Dhruv Koul shares his in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the Bears-Rams game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Follow him on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.
LOS ANGELES — The worst part about having a mediocre record halfway through the season is the faint semblance of hope. The Chicago Bears started fast at 3-1, went into a tailspin that dropped them to 3-5 despite some winnable losses, and then survived an ugly game to improve to 4-5. And that faint semblance of hope returned as the Bears entered tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.
With both teams struggling, this was a prime opportunity for the Bears to steal a road win and get back to .500. Then, with winnable games against the New York Giants and Detroit Lions next, the Bears COULD find themselves entering December at 7-5…
You see how this sucks people in? And the delusions would survive (and gain strength) for another week if the Bears won today. But a loss would kill the 2019 season.
In the end, the Bears completely and thoroughly imploded in prime time, shooting themselves in the foot with mistake after mistake. They lost a winnable football game and outplayed the Rams most of the day. But they couldn’t get out of their own way. The Bears’ season is over at 4-6.
I shared my in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the game below. Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.
Thoughts and Observations
1. (Pre-Game) The Bears and Rams met at Soldier Field in prime time in 2018. Chicago’s defense shut down the high-flying L.A. offense as the Bears eked out a 15-6 win and announced themselves as legitimate playoff contenders. This year’s defense isn’t quite at 2018’s level, however, as they are without Vic Fangio, Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan. The Rams’ offense isn’t quite the high-powered unit it was in 2018, too. The quarterbacks from both teams have regressed significantly. I expect this to be an ugly game — whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win.
2. (Pre-Game) Some good news for the Bears as the inactives list was released. Starting RB David Montgomery, who was a game-time decision with an ankle injury, is active. The Bears need him badly in the running game today. Meanwhile, on the Rams’ side, they’ll be without starting WRs Brandin Cooks AND Robert Woods (personal reasons). Also, Cooper Kupp, their excellent #1 receiver, battled a stomach bug on Friday. Their offense is hurting at the moment. Bears must take advantage.
3. What a weird (sadly, bad) start to the game. The Bears received first and used tempo to convert multiple third downs and move the ball on offense. Unfortunately, Eddy Pineiro shanked a 48 yard attempt. On the Rams’ first play, Eddie Jackson forced a fumble on Todd Gurley and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recovered. The Bears went for it on 4th and 9 (bypassing a 50ish yard field goal) and Taylor Gabriel dropped it.
Mitch Trubisky has been largely comfortable and accurate so far amidst heavy pressure from the Rams and made some throws. But Gabriel has dropped two passes and the Bears have no points. Rough start.
4. After the Bears forced another turnover (Roquan Smith picked off Jared Goff), the Bears drove into FG range again and then…
Bears should be up at least 6-0, if not 9-0, right now. And it’s scoreless. The Bears really should think about some kicker tryouts this week. Pineiro has missed four of his last seven kick attempts. After a great start to the season, that’s bad.
5. The Rams’ offensive line, down three starters, is dominating the Bears’ defensive front. The running game is torching the Bears — Todd Gurley has room everywhere. It led to the Rams taking a 3-0 lead because their kicker actually made a FG. Imagine that!
6. The Bears inexplicably bit on a run-fake on third-and-long and Cooper Kupp burned the Bears for a long touchdown. Great throw by Goff. It was interesting there for a minute where it could’ve been a fumble through the end zone, but alas, it went against the Bears.
Bears are down 10-0 at halftime and LA gets the ball after halftime. But here’s the reality:
Bears are headed toward 4-6 after the first half and they have no one but their own selves to blame.
7. Good start for the Bears in the second half. After forcing a Rams punt, Mitch Trubisky and the offense went 80 yards down the field in a beautiful, methodical, balanced drive that resulted in a touchdown. Very clean and crisp execution that ended with Tarik Cohen catching a 14 yard wheel route just inside the sideline. Rams’ lead cut to 10-7.
8. Roquan Smith is having an outstanding game tonight. He forced a TFL on Todd Gurley on a third and short. However, on the Bears’ possession, Matt Nagy called for an option play on 3rd and 1 (on the short side of the field). Trubisky proceeded to not even make the DE commit and pitched the ball to David Montgomery, who got stuffed for a big loss. That was one of the worst play calls and execution series’ I’ve seen in a long time. Bears forced to punt.
9. This has been a brutal second half since the Bears’ touchdown. Both teams looking largely inept on offense, making dumb mistakes, and trading punts like it’s tennis. This game features the #1 overall pick in 2016 and the #2 overall pick from 2017. U-G-L-Y game. And the Bears still trail. How brutal.
Though, I will say that Trubisky has played better than expected tonight — he has not had a lot of help. Unfortunate.
10. I say that, and then I saw about the worst 3rd and 1 sequence I could’ve imagined on that ensuing drive. Trubisky straight up threw it into the ground rolling to his left. Bears punted.
11. Ballgame. Ensuing drive, Goff drove the Rams down the field, without any fear of Bears’ pass rush, and delivered a touchdown to put the Rams up 17-7. Absolutely brutal game from the Bears. This was winnable, the Rams kept shooting themselves in the foot and were missing so many key players, and the Bears imploded further. Just awful.
12. Um. This is something.
Chase Daniel in at QB with 3 minutes left. He didn’t appear injured. I have no words.
13. UPDATE: Bears said Trubisky has a hip injury, but I highly doubt it… this seems to be a franchise altering move if it’s really a benching.
14. Also, this was an ugly as hell football game. The Bears’ season is over at 4-6. Now it’s playing out the string but still trying to take in some momentum into next year. This will be a very interesting final six games.
15. Next week, the Bears host the New York Giants at Soldier Field. The Giants surprisingly beat the Bears in East Rutherford last year. Daniel Jones against Chase Daniel (???!!!) sounds like a riveting QB matchup… whichever QB shoots itself in the foot the least wins.
Early prediction: Bears 13, Giants 10.