The Rams have a lot of money invested in Jared Goff, but they don’t ask very much of him.
The Rams quarterback wasn’t prolific, but was at least timely in a 17-7 win over the Bears.
Goff’s stat line was kind of ridiculous to look at. He was 11-of-18 for 173 yards, with an interception. That’s not what they were buying with the four-year, $134 million extension he signed in September.
The Rams kept Bears pass-rusher Khalil Mack from taking over the game by taking him out of it. By going run-heavy early, Mack and the Bears’ pass defense didn’t have a chance to make any game-changing plays — which they needed since their offense wasn’t much help.
Sunday, the Rams were willing to shorten the game, keeping the ball in the hands of Todd Gurley (25 carries for 97 yards and three catches for 36 yards).
Gurley is also well-paid, but the allocation of funds was less important than simply surviving an ugly game — which could be the sign of even uglier things for the Bears (keep reading).
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. Ryan Pace was wrong. Deeply, painfully, terribly wrong.
It seems almost comical now, a farce, too ridiculous to believe. But the Bears General Manger traded four things (his first-, third-, and fourth-round picks in 2017 and his 2018 third-rounder) so he could move from third to second in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Then he took quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
It was a football Steve Bartman kind of move, done with good intentions but going 180 degrees from correct in a hurry.
Pace has made many other bold moves as G.M. that actually worked. Taking advantage of the Raiders’ tightfistedness to land Mack was a positive. He has put together an otherwise competitive team. But he’ll be defined by his quarterback call, and he missed it as badly as it could be missed.
Journeyman Chase Daniel replaced Trubisky late in the game, and unless Trubisky has an injury we don’t know about, it’s a very bad sign for the Bears. Or, even if he does, really.
2. The Rams were able to do big things on offense in recent years for reasons beyond Sean McVay’s brilliance.
One of the factors they miss the most this year is continuity up front.
This year, there has been nothing resembling stability.
Left guard Rodger Saffold left in free agency, and center John Sullivan was released. They thought they had replacements in place with Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen, but they’re on injured reserve now.
They traded for failed Browns second-rounder Austin Corbett to play left guard now, moved Blythe to the middle, and started a pair of rookies on the right side of the line Sunday (right guard David Edwards and right tackle Bobby Evans).
It’s still clearly a work in progress, but they were able to run the ball well enough to get by.
But at least they got it to Cooper Kupp this week.
After he was shut out by the Steelers last week (with no receptions on four targets), Kupp had the big play of the first half, a 50-yard reception which was initially ruled a touchdown but later spotted at the Bears’ 1-yard line on review.
4. It’s not Eddy Pineiro‘s fault, he’s just the poor devil who survived the offseason to become the Bears kicker.
He missed a pair of field goals in the first half, which left him 3-of-his-last-7. He also missed an extra point last week.
It’s hard to believe that the Bears would have such problems, given the completely normal way they treated the position this offseason.
In an effort to not let Cody Parkey‘s playoff miss linger, the Bears made it the most identifiable part of their offseason, bringing in kickers by the busload during minicamps, and using gimmicks like the “Augusta silence” during practice to create a little artificial pressure.
What it created was a sideshow, and it didn’t yield a result that would have been any different from just picking one and going with him until he misses, and then firing him and hiring another one. Sometimes football coaches overcomplicate things.
5. The Bears’ most consistent offensive player was often someone who works for the Rams, in all three phases.
There were several junctures in the game in which Rams penalties led to conversions which kept drives going, or took points off the board.
From a defensive offside on a punt by Malcolm Brown in the first quarter, to a defensive holding on Troy Hill which negated a third-down sack in the fourth quarter, the Rams gave the Bears far too many chances.
Then when the Rams had a chance to put the game away, an illegal formation penalty took a 51-yard touchdown pass off the board.
They don’t have enough margin of error to make those kids of mistakes against other teams. They were fortunate to be playing a team that can’t score.