INGLEWOOD, Calif. –– Last year, it was stepping up as a run blocker. This year, as a pass catcher.
Like last season, the Rams counted on tight end Johnny Mundt to make the most of an expanded role against the Bears, and he delivered once again with three receptions for 47 yards in a 24-10 Week 7 win at SoFi Stadium.
"Johnny Mundt is a guy that we have a lot of faith in," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said during his postgame video conference. "We said this earlier in the week when we had an idea he was going to have to play, but last year against the Bears he had to step up and play a lot too. This guy's ready for the Bears at all times."
With Tyler Higbee inactive due to a hand injury sustained against the 49ers in Week 6, Mundt saw his heaviest involvement in the offense to date, playing 64 percent of the team's offensive snaps (46 of 72). By comparison, he had played a combined 27 offensive snaps through the first six games, including two or fewer in four of those six contests.
The impact of the increased playing time was evident on his 34-yard reception midway through the second quarter, when he unsuccessfully tried to stiff arm Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller on the run.
"Didn't really connect as much as I wanted to, he went a little lower than I expected, but getting used to the NFL football in my hands, so it was fun," Mundt said during his postgame video conference.
As Goff alluded to, Mundt has been a difference maker against the Bears this year and last year.
The Rams were leaning more heavily on the 12 personnel grouping – one running back, two tight ends – toward the end of last season, and that philosophical change overlapped with last year's game against Chicago.
Deployed as a run blocker, he helped Los Angeles' offense rush for 110 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-7 L.A. victory, later earning praise from Rams head coach Sean McVay.
Since he's primarily utilized as a blocker, Mundt entered the game with six receptions for 36 receiving yards through 31 career games, making Monday night quite the contrast to the work he's accustomed to getting in the passing game – especially considering how involved he was in that facet of the offense in college (23 receptions for 334 yards and four touchdowns in his final year at the University of Oregon).
Getting back to how he was used at Oregon was a welcome change of pace for him.
"They like the way I block, how physical I am on the point of the attack, so they like to use me in that aspect," Mundt said. "But it's always nice to show my skills with the ball in my hand."
McVay was pleased with the way Mundt stepped up.
"Missing Tyler Higbee tonight is a huge loss for a football team," McVay said during his postgame video conference. "But Johnny Mundt stepped up, did a great job."