The Chicago Bears entered "Monday Night Football" with one of the best records in the NFL, not to mention a first-place spot atop the NFC North. They leave prime time in a much different position. Despite every effort from a defense that literally scored more points than Matt Nagy's offense in Los Angeles, the Bears had almost no answers for Sean McVay's Rams to close Week 7, with Jared Goff, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and the rest of the home team cruising to a 24-10 victory to improve to 5-2 and raise all kinds of questions about Chicago's place among NFC contenders.
Nick Foles was once again under duress as the Bears' quarterback, but he did himself no favors in response, throwing a pair of untimely interceptions to help seal the Rams' big victory. Falling to 5-2, Chicago slides to second place in the North behind the Green Bay Packers, whereas Los Angeles has successfully kept pace with its competitive NFC West rivals with the win.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Monday's contest:
Why the Rams won
On a night when the Bears got most of the attention as the game's top defense, L.A.'s own "D" stepped up exactly when it needed to, with ex-Bear Leonard Floyd logging a key third-down sack, Taylor Rapp coming up clutch with an end-zone interception and Aaron Donald and the D-line all but rendering David Montgomery a non-factor for much of the evening. On the other side of the ball, Jared Goff occasionally threatened to throw himself into a funk but mostly cruised alongside Sean McVay's diversified ground game, with Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Robert Woods all churning out chunk plays. The Rams needed to hold the ball to wear down Chicago's defense, and that's exactly what they did, especially as the night progressed. Save for a near-lost fumble by Goff from a Khalil Mack sack and a blocked field goal in the fourth, the Rams were pretty much in control from start to finish. Even punter Johnny Hekker got in on the fun, pinning several kicks deep in Chicago territory late in the matchup.
Why the Bears lost
Nick Foles looked a lot more like a backup than a hero. He hardly got any help from his O-line or the run game, where David Montgomery was limited to just a few decent runs. Coach Matt Nagy arguably deserves just as much, if not more, blame for his decision-making -- like a refusal to call timeout and potentially get in field goal range at the end of the first half, or a behind-the-line pitch to Cordarelle Patterson on a do-or-die fourth-and-one. But nothing swings a game like a QB's play, and while Foles briefly looked comfortable operating out of the no-huddle and consistently gave his wideouts deep shots, he offered too little, too late, thanks in large part due to an ugly end-zone pick in the third and numerous other chuck-it-and-pray heaves down the stretch. Defensively, Chicago looked ferocious on multiple drives, clearly dominating in the trenches and then nearly willing the team back into contention with a late score, but was ultimately too gassed on too many series because of the offense's inability to sustain momentum.
Second down. Bears ball at the Rams' nine-yard line. Chicago had just strung together five solid plays, with Foles moving a no-huddle attack inside the red zone and threatening to cut L.A.'s lead to seven points just over halfway through the third quarter. Then Foles forced one to the back corner of the end zone, firing a ball to Darnell Mooney despite double coverage from Troy Hill and Taylor Rapp. After a tip, Rapp picked it off on his way to the sideline, erasing an otherwise promising Bears drive (perhaps the best of the night) and all but sealing Los Angeles' victory heading into the final quarter.
Play of the game
On a night where neither offense hit on too many explosive plays, give this one to Rapp, who kept his feet in bounds to secure the game-changing pick in the end zone:
The Bears (5-2) will face another tough test in Week 8, when they're set to host the New Orleans Saints (4-2), who are fresh off a close win over their rival Panthers. The Rams (5-2), meanwhile, will hit the road to take on the Miami Dolphins (3-3), who will be debuting the Tua Tagovailoa era with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.