegan Factor victim?
I’ll have to go back and look at the game again but it looks like the Bears did a fairly good job of keeping level headed.
4) Will Bears return man extraordinaire and wide receiver wannabe Devin Hester be a factor in the game?
Hester had 3 kick returns for a total of 85 yards with the longest run being 37 yards. He also logged in 3 punt returns for 39 yards with a long run of 19 yards. He was a non-factor as a wide receiver with zero catches from 2 targets. The Rams special teams did a good job of keeping Hester in check.
5) How much, if any, playing time will newly activated wide receiver Austin Pettis see on the field?
Austin Pettis was activated this week as the rookie second round draft pick wide receiver Brian Quick was benched/inactive. Pettis saw a few plays on the field but was not targeted by Bradford according to ESPN. Okaaaay…
The other rookie receiver, Chris Givens, was targeted four times and Givens caught two of them for 9 yards.
I have a bad feeling the Rams offensive line will be no match for the stout Bears defense. Bradford could rival Cutler on his seven sack game which really makes me uneasy. And from there it could just all go to pot. I’ll be very surprised if the Rams are able to run on the Bears, especially with full back Brit Miller not being 100 percent to help pave the way.
Yep, Bradford had six and the running game suffered.
Look for this to be a fairly low scoring game offensively with at least one defensive score from both teams. Keep an especially close eye on Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman as he will strip the ball from the Rams.
It wasn’t Peanut Tillman but Bears safety Major Wright did have get pick 6 from Bradford and Finnegan did have an INT.
Not to sound cliche-ish but the team with the least number of turnovers will win this game and Brandon Marshall will need to be contained like the Rams contained Calvin Johnson in week 1 (6 rec for 111 yards, zero TDs).
Rams had two (both INTs) and the Bears had one. The personal fouls were more impactful from the Rams point of view though. Marshall was kept in check as he only caught 5 of 11 for 71 yards with zero TDs.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see the Rams coming out on top this week. Bears defeat the Rams 20-10 and the Rams fall to 1-2.