Sunday, September 23, 2012
Wrap-up: Bears 23, Rams 6
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 23-6 defeat to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field:
What it means: The Rams dropped to 1-2, missing an opportunity to move above .500 for the first time since the 2006 team was 4-3. Their limitations on offense were more apparent in this game than they were in the previous two. With two home games against division opponents next on the schedule, St. Louis has a good opportunity to right itself.
What I liked: The Rams kept the game close enough to give themselves a chance deep into the second half. Their defense limited the Bears to field goals regularly. Cortland Finnegan's interception was his third for the Rams in three games with the team. Fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins nearly had an interception. Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein connected from 56 yards before halftime. The team's decision to go with a rookie carried some risk, but Zuerlein has proven the Rams were right. He's become a weapon for them and should help St. Louis win close games. The defense limited Jay Cutler to 183 yards with no touchdowns and a 58.9 NFL passer rating, good enough for the Rams to win if their offense could have held up its end. The Rams held the Bears to 3.0 yards per carry, and that included a 21-yard scramble from Cutler.
What I didn't like: Brandon Gibson entered this game with a touchdown in each of the Rams' first two games. He dropped a pass deep in Bears territory when the Rams desperately needed points. The team's margin for error was too small for Gibson to let this one get away. Quarterback Sam Bradford then took a sack, a big swing. Bradford had played two of his best career games in the first two weeks. There were times in this game when I thought he could have flourished with better pass protection. Bradford also took a couple sacks when he could have gotten rid of the ball. He threw two picks when the Rams were trying to play catchup. Bradford completed 18 of 35 passes for 152 yards with six sacks, no touchdowns and a 39.2 NFL passer rating. A penalty for roughing the kicker proved costly early, sustaining a Bears drive to a field goal.
Injury update: Steven Jackson started the game despite a groin injury, but he was ineffective and appeared slow compared to rookie Daryl Richardson. Jackson carried 11 times for 29 yards (2.6-yard average).
What's next: The Rams are home against Seattle in Week 4 for their first NFC West game under coach Jeff Fisher.