The Los Angeles Rams begin their 2021 regular season hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. pacific time on NBC.
Ahead of the game, theRams.com examines 3 Keys to Winning for the Rams, presented by The Wallace Firm:
1) Don't let Bears running back David Montgomery get into a rhythm.
As Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris alluded to in his press conference last week, Montgomery authored a strong finish to his second NFL season, rushing for seven of his eight rushing touchdowns and nearly 600 of his 1070 yards across Weeks 12-17 in 2020. That rushing yardage total landed him in a tie with the Jaguars' James Robinson for fifth-most in the NFL last year.
One of those performances included rushing 32 times for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings in Week 15.
Keeping Montgomery in check and force the Bears offense in to a one-dimensional – as in, pass-heavy – approach will go a long way to securing a victory Sunday night.
2) Maximize opportunities in the run game.
This one's important for a couple reasons.
Number one, it helps the Ram have a balanced approach and not over-rely on quarterback Matthew Stafford's arm. Number two, the Bears ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL (15th, to be exact) in rushing yards allowed per game last year at 113.4, so there should be some chances.
And much like offenses throughout the league, an efficient and effective run game opens up play-action opportunities in the passing game, which can generate explosive plays through the air.
3) Smooth execution defensively.
The Rams had multiple departures on the defensive side of the ball in free agency. While they still return multiple key pieces from last year's No. 1-ranked unit – including defensive linemen Aaron Donald and Sebastian Joseph-Day, cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams and safety Jordan Fuller – it will take a group effort to ensure things operate smoothly.
A big piece to that is Fuller, who is expected to replace John Johnson III as the on-field defensive signal-caller. Fuller has a lot of poise and maturity for a second-year player, but will also need the support of his teammates.
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The Los Angeles Rams were on the practice field to prep for Sunday night's season opener against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium.