Goldman, Dominant Defense Leads Bears Over Rams 15-6
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears harassed Jared Goff and squashed the Los Angeles Rams' high-powered offense while shuffling their way to a surprising victory over the team that came in with the NFL's best record.
In a season of huge strides, this might be their biggest one yet.
Eddie Goldman led a dominant effort by the defense and the NFC North-leading Bears beat the NFC West champion Rams 15-6 on Sunday night.
"Our play on defense — all I can say is wow," coach Matt Nagy said.
The Rams (11-2) missed a chance to secure a first-round playoff bye and fell into a tie with New Orleans for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Goff threw a career-high four interceptions and was sacked three times, with Goldman getting to him for a tiebreaking safety early in the third quarter.
Bradley Sowell became the first Bears offensive lineman in 11 years with a touchdown reception when he caught a 2-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter. And after four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North, Chicago continued to close in on its first division title and playoff appearance since 2010.
"For them to go out and do it (against) a team that had only one loss all year long ... is so powerful for our guys now because it helps us grow," Nagy said. "It helps us grow with confidence. It helps us grow togetherness. When you teach that and you talk about it over and over and over — as a culture, as a building, everyone together as a family — and then they do it, it lights a fire. It puts us in a great position. We do talk about one game at a time. They're gonna enjoy tonight and then we're gonna get right back in it and get ready for next week."
Coming off a shaky outing against Detroit, Goff was 20 of 44 for 180 yards with a 19.1 rating. NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley ran for a season-low 28 yards on 11 carries, and the Rams' three-game win streak came to an end.
The Rams' only other loss was at New Orleans. But against the Monsters of the Midway, they managed just 214 yards.
"Really, consistently over and over I continue to put our players in bad spots," Los Angeles coach Sean McVay said. "Certainly a humbling night, but it's one you get a chance to look at yourself critically, find a way to get better and move forward accordingly and that's exactly what we're going to do and that's all I know how to do. And I have to be better for our football team. This loss is on me. I didn't do a nearly good enough job for us today. I trust we will respond the right way."
The Bears (9-4) bounced back from a wild overtime loss at the New York Giants and won for the sixth time in seven games.
Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks had sacks. Roquan Smith, Prince Amukamara, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller had interceptions, helping Chicago come away with the win despite a shaky effort from Trubisky.
"All 11 guys collectively going against the offense, it was going to be a big challenge for us," Mack said. "We stepped up to the challenge."
The Bears needed it with Trubisky struggling about as badly as Goff.
After missing the previous two games because of a right shoulder injury, he was 16 of 30 for 110 yards and three interceptions.
"It's hard to be down when you get such a big win like that," Trubisky said. "You've just got to put your own selfish thoughts about how you played aside. ... I'm just very proud of the way the team had my back."
Goldman broke a 6-6 tie in the opening minute of the third quarter when he sacked Goff for Chicago's first safety this season.
The Bears then used a trick play they call "Santa's Sleigh" to make it 15-6, when Sowell hauled in a 2-yarder from Trubisky on a play-action with defensive end Hicks. That made him the first Bears offensive lineman with a TD reception since John St. Clair against Kansas City on Sept. 16, 2017.
"We needed a play so they gave it to the play-maker," Sowell said.
The Rams had a big opportunity late in the third when John Johnson III returned an interception 35 yards to the Chicago 27. But Fuller picked off a wobbly pass from Goff intended for Josh Reynolds on the next play.
Los Angeles' Greg Zuerlein missed a 40-yard field goal off the right upright in the opening minutes of the fourth after making a 50-yarder earlier in the game.
Rams: CB Dominique Hatfield was taken from the field on a cart with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was hurt on the kickoff following Sowell's TD. ... C John Sullivan was evaluated for a concussion after being shaken up blocking on a run by Gurley late in the first quarter. But he returned in the second half.
Bears: CB Bryce Callahan left the game with a foot injury late in the first half.
Rams: Host Philadelphia on Dec. 16.
Bears: Host Green Bay on Dec. 16.