Los Angeles Rams' defense powers bounce-back win over Chicago Bears

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams' defense dominated from the opening kickoff, the offense picked up the pace as the night wore on, and special teams even made its presence felt as punter Johnny Hekker kept the Chicago Bears at bay.

The Rams earned their first win over a team with a winning record when they defeated the Bears 24-10 on Monday night at SoFi Stadium. The Rams improved to 5-2. The Bears fell to 5-2.

The victory proved the Rams' ability to bounce back after they fell last week at the San Francisco 49ers in their first division game.

"The players came out, they performed, they were ready to go from the jump," Rams coach Sean McVay said after Monday's contest. "I thought it was reflective of the urgency that we had in the week of practice."

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald kept the pressure on Bears quarterback Nick Foles, as the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year anchored a physical effort that held the Bears to a season-low 10 points and 279 total yards of offense.

"Defense just kind of suffocated them all game," said Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Foles completed 28 of 40 passes for 261 yards with two interceptions.

Donald and defensive tackle Greg Gaines combined for a sack in the first half, and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd took Foles down twice. The Rams finished with four sacks.

"I wanted to be calm but with high intensity to go out and execute at a high level," said Floyd, whom the Bears released in the offseason, despite exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract a year earlier. "We proved that we was the better defense today."

The Rams' defense, which first-year coordinator Brandon Staley implored throughout the week to play physical after it missed several tackles in Week 6, didn't stop with an aggressive approach up front.

In the third quarter, cornerback Troy Hill tipped a Foles pass in the end zone, and safety Taylor Rapp intercepted the ball to halt a scoring threat with the Rams ahead 17-3. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey picked off a Foles pass late in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

"I was pleased with everything that they did," said McVay, who awarded game balls to Floyd and Staley, who served as the Bears' outside linebackers coach in 2018 under Matt Nagy. "I thought they flew around. I thought we were great really in every area of the game."

Facing a stout Chicago defense, Rams quarterback Jared Goff overcame a sluggish start and remained poised after Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack forced a strip sack on the opening drive of the second half.

Goff rebounded by leading two consecutive touchdown drives that gave the Rams a 24-3 lead with 1:39 to play in the third quarter, before the offense effectively ran time off the clock.

"We did well. That defense is tough," said Goff, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. "There was a couple careless errors by me that we got away with, but that's the game. I thought we were able to distribute the ball pretty well and make some plays."

On special teams, Hekker pinned the Bears at or inside their 10-yard line five times, the most in his career and the most in a game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Hekker's final punt, which was downed at the Bears' 5-yard line, drew an on-field celebration that included a chest bump from Donald.

"It is great to know that Aaron Donald knows my name sometimes," Hekker said with a laugh.

As Goff explained, "I'm not usually getting off the bench for a punt, and that one he hit -- the big one he hit in the fourth quarter, I believe, that came down and stopped inside the 5 -- it's exciting. We understand how important field position is."

The Rams play Sunday at Miami, where Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is scheduled to make his first career start.