Rams Pull Out Victory Over Bears 17-7
Remain in the Hunt for a Playoff Spot
November 21, 2019
Da Bears... just what da doctor ordered. "I think it's up there in the top of my head as one of my favorite wins as a Ram, and again I couldn't be prouder with the guys on this team," said Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff following the team's 17-7 Sunday Night Football victory over the Chicago Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Ordinarily that would be an overstatement but with the Rams struggling to remain relevant in the 2019 NFL Playoff picture it hit the mark. The 6-4 Rams realistically need to win five of their last six games to make this happen. It won't be easy as the lineup includes: home and away matches against the Cardinals, at home against the Seahawks, on the road against the Cowboys and 49ers...
And likely their greatest challenge: this weekend's Monday Night Football matchup hosting quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at the Coliseum. Collectively, the Rams' remaining opponents have one championship and four proficient quarterbacks but Jackson is playing on another level this season and is the current favorite to win the league's MVP Award.
"You could see the athleticism, but then when you look at what he's done so far it has been impressive in terms of the ability to put pressure on defenses with the way that he can beat you in a couple different ways," said Rams head coach Sean McVay when asked about Jackson during Monday's press conference.
"Dynamic playmaker, builds the guys around him, have a confidence because of his swagger and confidence. When he is delivering the football he's throwing the ball accurately. In a lot of instances they're dictating structures because they're able to be so efficient and such a threat of the run and the pass that can come off of it."
The NFL evolution of Jackson has been meteoric. Chosen as the last pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, in less than two seasons the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has elevated himself into being the league's greatest offensive threat. As the NFL's ultimate dual-threat he has vastly improved upon his passing skills from last season while continuing to be one of the most explosive runners. He's 10th in league rushing with 788 total yards and leads with a 6.9 rushing average per carry.
Jackson's last five starts have been dynamic. He rushed for 152 yards against Cincinnati and followed that with 116 yards rushing in the win at Seattle. He led the Ravens to a 37-20 beatdown over the New England three weeks ago, running for two touchdowns. He had spectacular numbers, including a 158.3 QB rating, in trouncing the Bengals and demolished the Houston Texans this past Sunday, throwing four touchdowns while rushing for 86 yards.
The Rams defense will certainly be challenged by Jackson but defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' group is also coming off one of its finest games of the season. They held the Bears to seven points, allowed only 267 yards of total offense including only 74 total yards rushing and sacked quarterback Mitchell Trubisky three times. The Bears only averaged 3.6 yards per play.
Aaron Donald, the 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is playing his best ball of the season. Against the Bears he registered two sacks, including one that was negated by a penalty, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits while constantly being double and triple teamed. Donald has at least one sack in his last five games and seven of his season's total of eight.
"We just played good as a defense, everybody flying around and, you know, played solid football. We gave up two plays, but at the end, I feel like we played strong," said Donald after the game. "Our mindset every week as a defense is to try to dominate and do everything we can... We've got to continue to do it, clean up the little things we've been having mistakes with. But overall, I feel like we've been playing good football."
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey: "The defense played extremely well. We've been stacking up some good performances lately. Tonight was another good performance... the offense came up big towards the end of the game to, you know, finish out the win."
It's not a coincidence that a major factor in the Rams solid win was the return of running back Todd Gurley to form. He had his most touches of the season, rushing for 97 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown while catching all three passes targeted to him for 36 yards. He overcame a fumble on the Rams initial scrimmage play of the game with his most productive game of the season.
"What I loved the most about what Todd did, is after we put the first carry on the ground, he didn't flinch, he came back and had some good, tough, physical runs and made some good catches out of the backfield and he was a big-time contributor tonight, said McVay.
Asked if McVay is going to keep utilizing Gurley in a heavier fashion: "I think so. That's an ideal situation, but we'll continue to look at this film and we'll see how we want to put together our next game plan. Anytime you get Todd involved like that, it's usually always a good thing for our offense."