The Chicago Bears have played the Los Angeles Rams each of the last two years. Splitting the games at one win each, this Monday Night Football matchup may act as the final game in a best of three series.
In order for the Bears to enter Tuesday victorious, they will need to replicate their game plan from their 2018 primetime victory over the vaunted Rams. Their losses against the Bills and the 49ers this season have also shed a little light on their weaknesses. Here are the three most important steps for the Bears to be 6-1 heading into week eight.
1. Stop the run
As cliché as it sounds, the first of three steps for the Bears to cook up a win against the Rams is to stop their run game. LA’s backfield consists of a three headed monster in Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers, and Malcolm Brown. While none of them are Todd Gurley, they each bring their own effective style to the field when the rock is in their hands. Having to prepare for three separate running techniques will certainly keep a defenses hands full. This is a game where the front seven needs to take over.
Akiem Hicks needs to bring his A game from the first snap. Especially with Eddie Goldman opting out of the season, the one player Sean McVay infamously forgot to mention when listing off the defensive personnel in 2018. It’s debatable that the biggest X-factor for the Bears on Monday is going to be Roquan Smith. It’s absolutely crucial for Roquan to hold his ground and prevent any ball carrier from getting to the second level.
2. Force Jared Goff to throw the ball
One of the biggest keys to the Rams’ success in 2018 was their effectiveness with play-action. In 2019 their play-action production fell off a cliff, Goff threw just two touchdowns to five interceptions. So far through the season, this Rams team has been more reminiscent of their 2018 form than 2019, at least in terms of their play-action success.
If the Bears successfully complete step one, the Rams offense will become one dimensional, and Jared Goff will have to win the game for them. Making the Rams offense increasingly predictable will make play-action success nearly impossible for the Rams. You can’t fake a run when the opponent knows you’re going to pass.
3. Attack Goff from all sides
In 2019, Jared Goff was 25th in passer rating while under pressure. If steps one and two are completed, the Bears will be set up for success. With Goff being forced to throw the ball, all the Bears have to do is get pressure. With a pass rushing threat of Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, and Robert Quinn this shouldn’t be an issue. Quinn had six pressures on Teddy Bridgewater just last game. If Hicks can collapse the pocket from the interior, Goff will have to roll out and face either Mack or Quinn. That’s a rough time for a QB.
Additionally, I’d like to see Chicago Bears DC Chuck Pagano bring in some blitz packages. Whether that’s from the nickel with Buster Skrine, or sending Roquan Smith up the middle. The more pressure the merrier. This has been the recipe on how to make the Rams collapse, and the Bears have every tool in the shed to make it happen.