With three weeks remaining in the regular season before the NFL playoffs begin, the Bears served notice with their 15-6 win over the high-powered Rams on Sunday night in Chicago.
The Bears looked at a league that has become completely smitten with offense and said: Defense still rules.
And when the playoffs begin, the team with the best defense is likely to be the last team standing once the post-Super Bowl confetti has settled onto the turf at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Sure, the Rams and Chiefs and Saints, the three highest-scoring teams in the league, and their respective prolific offenses have been all the rage this season. But when the games count the most, bet on defense.
That makes the 9-4 Bears a team no one wants to meet in the playoffs. That said, playoff teams should also watch out for the Ravens, who’ve allowed the fewest points in the league with 240, and the Cowboys, who’ve allowed 246, should those teams make it to the postseason.
No team, until the Bears did it Sunday night, had stifled the Rams offense.
No team, until the Bears on Sunday night, suffocated Todd Gurley and the Rams’ rushing attack. Gurley, the heartbeat of the Rams offense, had just 28 yards on 11 carries.
Bears guard Kyle Long told NFL.com Sunday night’s game was “the best defensive performance I’ve ever seen.”
“When we control what we can control, we dominate and you saw that tonight,” safety Eddie Jackson told NFL.com. “Like Coach [Matt] Nagy always says, can’t nobody in the NFL mess with us when we play our game. If people aren’t [figuring that out], they’d better do it quick, ’cause we’re coming. We’re coming every week.”
Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who’s had a magical season, completed just 20-of-44 for a season-low 180 yards and, most importantly, a career-high four INTs. Those picks added to the Bears’ NFL-high 34 takeaways on defense.
“This one is very, very humbling for me,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters after the game.
The six-point output was the lowest in McVay’s two seasons as coach.