Rozner: Nothing new here as Bears' defense destroys Rams

 
 
Updated 12/9/2018 10:51 PM
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  • Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) tackles Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) during the first half on Sunday in Chicago. Once again, the Bears' defense carried the day and stomped all over the high-flying Rams offense.

    Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) tackles Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) during the first half on Sunday in Chicago. Once again, the Bears' defense carried the day and stomped all over the high-flying Rams offense.

Mitch Trubisky was bad again Sunday night, not terribly surprising given that Trubisky is not ashamed to throw it to the other team even when completely healthy and playing every week.

Jared Goff was also bad Sunday night, but there's a big difference.

While Trubisky had time to throw, the Bears' defense spent the night in Goff's face and made his life miserable.

This is something Matt Nagy has yet to come to terms with in his rookie season.

He seems preoccupied with showing off his offensive genius and proving how good Trubisky is when the reality is the Bears have gotten this far because of their defense.

And the star of this team is Khalil Mack, not Mitch Trubisky.

The Bears' defense displayed their wares for a national TV audience Sunday night as they took apart the high-flying Rams' offense and won the game 15-6 despite another ugly offensive performance against a mediocre Los Angeles defense.

Maybe Nagy started to figure it out in the fourth quarter with the Bears ahead by 9. He let Jordan Howard run for 21 yards and then another 6, before Tarik Cohen lost 3 and picked up 4.

It would have been wise to stay with Howard, who ran 19 times for 101 yards, but in any case the Bears punted and that was just fine as they took some time off the clock and put the game in the hands of the defense.

All that was left was for the Bears' defense to stomp all over Goff again and, of course, it did precisely that, essentially ending the Rams' chances with a sack on their penultimate possession that mattered and an interception on fourth down in their last legit attempt.

Final score: Goff 4 picks, Trubisky 3 picks.

The third seed in the NFC, the Bears (9-4) could go a long way this season with their defense if they can find a consistent running game, but you can only find it if you pound it, a chance the offensive line has been begging for all season.

It's not as cute as runs with Akiem Hicks and passes to Bradley Sowell, but there's a real chance here to dream big if the Bears can protect the football.

Don't believe for a second that the Rams' offense wasn't intimidated Sunday night, and don't think that the Saints weren't watching and thinking about how to keep Drew Brees off his back if they see the Bears in the postseason.

That's how impressive the defense was again Sunday as the Bears played a game late in the season that actually mattered.

Not since the final game of 2013 has a December contest carried any significance for the Bears, so this is -- finally -- a step forward.

You've probably tried to forget that Green Bay game five years ago at Soldier Field, infamous for Randall Cobb slipping past Chris Conte on a fourth-and-8 from the 48 with 46 seconds left, wide open and giving the Packers a title with an 8-7-1 record, costing the Bears the Norris Division in the process.

Norris Division, yes. Hey, if you gotta explain it, right?

A few weeks ago, the Rams looked like they would be a major test as the Bears looked ahead to the playoffs and cruised to a division crown.

And then came the Giants disaster.

So Sunday night's colossal tilt became more than just a showcase, instead an important match with Los Angeles, the Bears knowing the Vikings are in Seattle Monday night and still threatening to force the Bears into a must win in Minnesota on the final Sunday of the season.

With both teams losing a week ago, the Bears' magic number to clinch the division was three with four to play heading into Sunday night, the weakened Packers and woeful Niners still on the schedule, and the Vikings still with Seattle, Miami, Detroit and the Bears.

That made Sunday's game much more than another opportunity for the Bears to measure their progress in this very long rebuild and instead was a game they needed to win.

The defense took care of that.

And just that quickly, if the Vikings lose Monday night the Bears could celebrate a division title at home next week with a victory over Green Bay in a year in which the Packers were again supposed to contend for the Super Bowl.

Instead, Green Bay has fired its coach and is already thinking about 2019, while the Bears have every right to think about this season's biggest game.

The defense is that good. The offense just has to stay out of the way.

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