INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The 2021 NFL season is here and the Bears opened the season against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Veteran quarterback Andy Dalton made his Bears debut Sunday night against first-year Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Shaw Local Bears reporter Sean Hammond was reporting from SoFi Stadium in California. Catch up on everything you missed below.
Rams beat the Bears in season opener
The Rams ran out the clock on a 34-14 victory in the season opener. For the Bears, it was a disappointing outcome to begin the 2021 campaign. It also meant that the NFC North went a combined 0-4 in Week 1.
The Bears defense will have much to parse through on tape this week. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford made it look easy, throwing for three touchdowns and 321 yards.
Robert Woods drags toes on beautiful touchdown catch
The Rams added another touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Receiver Robert Woods dragged his feet and caught Matthew Stafford’s third touchdown pass of the game. The Rams took a 34-14 lead.
Rams march right back and score again
The Bears defense is having trouble stopping Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense. Los Angeles drove 75 yards on eight plays in 2:55 of game time, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run from Darrell Henderson Jr.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp made a nice play one play before to set up the touchdown. The Rams lead the game, 27-14.
Fields punches in 3-yard touchdown run
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields faked a handoff and ran in a 3-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. The score capped a 16-play, 81-yard drive for the Bears. It pulled the Bears within 20-14.
It was an eventful drive, though, because the Bears lost backup left tackle Larry Borom and running back David Montgomery to apparent injuries. Both players left the game, were attended to by trainers on the sideline, then went back to the locker room. Montgomery ran back to the locker room; his injury is unclear. Borom limped his way up the tunnel.
Third-string tackle Elijah Wilkinson entered the game at left tackle in place of Borom.
Rams add touchdown strike after halftime
The Bears secondary broke down again just four plays after halftime. Rams QB Matthew Stafford connected with Cooper Kupp for a 56-yard touchdown pass. The Rams extended their lead, 20-7.
Defensive back Marqui Christian was in coverage and simply stopped following Kupp. Nobody picked up Kupp on the backside of the play and he caught Stafford’s pass with no defenders in sight. It could’ve been a mistake on Christian, or safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson.
In other news, Bears left tackle Jason Peters left the game with a quad injury and was officially designated as questionable to return.
David Montgomery finds the end zone for Bears’ first score
The Bears drove 55 yards on nine plays to score their first touchdown of the game near the end of the second quarter. David Montgomery punched in a 3-yard score. The Bears’ running back has 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in the first half.
The touchdown brought the Bears within 13-7. The Rams ran the clock out to end the first half.
Bears make goal-line stand, Rams add another field goal
The Bears defense came up with a stop on the goal line, holding the Rams to a chip-shot field goal early in the second quarter. The defense stuffed running back Darrell Henderson Jr. for a 2-yard loss on first-and-goal. Matthew Stafford threw back-to-back incompletions on the next two plays.
Kicker Matt Gay made a 22-yard field goal to give the Rams a 13-0 lead.
Rams pressure causes strip sack on fourth down
With a fourth down at the Rams’ 38-yard line, the Bears went for it again late in the first quarter. The Rams pass rush collapsed the pocket and Rams linebacker Justin Hollins reached quarterback Andy Dalton first, causing a fumble. Linebacker Kenny Young recovered the fumble for the Rams.
Through one quarter, the Bears offense is 0-for-3 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down attempts.
Rams add long field goal
After the Bears failed to convert on a fourth-down attempt at the Rams’ 41-yard line, the Rams drove 24 yards on six plays. The Bears defense stood tall on third down from its own 35-yard-line. Rams kicker Matt Gay made a 53-yard field goal to give Los Angeles a 10-0 advantage.
Rams strike first on 67-yard touchdown pass
It didn’t take the Rams long.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford found receiver Van Jefferson deep down the middle of the field for a 67-yard touchdown pass on the Rams’ third offensive play of the game.
Jefferson fell to the ground after the catch. The Bears had three defensive backs in the area, but nobody could reach Jefferson before he popped back up and found the end zone. The Rams took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Justin Fields makes early appearance; Dalton intercepted on tipped pass
Rookie running back Khalil Herbert started off the game with a 50-yard return from deep in the end zone. David Montgomery kept the momentum going with a 41-yard run through a huge hole moments later.
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields even made his first appearance, coming in for one snap in the red zone and completing a 9-yard pass to receiver Marquise Goodwin.
The drive ended on third-and-6 from the Rams’ 8-yard line when Andy Dalton’s pass was tipped in the end zone and ended up in the hands of Rams cornerback David Long for an interception.
Bears announce Sunday’s inactives
Seven Bears will not play Sunday and are officially designated as inactive.
Quarterback Nick Foles, receiver Breshad Perriman, defensive back Duke Shelley, linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons, tight end Jesper Horsted and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman.
What to know about the Rams
The Bears and Rams are meeting for the fourth consecutive season. The Bears won in 2018 at Soldier Field, while the Rams won the past two games in California. So the Bears are very familiar with the Rams.
They are also very familiar with the Rams’ new quarterback Matthew Stafford. The veteran QB spent the past 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Everyone across the NFL is curious to see how the pairing of coach Rams Sean McVay’s offense and Stafford plays out.
Shaw Local has plenty of coverage to get you ready for the game. Arkush provided his key matchups to watch, coaching decisions to watch, X-factor and much more. Also check out our five things to watch in this Bears vs. Rams matchup.
Eddie Goldman remains in Chicago
Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman didn’t travel with the team to Los Angeles. Goldman missed three days of practice this week with a knee injury. Defensive tackle Damion Square and linebacker Josh Woods have been elevated from the practice squad to the active roster ahead of Sunday’s game.
Rookie defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga could be in line to earn the start at nose tackle in place of Goldman. Tonga is a seventh-round draft pick out of BYU.
There’s not a lot of love for the Bears in this Week 1 matchup. Check out the predictions from Shaw Local’s panel of football experts.
What else you missed this week
Catch up on all of our reporting from Halas Hall in Lake Forest from Week 1.