2017-Present - McVay's run

Week 7 Preview: Rams look for bounce back against the Bears

Photo credit: Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports photographer.

The Los Angeles Rams (4-2) fell to the San Francisco 49ers (3-3) on Sunday 24-16. There seems to be a continual problem this season of offensive ineptitude every other game, although the Rams did mount a few good drives against the Niners. They moved the ball well on the ground and had a few nice passes from Rams quarterback Jared Goff. They’ll need to be more consistent to be able to compete with the Chicago Bears (5-1) this week.

The Bears are captained by former Rams and Philadelphia Eagles veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Foles became the starter after relieving troubled Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3.  He then led Chicago to a 30-26 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Foles has 95 completions on 152 attempts for 878 yards and six touchdowns for the season. He also has one rushing touchdown, four interceptions and four sacks.

Against the Carolina Panthers, Foles threw 23 passes on 39 attempts for 198 yards and one touchdown. He had one interception and no sacks. Goff had similar numbers against the 49ers with 19 completions on 38 attempts for 198 yards. He had two touchdowns, one interception and was not sacked. Goff has 128 completions on 190 attempts for 1,570 yards and 10 touchdowns for the season. He has four interceptions and seven sacks. Goff still has more passing yardage than Foles and Trubisky combined this season. He also has two rushing touchdowns. The Rams will need to connect with their receivers better against the Bears than they did against the Niners. They will also have a tough Bears defense that leads the league in red zone protection.

The Bears receiving corps is led by wide receiver Allen Robinson, II.  Robinson has 40 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns. He also led with five catches for 53 yards against the Panthers.  Tight end Jimmy Graham is second in receiving with 22 catches for 203 yards and four touchdowns. Rookie tight end Cole Kmet had one touchdown against Carolina. The Rams secondary will also need to cover receivers Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller.

Running back David Montgomery leads the Bears in rushing with 82 carries for 305 yards and one touchdown. He also has 20 catches for 163 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Chicago has a strong defensive front led by EDGE Khalil Mack and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. Mack has 21 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  Hicks has 23 tackles, 3.5 sacks and leads in tackles for loss with 7.5. Nose tackle Bilal Nichols, defensive tackle Brent Urban and defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. each have one sack and a combined seven tackles for a loss.

The Bears secondary boasts safety Tashaun Gipson, Sr. and cornerback Kyle Fuller. Gipson leads the team with two interceptions. Fuller has one interception and five passes defended. Corner Jaylon Johnson leads the defensive back corps with nine passes defended. Safety Eddie Jackson and corner Buster Skrine also have a combined three tackles for a loss. Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson shined with one interception against the Panthers.

The Rams cannot afford to dismiss the other Bears linebackers. L.A.’s offense has enough to work with when it comes to the Bears defensive line and Mack, but blocking and evading Roquan Smith and Danny Travathan is no easy task. Smith leads the Bears with 43 tackles and has 6.5 tackles for a loss. Travathan is second in tackles with 36. James Vaughters, Barkevious Mingo and Robert Quinn have a combined four sacks.

The Rams offense still brings a strong receiving corps, although they struggled throughout most of the 49ers game. Tight end Tyler Higbee led with three catches for 56 yards with a long of 31.  Wide receiver Josh Reynolds had a big showing with two receptions for 45 yards, including a spectacular grab in the end zone for 40 yards. That touchdown toward the end of the fourth quarter narrowed the score within 8.  Receiver Robert Woods had the other touchdown in the second quarter when the Rams trailed 14-0, making it 14-6 after a blocked Sam Sloman extra point.  Woods had four catches for 29 yards against the Niners. Tight end Gerald Everett had a few nice receptions, bringing in 3 catches for 27 yards.

Rams receiving leader Cooper Kupp did not have a good game against San Francisco.  He could not connect with Goff on most of his throws to him due to tight coverage and missed opportunities.  Kupp has 31 receptions for 374 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Rams running back Darrell Henderson had a strong showing on the ground against San Francisco. He had 14 carries for 88 yards. He did not score against the Niners, but ran the ball well on the ground in the second quarter to set up a Woods touchdown. Henderson still leads in team rushing with 72 carries for 348 yards and three touchdowns. He also has seven catches for 96 yards and one touchdown. Veteran running back Malcolm Brown has 55 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns this season. Brown did not have much of a rushing game against the 49ers. He had two carries for four yards and added three catches for 18 yards.

Sloman hit a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter but missed one of his two extra points. The Rams just signed former Vikings kicker Kai Forbath from the Bears practice squad. Forbath’s addition was allowed due to placing linebacker Obo Okoronkwo on injured reserve. It is unknown what Forbath’s role will be going into the Bears game, but he will be competition for a struggling Sloman. Sloman is seven of nine in field goals and 15 of 18 in extra point attempts.

The Rams defense is still struggling at linebacker, although Micah Kiser led with 13 tackles against the 49ers. Safety John Johnson continues to lead in tackles for the season with 46. San Francisco successfully isolated Aaron Donald, limiting him to no sacks, two tackles and one quarterback hit. The Rams should have more success against the Bears up front. They need to control the line of scrimmage on both sides.

The good news for L.A. is that they still have a talented roster that can get the job done. Goff and his receivers just need to connect and be on the same page. The defense will need to get to their targets quicker and tackle better. They will have an opportunity to shine as the Bears continue to struggle in third down conversions. The Rams special teams squad also needs to hold kicking accountable and make consistent PATs.

On the coaching end, head coach Sean McVay will need to make better decisions in playcalling. Going for a short pass in the end zone on fourth down only to have it intercepted looks a lot worse than kicking a chip-shot field goal. Sloman’s missed extra point on the Rams first touchdown against the Niners and not going for a field goal would have narrowed the margin 24-20. It is one thing to think about and could have provided more motivation on all phases of the ball.

Kickoff is Monday at 5:15 p.m. on ESPN.

Sources:  bearswire.usatoday.comtheramswire.usatoday.comtherams.comespn.com

You can follow Erik Ho on Twitter @EHoinSDLVLA. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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