Led by Israel
Idonije (2.5 sacks), the Bears sacked Rams quarterback Sam
Bradford six times and picked him off twice, with Major
Wright returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, in addition to
limiting the signal-caller to a passer rating of 39.2.
Coming off a
meltdown in a Week 2 loss to the Green
Bay Packers, Chicago’s offense -- which operated without starting running
back Matt Forte -- sputtered, but showed small signs of improvement.
Here’s a closer look:
What it means: The entire NFC North entered this
week’s games with 1-1 records, so the Bears needed a win to stay in the mix atop
the division standings. Obviously, it’s still early in the race. But the Bears
didn’t want to put themselves in a hole so early in the season and fall into a
situation where they’re playing catch-up.
Besides that, winning is the
best way to rebound from a devastating defeat like the one suffered on Sept. 13
at Green Bay.
Front four still fearsome: Chicago’s
front four built on its impressive start to the season by generating six sacks
of Bradford on Sunday to run up their season total to 14.
entered the game tied for second in the NFL with eight sacks, accounting for 47
yards in losses. Interestingly, every one of those sacks had come from the
defensive line. But Nick
Roach broke the string of sacks by defensive linemen by getting in on the
action for the club’s linebackers.
Missed opportunity: Devin
Hester's drop of a sure touchdown pass from Jay
Cutler in the fourth quarter seemed to sum up a day of missed opportunities
by the Bears' offense. The Bears had just driven 11 plays, and siphoned away
close to six minutes off the clock only to settle for a 22-yard Robbie
Gould field goal that made the score 13-6.
Hester’s miss was just
one of many by the Bears, who suffered multiple dropped passes from Brandon Marshall and some errant throws by Cutler.
offense hoped to rebound in front of the home crowd after last Thursday’s
embarrassing performance. The unit showed improvement in several areas, but for
the most part sputtered.
Major playmaker? Wright has
dealt with his fair share of criticism throughout his three-year tenure with the
team, ranging from questions about durability to his grasp of Chicago’s
defensive system. Well, Wright finally seems to be dispelling the doubts.
In the fourth quarter Sunday, Wright intercepted a Bradford pass
intended for Danny Amendola with 9:06 left to play and returned it for a
45-yard TD to make the score 20-6 after the extra-point kick. Tim
Jennings, who also picked off a pass late in the game, tipped the ball right
into Wright’s hands. But on the return for a TD, Wright showcased the physical
traits the Bears raved about when they drafted him with a third-round pick in
Wright recently admitted that a lack of knowledge of the team’s
system contributed to his problems over the first two years of his career. But
in the offseason, Wright said he put forth more of an effort to gain a firm
grasp of the intricacies of the defense, and that appears to be paying off.
Wright entered Sunday’s game with 15 tackles in three starts.
Windy City: Kickers took advantage of light east winds
in the first half with Gould connecting on a 54-yard field goal in the first
quarter, and Rams kicker Greg
Zuerlein hitting on a 56-yarder with 27 seconds remaining in the second
Gould’s 54-yard bomb was his longest since Dec. 11 of last
season when he booted a 57-yard field goal at Denver. Since Dec. 5, 2010, Gould
is 6-of-6 on field goal attempts of 50-plus yards.
Two No. 1s
down, three to go: Bradford marked the second of five No. 1 overall
picks the Bears will face this season. The club faced 2012 No. 1 overall pick Andrew
Luck in Week 1 and came away with three interceptions in 41-21 victory over
the Colts and limited Bradford, the first pick of 2010, on Sunday to 152 yards,
two interceptions and a passer rating of 39.2.
Each of the club’s first
four home games features No. 1 overall picks. The next two are Detroit
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, the first pick of ’09, and Carolina
Panthers quarterback Cam
Newton, the top pick in ’11. The Bears wrap up matchups against No. 1s in
Week 11 when they face Alex
Smith (No. 1 overall in ’05) at San Francisco on Nov. 19.
Best actor goes to: No contest, Bears right tackle Gabe
Carimi wins. After locking up with Rams defensive end William Hayes at the end of a Michael
Bush run, Carimi flopped to the turf in an attempt to draw a penalty. If you
recall, Carimi was called in the team’s loss to the Packers on Sept. 13 for a
personal foul for continuing after the whistle was blown.
appear to be doing that when Carimi appeared to throw up his arms and basically
launch himself backward onto the ground.
Bad acting, Gabe. You deserve a
Razzie. It was certainly entertaining, though, drawing giggles throughout the
Soldier Field press box.
What’s next: The Bears receive
another opportunity on the national stage next Monday night when they face the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Surely the memory of the
meltdown at Lambeau Field on Sept. 13 will remain fresh on the club’s mind in
preparation for the Cowboys. So the Bears will work hard to avoid a repeat
performance in the national spotlight.