Being without Pernell McPhee (knee) left the Bears without their best pass rusher. Then again, Lamarr Houston has looked like the Bears’ best pass rusher for the last two games.
Houston was the decisive rushman last Monday in San Diego with two fourth-quarter sacks. On Sunday, again in the fourth quarter, Houston beat St. Louis left tackle Greg Robinson with a pure speed rush around the edge and sacked quarterback Nick Foles to create a fourth-and-long that the Rams failed to convert.
Willie Young got early pressure on Foles and tripped up Todd Gurley to save a potential big run in the red zone in the first half when the game was still in the balance. Young then delivered the coup de grace with an interception of a Foles pass, two snaps after he was flagged for roughing the passer.
Young, still adjusting to outside linebacker after a career at defensive end, went 39 yards with his first interception since college.
“Anytime a defensive lineman gets a ball in his hands and some green grass in front of him, he’s not taking a knee,” Young said, laughing. “Those are few and far between.”
In his first game back after three missed because of a knee injury, Shea McClellin was active early in both blitzing and run fills, topped by his strip of the football from Tre Mason late in the first quarter to give the Bears offense the ball at the St. Louis 19.
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“It was a little rough at first,” said McClellin, who led the Bears with 8 tackles, according to preliminary stats. “But after that it felt pretty good.”
McClellin also was a major component in the overall defense taking the game away from Rams running back Todd Gurley. “[You have to] make sure he doesn’t hit those cutbacks and seams,” McClellin said. “Everyone did a great job of being in position.”
Christian Jones’ delayed blitz on a second-and-long in the second quarter forced a throwaway with a hit Nick Foles despite a receiver (Tavon Austin) open in the secondary. Jonathan Anderson (3 tackles) was able to stop a third-down conversion in the fourth quarter, in solo coverage on Tre Mason.
Moon's Grade: A