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Bears Handle Rams 23-6

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 24, 2012 3:40PM

Following last week's poor showing in Green Bay, the Bears hoped to right the ship against the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on Sunday. Despite some shakiness with their offense, the defense dominated and led the Bears to a 23-6 victory.

On the opening drive of the game, the Bears sustained enough offensive momentum (aided by a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt) to get on the board with a Robbie Gould field goal. Approaching halftime, the Bears offense managed to score their lone offensive touchdown on a three-yard rush by Michael Bush, which capped an 81-yard, seven minute drive and gave the Bears a 10-0 lead with less than two minutes to play in the half. However, the Bears were unable to keep their shutout going into the intermission thanks to Lovie Smith's clock management. After apparently stopping the Rams' drive in the waning seconds of the second quarter, a timeout to get the right personnel on the field caused the winds to die down and gave St. Louis the time to reconsider punting. Instead, they sent their rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein out to attempt a 56-yard field goal, and he nailed it.

A third quarter field goal by Zuerlein cut the Bears lead to four. The Bears finally put the game away with a pair of Robbie Gould field goals and Major Wright's 45-yard interception return for a pick-six.

The defense clearly won the game for the Bears on Sunday. In addition to Wright's interception, set up by a Tim Jennings deflection, Jennings also had his NFL-leading fourth interception in the games waning minutes. But all afternoon, the defense stifled the St. Louis offense. Entering the game, Rams QB Sam Bradford has been third in the league with a 112.4 QB rating. However, the Bears allowed Bradford to complete just 18 of 35 passes for 152 yards while sacking him six times. Israel Idonije led the Bears with 2 1/2 sacks. Stephen Jackson managed to rush for just 29 yards on 11 carries. The Rams' 160 yards of total offense was the third fewest allowed under Lovie Smith.

However, the Bears offense wasn't that much better. Cutler completed 17 of 31 passes for 183 yards. He was sacked twice and threw an interception. WIthout Matt Forte, Michael Bush was the team's featured running back and he gained 55 yards on 18 carries. Brandon Marhsall rebounded from an embarrasing Green Bay game to catch five passes for 71 yards, while rookie Alshon Jeffery caught five for 50 yards. The offensive line -- and especially J'Marcus Webb -- continued to miss blocks and fail to provide the protection necessary for Cutler. Even some attempts with a sixth lineman on the field didn't help the offense.

But a win is a win. Even if it comes against a team that finished last season 2-14. The Bears move to 2-1 on the young season and now must gear up for another prime time appearance. Next Monday night, the Bears travel to Dallas to face the 2-1 Cowboys. Perhaps their showing in the Lone Star State will give us a better idea of whether the Bears are a good team, or simply one that can beat up on weaker opponents.