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.”