Bears' rout of Rams merits broader perspective


Bears' rout of Rams merits broader perspective

Putting the Bears’ 37-13 harvesting of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday into some context.

The Bears’ 397 yards were the second most given up by the St. Louis Rams this year, and the 37 points are the most scored by a Rams opponent (or by the Rams, for that matter) this season. Stats by themselves aren’t necessarily meaningful, but what the Bears did inside the Edward Jones Dome warrants further scrutiny because it points to measuring progress the Bears might have made through 2015, which finds them 4-5 after winning four of their last six.

“Snap to whistle, the effort, the execution, what to do, how to do,” coach John Fox said, “I think we probably clicked as well as we have all season long, in a short week, on the road, against an NFC opponent, which we hadn’t done yet. From that standpoint it’s gratifying after the fact.”

The points vs. St. Louis were against a team ranked No. 6 in scoring defense in the NFL. When the Bears played the Arizona Cardinals back in Week 2, they scored 23 points against a defense now No. 7 in points allowed, and that with Jay Cutler missing the second half with a hamstring injury — which hinted at what the Bears might aspire to this season. The Bears did score 20 points in that first half with Cutler.

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Against Minnesota (No. 2 in scoring defense) the Bears managed 20 points. And they put up 23 on the Packers (No. 12) in Week 1.

To hang 37 on St. Louis without a helpful spate of takeaways by the defense creating short fields, with a diminished Alshon Jeffery (groin) and missing both Matt Forte and Eddie Royal doesn’t guarantee anything against the Denver Broncos’ defense (No. 1 in yardage allowed, No. 3 in scoring). But the direction of the Bears’ arrow seems reasonably clear.

“This is a new system with a lot of new players as far as relating to coaches and coaches relating to players,” Fox said. “We are starting to know our football team better. A lot has changed over the nine weeks quite a bit. Last week was the halfway point. The way we are trending, I like the way the guys are going about their business.”

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7


Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.