LOS ANGELES — Breaking down the Bears' 17-7 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams on "Sunday Night Football."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After missing wide left from 48 yards to squander a promising game-opening drive for the Bears offense, Eddy Pineiro missed again minutes later, wide right from 47 yards out, marking his fifth failed FG conversion — with four of them, plus a missed PAT, in the past three games. The Bears once again have a kicking problem, which Matt Nagy seemed to forecast even prior to Pineiro’s second miss by eschewing a 48-yard attempt on fourth-and-9. It should surprise no one if (when) the Bears hold kicker tryouts Tuesday at Halas Hall because Pineiro has fallen off fast following his encouraging start.
The downhill success the Rams run game had didn’t rub off on Matt Nagy, who called a zone read on third-and-1 on Chicago's second possession of the second half that went for minus-3 to David Montgomery, immediately following the defense's second consecutive three-and-out. We understand an unwillingness to trust Trubisky, even coming off his first TD drive on the previous possession, but why not at least line up and try and power ahead for a yard with Montgomery, whose strength is getting the tough yards between the tackles? An odd and frustrating decision, and even worse execution, after the run game was the Bears’ catalyst on offense in last year’s win vs. the Rams.
The Bears turned to Chase Daniel with less than three minutes remaining in a 10-point game, saying his return was questionable with a hip injury. But was this a mercy pull? If not, there was no apparent play on which he suffered the injury. So much for rebuilding his confidence and tarnished image over the final seven games. He was bad — 24-of-43 for 190 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT — but he's been worse this season
THINGS THAT WORKED
1. Caught stealing: The Bears defense produced its first multi-takeaway game since Week 5. Eddie Jackson forced a Todd Gurley fumble on the Rams’ first play on offense, which running mate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recovered, and Smith intercepted a Jared Goff gift on the subsequent series for his third career pick — and second in as many games against Goff.
2. Roquan Smith: In arguably the biggest game of his young Bears career — and the first without defensive leader and sidekick Danny Trevathan — Smith was awesome with a game-high 10 tackles and an interception.
3. Tarik Cohen: Frankly, we struggled to come up with this but Cohen's 74 yards from scrimmage was easily his best this season and he was the catalyst on the Bears' lone TD drive, capping it with a gorgeous wheel route and fancy footwork en route to the end zone from 14 yards.
THINGS THAT DIDN'T
1. Capitalizing on Rams mistakes: The Bears had their first multi-takeaway game since Week 5, and they were gifted two free first downs on awful Rams penalties, but they parlayed the gifts into zero points. By contrast, the Rams scored the game-winning touchdown — a one-yard scoring plunge by Todd Gurley following a 50-yard Goff-to-Cooper Kupp bomb — almost immediately after Mitch Trubisky's fourth interception of the season. On a night when Goff was worse than Trubisky, the Bears have only loss No. 6 to show for it.
2. Giving Trubisky help: For all the heat Trubisky takes — much of it well earned — his receivers did him few favors. In addition to an apparent miscommunication with Anthony Miller on his pick, Taylor Gabriel committed a drop on one third down, and Chicago’s pass-catching corps showed a lack of awareness in what should’ve been a scramble drill on the final third down prior to halftime after Trubisky bought himself time rolling right, only to take a sack.
3. Winning advantageous matchups: With the Rams down two starting receivers and two starting offensive linemen, the Bears didn't generate a sack and still allowed the Rams to dictate tempo with their run game. Gurley and Kupp were the two players Chicago needed to take away but it didn't happen.
What's next: The Bears, playoff hopes all but gone at 4-6, host the 2-8 New York Giants, who were off last week. They're now led by top pick Daniel Jones, after then-Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley went wild for 146 yards from scrimmage in the 30-27 overtime victory over Chicago at MetLife Stadium in Week 12 last season.