CHICAGO — On a cold night in the Windy City, points and yards were hard to come by. And the Rams were unable to overcome the strength of the Bears’ defense, falling to Chicago 15-6 for their second loss of the season.
In the Rams’ first Sunday night game since 2010, the team managed just six first-first-half points — failing to score a touchdown in a half for the first time all season. Despite making a pair of interceptions, Los Angeles had only three points off takeaways in the game’s first 30 minutes.
Things didn’t get much better in the second half, as Los Angeles’ offense failed to create any sort of positive rhythm.
The defense started off the game on the right track, with cornerback Marcus Peters picking off quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to end Chicago’s first drive. Peters returned his interception 48 yards down the right sideline to the home team’s 15 — ostensibly setting up the L.A. offense well to take a strong early lead.
But the offense wasn’t able to do much with the opportunity, as quarterback Jared Goff was pressured on 3rd-and-4 by outside linebacker Khalil Mack — forcing the signal-caller to throw it away.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 27-yard field goal to give L.A. a 3-0 lead, and on the ensuing drive Chicago’s Cody Parkey answered with a 39-yard field goal to tie it up.
Early in the second quarter, quarterback Jared Goff threw his first interception of the night on an errant pass over the middle. Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith picked the ball off and returned it all the way to the L.A. four-yard line. But with the aid of some offensive penalties, Los Angeles’ defense was able to hold Chicago to only a field goal.
Down 6-3, the Rams were able to get a little something on offense going with a 13-play drive that got extended with a fake punt.
On 4th-and-7 from the L.A. 28, punter Johnny Hekker fielded Jake McQuaide’s long snap, rolled to his right, and hit tight end Gerald Everett. The second-year TE was able to use his athleticism to extend the ball past the marker as he was being tackled for a first down. That, however, had to be confirmed after McVay challenged the ruling on the field — which was that Everett was stopped short.
The Rams were able to move the ball downfield enough to get in position to get points, but they only netted a field goal. However, those three points came from 50-yards out — giving kicker Greg Zuerlein a franchise record 27 made field goals of at least 50 yards.
With the game tied at six, Los Angeles had a pair of late opportunities to get back on the board, but weren’t able to cash in on either. Starting with the ball at their own 14 with 1:38 left, the Rams gained a first down, then five more yards. But then a false start backed L.A. up to 2nd-and-10 instead of 2nd-and-5, and that took the offense out of sync.
But following Hekker’s punt, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman put the ball back in the hands of the Rams’ offense by picking off Trubisky on 3rd-and-10. The slot corner jumped up and intercepted a floating Trubisky pass on the defense’s right near the first-down marker at the Chicago 49-yard line.
Again, however, L.A. was unable to score. An illegal formation penalty put the Rams in 1st-and-15 at their own 46 with 14 seconds to go. And Goff’s Hail Mary to end the half was intercepted.
The Rams got the ball to start the second half, but didn’t have it for long. After a hold on the kickoff, Los Angeles began its drive at its own 13. Running back Todd Gurley then was stopped for a five-yard loss on first down. And Goff took a sack on 2nd-and-15 for a safety, giving Chicago an 8-6 lead.
Getting the ball back after a free kick, the Bears marched 81 yards down the field in nine plays for a touchdown to take a 15-6 lead. Trubisky completed a pass to offensive lineman Bradley Sowell for a two-yard scoring strike.
Safety John Johnson put Los Angeles’ offense in great position to score when he intercepted Trubisky on a pass in the middle of the field and returned it 35 yards to the Chicago 27.
But the Rams gave it right back on the next play, with Goff tossing his third interception of the night on a sideline pass to wideout Josh Reynolds.
Los Angeles’ defense forced a punt, however, and the offense got the ball back. And on this drive, the Rams were finally able to get something going. Gurley took a carry 12 yards for a first down. L.A. converted just its second third down of the day with a nine-yard reception by tight end Gerald Everett. And then wide receiver Robert Woods went over 1,000 yards on the season with a 29-yard reception down to the Chicago 15.
But, Los Angeles’ rhythm stalled from there. The club had to take a timeout before the first-down play. Then a false start backed the Rams up five yards. Plus McVay took the club’s second timeout. And after a pair of incompletions, L.A. had to settle for a 40-yard field goal attempt.
And on this night, something else went wrong, as Zuerlein’s attempt hit the right upright and fell, no good.
Los Angeles got the ball back after a punt, but Goff was sacked on 4th-and-4 in visitors territory.
While the Rams had another opportunity with the ball, Goff threw his career high fourth interception of the night with just over two minutes left to effectively end the contest.
With the loss, Los Angeles falls to 11-2 on the season. The Rams will be back in L.A. to take on the Eagles on Sunday Night Football next week.