The Key: Protecting the Football
Turnover differential is always one of the most indicative figures in the outcome of a game, but this week’s matchup includes two of the league’s best teams in this area. The Rams have committed just three turnovers over the previous two weeks, and enter the Chicago game plus-five in turnover ratio for the season. While Chicago’s defense has allowed more yards and points than it has been accustomed to in recent years, the unit is ranked fourth in takeaways with 22.
“The one thing that hasn’t gone away from that Chicago defense is the turnovers that they’re able to generate,” QB
For the third time this season, the Rams did not commit a turnover, despite facing one of the league’s best defenses in that area. Clemens posted his third consecutive game without an interception, the first Rams starting quarterback to achieve that feat since
The Key: Create Pressure From the Front Four
Highlighted by the work of defensive ends
Chicago QB Josh McCown will be starting his third game of the season on Sunday, and while he has had no shortage of success in his first two games, he has seen limited pressure from opposing defensive fronts, having been sacked just three times.
Though it didn’t appear in the Rams’ sack total—one—the front four had perhaps its best game of the year on the goal line. The Rams’ defensive front thwarted a third-quarter 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line, and stopped the Bears on multiple chances within the five-yard line in the fourth quarter.
“The front four, or front seven, those guys are playing knock-them-back football,” LB
The unit was also consistent against the pass, tallying 17 quarterback pressures, all of which were accounted for by the front four. The one sack the Rams did obtain was courtesy of Quinn in the fourth quarter, and resulted in a fumble and 31-yard return for the Rams’ final touchdown of the day. Quinn also was credited with seven quarterback pressures and four quarterback hits on the afternoon.
The Key: Develop Consistency Against the Run
The Rams displayed their ability to limit a team’s running game in Week 10 against Indianapolis, when they held the Colts to just However, performances like the one they had against the Colts have also been scattered among outings far less stingy, as they’ve allowed opposing teams to eclipse 150 yards on the ground four times. Chicago’s Matt Forte will represent yet another steep challenge this week, and may shed light on whether the Rams’ encouraging outing against Indianapolis can progress to a trend.
“Every week’s a challenge, so we’re going to be tested, clearly going to be tested,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “They like to use an extra offensive lineman in the game, in the power game at you and spread you out and run that game at you, so we’re going to be tested.”
The Answer: Though Forte posted a strong first-half showing with 58 yards on 10 carries, the Bears’ feature back was held out of the end zone. The Rams’ defense stiffened near the goal line, and finished the day by allowing goal-line specialist Michael Bush -5 yards on seven carries. The Rams limited Chicago to just 80 rushing yards on the day, marking the second-lowest rushing output by the Bears this year. It was also the fifth time this year in which the Rams’ opponent was held to 80 yards or fewer on the ground, though it marked the first time it had been done in consecutive weeks.