Rams vs. Bears matchups: Jared Goff looks to recapture rhythm
When Rams have the ball: The Rams are looking to eliminate the overthrown and dropped passes and the pre-snap penalties that hampered them in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night. Quarterback Jared Goff has passed for 10 touchdowns, with four interceptions, but is seeking to recapture the rhythm that characterized most of his first five games. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown have been the workhorse running backs of late. With Henderson nursing a quadriceps injury that kept him out of practice for two days, coach Sean McVay might rely more on Cam Akers. The rookie started the first two games and came back strong from a rib injury but played only one snap against the 49ers. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp uncharacteristically struggled against the 49ers, so McVay almost certainly will give him early opportunities to regain confidence. Tight end Tyler Higbee is questionable because of a hand injury. The Bears’ defense is talented and experienced. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who has a team-leading 4 1/2 sacks, is questionable because of a back injury. End Akiem Hicks has 3 1/2 sacks. Linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan are the top tacklers, and the secondary includes cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson.
When the Rams take on the Chicago Bears on Monday night, it’ll be a reunion for defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and the Bears’ defense.
When Bears have the ball: Nick Foles supplanted Mitch Trubisky at quarterback in the fourth game this season, and the Super Bowl LII most valuable player has passed for six touchdowns with four interceptions. Running back David Montgomery averages 50.8 yards rushing per game for an offense that lost Tarik Cohen early in the season because of a knee injury. Allen Robinson has 40 catches, but only two for touchdowns. Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller are other wide receivers. Tight end Jimmy Graham has converted four of his 22 receptions into touchdowns. The 49ers neutralized Rams star tackle Aaron Donald and the rest of the pass rush by combining an effective rushing attack and quick passes. The Bears do not appear suited to duplicate that strategy. Donald entered Week7 with an NFL-leading 7 1/2 sacks. End Leonard Floyd, the ninth pick by the Bears in the 2016 draft, has two sacks and is looking for more against the team that declined to exercise its fifth-year option and cut him. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey leads the secondary while playing a hybrid role as a corner, linebacker, safety and occasional pass rusher. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson came off the noninjury football list and practiced last week, but it remains to be seen whether the Rams will activate him for Monday.
When they kick: With rookie Samuel Sloman testing McVay’s patience, the Rams signed veteran kicker Kai Forbath from the Bears’ practice squad. But Forbath could not join the team until Sunday, and McVay said Sloman would kick against Chicago. Kickoffs need to go out of the end zone because Cordarrelle Patterson will return them from nine yards deep. He is averaging 31.2 yards on 15 kickoff returns.
Gary Klein’s prediction: Both teams feature defenses that have played well late in games. But the Rams have a more potent offense, and that should be the difference in a bounce-back victory.
RAMS 24, BEARS 20
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