|Bears QB Jay Cutler wasn't great on Sunday against the Rams, but he set up a field goal with this 21-yard run, and the Bears played solid defense in a 23-6 victory. (AP)|
With Jay Cutler and the new-look offense still struggling Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, the Chicago Bears on Sunday went back to what they do best -- pass rush and defend.
The Bears sacked Sam Bradford six times, held the Rams (1-2) to 160 net yards and came away with two more interceptions in a routine 23-6 victory at Soldier Field.
Cutler looked out of sync with receivers much as he had in the 23-10 loss at Green Bay on Sept. 13, but he had more time to throw because of a bigger commitment to the run and an offensive line that limited the Rams to two sacks. Cutler went from a 44 passer rating at halftime to 58.9 for the game and had only one deflected interception as he connected on 17 of 31 throws for 183 yards.
The Bears (2-1) didn't explode on the ground without injured RB Matt Forte (ankle) as much as they just kept pounding away. They kept giving it to Michael Bush and Kahlil Bell and wound up with 103 rushing yards on 34 carries. Cutler himself had the biggest run with a 21-yard scramble to set up a 22-yard fourth-quarter Robbie Gould field goal.
Bradford, third in the league in passer rating after two games, struggled greatly, hitting on just 18 of 35 passes for 152 yards with a passer rating of 39.2.
When the game turned: The Bears had been in control throughout because of defensive dominance, but the Rams still lurked a touchdown away at 13-6 with 9:06 left when Bradford threw a short pass toward the left hash from his own 39 toward WR Danny Amendola. But it was deflected by CB Tim Jennings,and safety Major Wright picked it off and returned it 45 yards for a TD, his second career pick-6. That gave the Bears a 14-point lead that seemed insurmountable with the Rams unable to gain more than 15 yards on any pass play.
Highlight moments: A wild Cortland Finnegan INT for the Rams that amounted to no scoring but was fun to see. The Rams CB picked off a deflected Cutler pass for Brandon Marshall in the secondary at the Rams 22, returned it 33 yards and fumbled when tackled by Cutler. Devin Hester picked it up, returned it 31 yards then fumbled when hit by LB James Laurinaitis. Replay brought the whole thing back to where Finnegan hit the ground after Cutler's tackle. ... Cutler's 21-yard scramble to the 6-yard line that set up a Robbie Gould 22-yard field goal that made possible a 13-6 lead. ... A 56-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal for the first Rams points that was the longest field goal ever made at Soldier Field. ... Jennings knocking down a fourth-and-one slant pass to WR Brandon Gibson on the Rams' first possession of the second half. St. Louis was driving and at the Bears 43 at the time with Chicago up 10-3. ... Bears DE Julius Peppers throwing RB Daryl Richardson to the ground for a roughing penalty after the Rams back had gotten off the turf and kept running when both thought the whistle hadn't sounded.
Top-shelf performances: DE Israel Idonije matched his personal high with 2 1/2 sacks in a game. ... Bush with 55 yards rushing and 18 receiving, to go with a 3-yard second-quarter TD run that ended a 12-play, 81-yard drive for a 10-0 lead. ... Marshall with five catches for 71 yards, including a critical third-and-eight reception of 12 yards to the Rams 3 that set up Bush's TD.
What they said about the Bears defense:
- Bears nickel back D.J. Moor:"I think the pass rush pretty much deflated him (Bradford) from looking everywhere to find (Danny) Amendola."
About the decisive INT by Major Wright that Tim Jennings deflected:
- Bears CB Tim Jennings: "Major is getting to the football. He got a good bead on it. He was in the right place at the right time. We needed that. It was a big play."
On whether Jay Cutler looks back on his Packers game and chuckles about all the furor now:
- Cutler: "I don't chuckle at that. No. When you lose a game, it's tough. You have to go back and take a look and look at your own performance and get better and move on. That's not a laughing matter."
On the decision to play RB Steven Jackson, who had 29 yards on 11 rushes:
- Rams coach Jeff Fisher: "We worked him out before the game. He felt good and said he could play. I'm OK with that. As I said all week, I trust him and he knows his body. He felt good enough to where he could go and play without subjecting himself to further injury."
On Rams offensive struggles:
Rams QB Sam Bradford: "We put ourselves in way too many third-and-longs and we knew this was a very good defense at defending third-and-long. And it was a position that we didn't want to be in."
Comic relief: The replacement referees sometimes lack knowledge of the rules, but referee Jerry Hughes showed a lack of knowledge about pronunciations. When announcing a verdict on a replay, he referred to the St. Louis Rams over the loudspeaker as "St. Looie."
Numbers you should know: The Bears held NFL receptions leader Danny Amendola to five catches for 66 yards. He had 20 catches coming into the game. ... The six sacks were more than the Chicago defense has produced in any game since Nov. 18, 2010 against Miami.
Injury update: FB Evan Rodriguez of the Bears went out with a knee injury on the game's first play and did not return. ... Rams DT Kendall Langford suffered a shoulder injury in the second half and did not return. Bot injuries will be updated Monday.
Going forward: The Bears will try to fare better in prime time than in Week 2 when they travel for a Monday night football matchup Oct. 1 in Dallas with the Cowboys, a game between two teams expected to challenge for wild cards if not division titles. ... The Rams on Sept. 30 host surging Seattle. It's St. Louis' first divisional battle of the season.
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.