The Chicago Bears know that this upcoming Monday night game in Los Angeles is a big one. The Rams are a tough opponent. One who beat them last year 17-7. This will be the third matchup between the two teams in as many years. For the Bears, as always, it comes down to whether they can trust their defense to keep it close.
Much of that will depend on how they play against Jared Goff. L.A.’s quarterback is off to arguably the best start of his career. Through six games he has 1,570 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Good for a 101.4 passer rating. The question many have though is how much of that is him and how much is the schedule?
Thus far Goff hasn’t exactly played a string of challenges.
His first four games were against opponents that rank 15th or worse in total defense so far this season. The fifth opponent, Washington, is 18th in scoring defense. Safe to say Goff has feasted on a number of cupcakes to start this season. That changed last week against the San Francisco 49ers who rank 5th in the NFL so far.
Despite a myriad of injuries, the unit still managed to frustrate Goff most of the night. He finished with just 198 yards passing and completed just 50% of his throws. This led to an interesting question. What is the Rams quarterback like when he faces better defenses? Was the 49ers game an aberration or a sign of something more?
Chicago Bears should hold Goff in check if they play their game
I crunched some numbers. Going back to the start of 2019, Goff played a total of seven games against true top 10 defenses. His numbers? Not exactly what they’d call “elite.” He 151-of-255 for 1,511 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions. That equates to a 70.89 passer rating including a 59.21 completion percentage.
For those who need reminding, the Chicago Bears defense currently ranks 7th both in total yards and points allowed. They are a true top 10 unit. This paints a pretty clear picture. If they play at the level they have for the past six weeks? Odds are Goff is going to have a rough night.
Remember they played him last year too. Despite not having Akiem Hicks, they still managed to hold him to 173 yards and an interception. This defense has Hicks back and he’s not alone either. Robert Quinn has joined the fun. Together with Khalil Mack, this trio has wreaked some serious havoc in recent weeks. They have helped produce seven team sacks in the past two games against a pair of solid offensive lines in Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Los Angeles is a team that tries to run the football a lot. With good reason. It’s not like they don’t know Goff’s limitations. He’s at his best off play action. If the Bears can take away the ground game and put it in his hands? They’ll have a chance to truly feast in primetime.
Otherwise, they’ll need the offense to bail them out, which is asking for trouble.