ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams traded for quarterback Nick Foles in the offseason with the hopes that he would be able to manage games, take care of the ball and make just enough big plays to get them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
But as Sunday's 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears proved once again, Foles hasn't even been able to meet those meager requests on a consistent enough basis for the Rams to transform into legitimate contenders.
After an unusually fast start that ended with a touchdown, Foles and the Rams' offense went back into hiding for the rest of the day as Foles repeatedly telegraphed throws, missed open receivers and looked generally uncomfortable in the pocket. He didn't get much help from his offensive line or receivers (as usual), and he finished 17-of-36 for 200 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a paltry passer rating of 53.0.
Foles has thrown one touchdown pass in the past four games, and although he hit 200 passing yards for the first time since the opener against Seattle, he needed garbage time late in the game to get there.
Foles' struggles were enough that Rams fans booed him on multiple occasions, but Rams coach Jeff Fisher stuck with Foles before putting Case Keenum in for the final few minutes.
It didn't help Foles or the Rams that they fell behind by two touchdowns at halftime as the Rams' defense was off-balance against the Bears and offensive coordinator Adam Gase for most of the day. Chicago's quick passing game and a powerful rushing attack left the Rams defense with perhaps its worst overall performance of the year.
That resulted in the Rams leaning on Foles to try to bring them back from a double-digit deficit, which goes beyond the realm of what he has been able to do this year. With the pressure on him to get his team back in the game, Foles' flaws were exposed further and the Rams went home with yet another loss to an NFC North foe.
What it means: At 4-5, with losses in consecutive weeks, the Rams have quickly turned a potentially promising season into one that's shaping up to be another lost year. The Bears figured to be a feisty, but beatable opponent and the Rams simply didn't take care of business. The disappointing-loss-to-a-beatable-opponent theme has been prevalent in Jeff Fisher's time in St. Louis, and the Rams kept tradition alive Sunday.
What were they thinking? Trailing 27-13 early in the fourth quarter, the Rams called for a fake punt on fourth-and-11 from their 23-yard line. The Rams have had success with fakes in their own territory before, but this was questionable on a day when not much went right. Punter Johnny Hekker threw low to intended target Cody Davis for an incompletion to give the Bears a chance to put the game out of reach.
Ouch: Rookie right tackle Rob Havenstein returned from an ankle/Achilles injury Sunday against the Bears but wasn't able to make it through the game unscathed. He left in the fourth quarter with what the Rams called a calf injury and did not return. Undrafted rookie Darrell Williams replaced him. Rookie guard Jamon Brown also went down late and had to leave the field on a cart.
Whither Welker: As expected, newly signed Rams receiver Wes Welker was active and played against the Bears less than a week after joining the Rams. His role was also as expected, as he worked almost exclusively on third down. He finished with three catches for 32 yards on five targets. He figures to be more involved as the season rolls on.
What's next: The Rams head back on the road for a two-game swing through the AFC North. That starts next weekend with a trip to Baltimore, followed by a game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.