NFC West: Rams-Bears

Silver linings: Rams at Bears

December, 7, 2009
The facts: The Rams fell to 1-11 with a 17-6 road defeat to the Bears in Week 13.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.

  • Steven Jackson exceeded 100 yards rushing for the seventh time this season and the fifth time in his last six games. Jackson has 1,232 yards rushing this season, the second-highest total of his career.
  • Second-year defensive end Chris Long collected another sack. He has 4.0 this season, matching his 2008 total. This was his fourth sack in the Rams' last five games.
  • Strong play from punter Donnie Jones, receiver Jordan Kent and the rest of the coverage team helped the Rams dictate favorable field position.
  • Josh Brown made all three field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter. He has made all but one of his five tries from 50-plus yards this season. Brown leads the NFL in successful 50-plus field goal attempts since 2003.
  • Danny Amendola averaged 27 yards per kickoff return thanks to a 43-yarder.
  • Center Jason Brown started the game despite suffering a sprained knee a week earlier. Brown's presence on the offensive line is critical for Jackson and the offense.
  • The Rams held Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to 143 yards passing and less than 50 percent completions. Cutler managed 12 yards passing after the first quarter. The Rams moved up to a No. 16 ranking in passing yards allowed per game.
Looking ahead: The Rams visit the Titans in Week 14.

Wrap-up: Bears 17, Rams 9

December, 6, 2009
Rams quarterback Kyle Boller had plenty of time to throw during some third-down plays Sunday.

Too many times, Boller either could not find anyone open or he could not make the play.

That is increasingly the story of the 2009 Rams. They need playmakers and they need them badly. Boller needed a couple late completions to push his yards-per-attempt average to 3.5, half what a productive quarterback might average.

The Rams handed off to Steven Jackson on third-and-11 with less than 11 minutes remaining in a game they trailed, 17-6. The conservative call set up a successful 50-yard field goal try. There was no point in trying to push the ball down the field because the Rams simply lack the personnel to do so.

The Rams suffered through their lowest-scoring game since Week 7. Upcoming games against the Titans (road), Texans, Cardinals (road) and 49ers make a 1-15 record more likely than anything better.

The Rams spent last offseason rebuilding their offensive line. They need another offensive tackle and help on defense, for sure, but finding dynamic players at the skill positions, notably quarterback and receiver, must be a top priority for this team in the 2010 draft.

It's colder in Seattle than Chicago

December, 6, 2009
The Rams are experiencing 35-degree weather in Chicago

The temperature in Seattle right now is 34 degrees.

The 49ers' run-oriented offense should serve them well in December. Oh, wait, almost forgot. 'Tis the season for spreading the field and throwing the ball around.

Will the 49ers really leave Frank Gore in the background against the team he has owned over the years? That seems tough to envision.

Turnovers not enough for Rams defense

December, 6, 2009
The Rams had allowed 16 rushing touchdowns entering Week 13, tied with Buffalo for second most in the league behind Oakland (17).

The Bears' Matt Forte already has a touchdown against the Rams, providing the anticipated fantasy production.

The Rams forced an early fumble against the Bears. Forcing turnovers might not be enough, however. The Rams might need to score on defense unless quarterback Kyle Boller starts showing a little more.

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe just forced a Bears fumble, but only after a long gain. That's the problem with some of Atogwe's forced fumbles in recent seasons. Some of them come only after opponents have made huge plays down the field.

Rams' Jackson will fight through injury

December, 6, 2009
The Rams' decision to leave Steven Jackson active despite lingering back trouble gives their running game a fighting chance against Chicago.

Several other Rams players will miss the game, but Jackson clearly is the most valuable player on the team. This is a 1-10 team with Jackson. It's tough to imagine the Rams keeping a game close without him.

Fullback Mike Karney is inactive again, however, and his absence limits the team's options. The Rams used a third tight end as the fullback against Seattle, but it wasn't the same as having Karney pounding away.