3 things to know about the L.A. Rams, the Bears' opponent Monday night
Wins are wins, and the Bears keep winning.
Next up for the 5-1 Bears is a 4-2 Los Angeles Rams team, which is coming off a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6.
Here are three things to know about the Rams:
1. When the Rams play poorly, offenses slow their pass rush
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is no doubt a generational talent and one of the best pass rushers in the game. But as a whole, this Rams pass rush did very little against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. They totaled only three QB hurries (Donald had one of them) against Jimmy Garoppolo. The Rams had 20 sacks in their first five games. They had zero against the 49ers.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Rams pass rush played similarly poorly in their Week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills (despite recording four sacks vs. Buffalo). In both games, all four of the Rams' top pass rushers were below league average in Next Gen Stats' "average separation from the QB," which measures a pass rushers' physical distance from the quarterback at the time of throw.
It comes down to this: Slowing down Donald will slow down the Rams pass rush. Easier said then done, of course. Donald has 14 QB hurries on the season, twice as many as his next closest teammate (Leonard Floyd -- remember him? -- with six). It'll be a tall task for a Bears offensive line in flux.
2. QB Jared Goff is still prone to mistakes
While the Rams offense appears to be regaining some of the mojo it had in 2018 following a disappointing 2019, the quarterback remains far from perfect.
Goff struggled in last week's loss to the 49ers. On numerous plays -- on multiple key third-downs, no less -- Goff and his receivers were not on the same page, or Goff simply missed an open target. Goff finished 19-for-38 passing for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. It was by far is worst game of the season. The Rams were playing from behind almost from the start, and Goff needed to throw more than he had all year.
The Rams have found success in their wins by running the ball effectively, and using the run game to open up the pass. When they fall behind, there's more pressure on Goff.
Henderson is stealing the RB spotlight
Speaking of that Rams run game, running back Darrell Henderson continues to earn the majority of the carries, despite rookie Cam Akers returning from injury. Henderson has had double-digit carries in four of the past five games. He rushed for 88 yards on 14 carries against the 49ers. Akers, a second-round draft pick, played just one offensive snap Sunday.
The Rams might see an opportunity in the run game against a Bears defense that has been much better at slowing air attacks than it has stopping the run. The Rams were 26th in the league in rushing yards per game last season, but have improved to 10th in 2020.