The Los Angeles Rams (11-1) will face the Chicago Bears (8-4) in front of a national television audience on Sunday, December 9. The game has playoff implications for both teams.
Los Angeles needs a victory to stay ahead of the New Orleans Saints (10-2) for homefield advantage. Chicago still must clinch the NFC North and lock down at least the No. 3 seed in the conference.
The game comes loaded with advantages for the hometown Bears. It’s going to be cold, around 28 degrees, and played in the legendary Soldier Field. The game should be another nail-biter and a huge test for each club.
What’s crazy about this game is that it’s the first time the Bears and Rams have played each other with real playoff implications in 30 years. It’s hard to believe that two franchises that have such great history have gone this long without facing each other in a similar situation.
30 Years Ago
The Rams entered their Monday night showdown with the Vikings fighting for their playoff lives. They were on a four-game losing streak, including critical losses to conference rivals Philadelphia and New Orleans. One more defeat would almost assuredly eliminate them from contention.
Meanwhile, the Bears were in a dogfight of their own. The Minnesota Vikings were on their tail in the NFC Central and had already beaten them 31-7 earlier in the season. A victory over the Rams would clinch the division.
The Rams defense had other ideas. Los Angeles forced three turnovers, including two interceptions, and sacked Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh twice. Harbaugh struggled in his first NFL start. He completed only 11 of 30 passes for 108 yards while leading his team to only three points on the field.
Los Angeles quarterback Jim Everett got off to a tough start as well. He completed 17 of 31 passes for 251 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
The Bears defense gave Everett all he could handle, but his connection with wide receiver Henry Ellard proved fatal for the Bears. Ellard caught six passes for 132 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass that put the game away. Running back Greg Bell also put together a solid day. He registered 28 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ 23-3 victory.
Head coach John Robinson gave his thoughts:
”I thought we played the physical part of this game tough, and you have to do that against the Bears,” Robinson said. ”I have no interest in the statistics. We’ve had a rough time, but we came back to play well. The Bears were hurting with the new quarterback, but they are capable of dominating you defensively, anyway. Tonight they didn’t do that.”
The Playoff Hunt
The Rams’ defensive showing and clutch performance from Ellard kept them in the playoff hunt. Los Angeles won their final three games and earned a wild card berth at 10-6. The win went down as one of the Rams’ notable clutch victories in the 1980s.