Bears/Rams Recap & Bears/Packers Preview
The Chicago Bears (9-4) came out on Sunday Night Football and dominated the Los Angeles Rams (11-2) to get a leg up on the NFC North (Norris) Division as well as give themselves a chance at a top two seed in the NFC Playoffs come January.
Chicago’s defense destroyed the previously unstoppable Rams offense. The Bears held L.A. to just two field goals, one after an early turnover gave them the ball in Chicago’s red zone. Other than that, the Bears destroyed the Rams offense, only allowing one field goal the rest of the way. Final Score: Bears 15, Rams 6.
Impressive to say the least. Let’s award some Game Balls and our Player of the Week for the Rams game and then we’ll Preview the Packers game.
CB #20 Prince Amukamara – Prince is a player that often gets overlooked on this Bears defense. He’s typically solid if unspectacular. In this Rams game, Amukamara posted 6 tackles, 5 of them solo, and defended 3 passes. His 3 PBU’s tied S #39 Eddie Jackson for the team lead as the Bears made 11 PBU’s in total. Prince’s close coverage of the Rams WR’s Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds, and Robert Woods helped the Bears hold L.A.’s wide receivers to only 13 catches on 28 targets. This tight coverage was a big reason for the defense’s shutdown of the Rams passing game.
DT #96 Akiem Hicks – Hicks is a great player. We write about him almost every week, but there’s a reason for that. He deserves it! Hicks had 3 TKL’s and 1 Sack for Chicago on Sunday night. His stats don’t always tell the whole story. His bullrush push into the opponent’s backfield throws off everything including the timing, the quarterback’s dropback, and the QB’s passing windows. Everyone talks about OLB #52 Khalil Mack, and rightfully so, but Hicks might be just as big a disruptor on this defense. Hicks makes everyone around him better.
ILB #58 Roquan Smith – We’re seeing Roquan’s improvement each and every week now. Moving forward, Roquan looks to be a star. He’s already a very good player. Once he gets a training camp under his belt, the skies the limit! In this game, Smith showed his athletic skills. He totaled 6 TKLs, 4 solo stops, 1 PBU, and 1 huge interception. He returned his pick to L.A.’s 4 yard line which was a huge play in the game.
Player of the Game
DC Vic Fangio – As you know from reading my past columns, I’m a huge fan of Vic Fangio. His defenses are tough and inventive. His 3-4 base is the modern defense of choice because it’s better at defending spread passing games. The key is getting the right personnel of course, and GM Ryan Pace has done that extraordinarily. Drafting Roquan Smith in this year’s years 1st round was genius. Signing Akiem Hicks a few years ago when he was a nobody was forward thinking. Drafting Eddie Goldman, Eddie Jackson, and Leonard Floyd was integral. Fangio uses his talent wisely. He draws up excellent game plans. He blitzes his nickel backs and inside linebackers to bring extra, unexpected heat. His schemes are fantastic. His style and panache motivate his players. Is he Buddy Ryan? Not quite, but we don’t want him to be. We want Vic to be himself. Along with Head Coach Matt Nagy, Fangio is ultra important to this team during this exciting soon-to-be-Playoff season. Thank you Mr. Fangio! Well done!
In last week’s Rams Preview, we wrote:
“Bottom line, can this vaunted Bears defense stop the incredible Rams offense starring phenom QB #16 Jared Goff, RB #30 Todd Gurley, and the incredible passing game installed by Rams Head Coach Sean McVay? The Rams average over 34 points per game!
As they say, I don’t expect the Bears to completely stop this offense. I only hope they can contain it. The Bears offense will need to score a bunch of points to win this game. I would think Chicago needs to score a minimum of 24 points to win and maybe even 30, 35, or 38 points for victory.
IF MITCH TRUBISKY STARTS : Chicago Bears 31, Los Angeles Rams 30″
RESULT: Chicago Bears 15, Los Angeles Rams 6
- The “Dutch Lion” got back on the winning track!
- We were off on the final score, but a win is a win. Who would have thought Chicago could hold McVay, Goff, and Gurley to just two field goals?…..outside of Fangio and the defensive unit, of course? Tremendous effort!
- Chicago Bears : 9-4
- Dutch Lion : 9-4
This week, the Chicago Bears (9-4) will get revenge against our bitter rival the Green Bay Packers (5-7-1). Let’s see how Troy Aikman has the Bears and Packers ranked through Week 14 in his highly acclaimed Aikman Efficiency Ratings (AER).
Aikman Efficiency Ratings (AER)
- Green Bay (5-7-1) : 11th overall (154.7), 10th offense (88.2), 18th defense (66.5)
- Chicago (9-4) : 2nd overall (165.7), 15th offense (84.9), 1st defense (80.8)
Chicago has a big edge of course, but Green Bay is surprisingly 11th overall and mediocre in both offense and defense. The Bears may be average on offense, but as you their defense is amazing and should handle the Packers. However, in rivalry games you never know. The NFC Norris was built on games like this. This time it’s at Soldier Field.
Green Bay just fired their long-time Head Coach Mike McCarthy last week and they beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-20 in Lambeau Field in interim HC Joe Philbin’s first game as the head man. Can they keep their momentum going despite the fact their playoff hopes are on life support? Can they damage the Bears dreams by playing spoiler?
I think it’s more likely the Bears will take this game very seriously on their road to NFC North Division Champions. Not only do they want revenge for that ridiculous collapse after leading 20-0 in the season opener in Green Bay, but they want to get over the hump that is the Packers. After losing so many, many times over the last 25 years, Chicago needs to start winning games in this rivalry series again.
Week 15 Prediction:
Chicago is favored by 5.5 points according to Saturday’s Chicago Tribune. Can the Bears cover that point spread? I expect the Bears to play with passion. I expect QB #10 Mitch Trubisky to play much better than he did in last week’s return from his shoulder injury. I expect the defense to get after Aaron Rodgers and put the nail in the coffin this time. I expect a big victory.
Chicago Bears 33, Green Bay Packers 13
There are only two more regular season games after this one (at San Francisco and at Minnesota) and at most four Playoff games including Super Bowl 53. Therefore, enjoy this Bears team while you still can. I for one, am having a ball. Sunday’s game starts at Noon central time and airs on Fox TV. See you all next week.