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First Look: Rams kick off 2021 season hosting Bears on Sunday Night Football

For the second-straight year, the Rams (0-0) open the season at home and in primetime on Sunday Night Football, this time hosting the Bears (0-0). Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. pacific time on NBC.

In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-Bears, presented by SoFi:

Notable Bears additions

  • Drafted QB Justin Fields 11th overall in this year's draft: The Bears sent the 20th and 164th picks in this year's draft, plus 2022 first- and fourth-round selections to the Giants for the 11th pick and the right to draft Fields, who posted a 20-2 record as a starter at Ohio State the past two seasons. Fields also completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and rushed 218 times for 867 yards and 15 touchdowns.
  • Signed QB Andy Dalton to a one-year contract in March: Dalton was assured upon signing that he would be the Bears' No. 1 quarterback, and even after Chicago drafted Fields, that remains the case, as head coach Matt Nagy said Dalton will start against the Rams in Week 1.

Top performers in 2020

QB Mitchell Trubisky completed 199 of 297 pass attempts for 2,055 yards with 16 touchdowns against eight interceptions. QB Nick Foles also saw action, completing 202 of 312 passes for 1,852 yards with 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions.

RB David Montgomery led Chicago's backfield with a team-high 247 carries for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns.

WR Allen Robinson was the top target in the passing game, collecting 102 receptions for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.

LB Roquan Smith was the Bears' most productive player defensively with a team-best 139 total tackles, also chipping in two interceptions, seven pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. OLB Khalil Mack had a team-high nine sacks, while Smith and S Tashaun Gipson shared the team lead in interceptions.

On special teams, K Cairos Santos made 30 of 32 field goal attempts and 36 of 37 extra point attempts. P Pat O'Donnell averaged 45.7 yards per punt.

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

While Dalton will start at quarterback for the Bears, the Rams will be ready for both him and Fields playing just in case.

"I think it would be naive for us not to prepare for them to be able to utilize (Fields) in some form or fashion," Rams head coach Sean McVay said after Monday's practice, when asked if it's an advantage for him to not have to prepare for someone who they don't really know much about with Dalton starting instead of Fields.

McVay called Dalton "a winning quarterback in this league," also praising Dalton's accuracy, anticipation, ability to recognize defensive looks and ability to straighten out protections. McVay is also familiar with Dalton because Jay Gruden was Dalton's offensive coordinator with the Bengals before becoming the head coach of the Washington Football Team. McVay was an offensive coordinator for Gruden in Washington.

"And then you see the ways that Justin made a lot of plays going back to his career at Ohio State (and) what he showed in the preseason," McVay said. "So, I think you got to be ready for either or, but it's going to be challenge, for sure."

One thing that will help the Rams with that preparation is having a quarterback with a similar skillset on their 53-man roster in Bryce Perkins, who showed an ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs during the preseason.

Los Angeles Rams players hit the practice field to prepare for their Sunday Night Football matchup against the Chicago Bears on September 12.

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