Bears' defense shows the rest of the NFC that the Rams' offense can be shut down

Bears rely on defense, run game in win vs. Rams (1:42)

Ryan Clark explains how Khalil Mack wreaks havoc on defense and the Bears' two-man rushing attack propelled them to success against the Rams. (1:42)

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl? Not so fast.

On a freezing 29-degree Sunday night at Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears dealt the Rams’ high-flying offense a cold dose of reality: It can be stopped.

Jared Goff was smothered by a navy and orange pass rush, and MVP front-runner Todd Gurley vanished in the Rams' 15-6 loss.

“I looked like a skunk, that’s what I looked like,” Gurley said after the game. “It was just one of them games, man. We all were sorry today.”

Coming off a division-clinching victory over the Detroit Lions, a victory Sunday would have secured the Rams a first-round bye in the playoffs. Instead they return to L.A. re-engaged with the New Orleans Saints in a battle for NFC home-field advantage.

The Rams and Saints are each 11-2 and tied for first place in the NFC, but the Saints own the tie breaker over the Rams after defeating them in Week 9 in New Orleans.

The Rams’ six points were the fewest scored in Sean McVay’s two seasons as coach.

“This one is very, very humbling for me,” McVay said after he declared that he put his offense in a difficult position throughout the game. “I’ve got to be better for our football team.”

The Bears entered Sunday ranked among the stoutest defenses in the NFL, and the Rams -- despite averaging 439.9 yards and 34.9 points per game -- proved to be no match.

Goff needed a bounce-back performance after a sluggish outing last week against the Lions. Instead, the third-year quarterback was under duress throughout the night as Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd maintained a presence in the backfield. Goff was pressured on a career-high 18 drops backs.

“Just to play better,” Goff said. “They have done a good job defensively and last week they did a good job and this week they just did the same.”

Goff finished 20-of-44 for a season-low 180 yards, averaging a career-low 2.3 yards per attempt on third down, per ESPN Stats and Information. He was sacked three times and threw a career-high 4 interceptions to add to the Bears’ league-best 34 takeaways.

For the first time since Week 6, Goff did not pass for a touchdown.

“They did a good job getting some pressure and then they played tight coverage and there really just weren’t many plays to make tonight because of some of the selections that I had,” McVay said. “Certainly don’t want to blame Jared for a lot of the bad spots I put him in.”

Gurley, in a campaign to be named the first MVP outside of a quarterback since Adrian Peterson in 2012, had his worst game of the season as he was held to 28 rushing yards, his fewest since his rookie season in 2015, on 11 carries. He had just 14 touches.

“It was bad,” Gurley said. “Just bad.”

The Rams’ offense appeared off from the outset, as the Bears’ defense forced a quick three-and-out after Marcus Peters intercepted a pass by Mitchell Trubisky. Goff attempted a quick throw to tight end Gerald Everett on third down, but was met by Mack, who finished with a sack and forced fumble.

Despite a suffocating Bears defense, the teams were tied, 6-6, at the end of the first half.

But the Rams, who have displayed a knack for halftime adjustments that typically propel them to victories, were completely shutout after the break.

Goff would not let McVay shoulder all of the blame in the defeat.

“We need to be better and that’s the bottom line,” Goff said. “We’re the ones on the field, need to execute, need to make the plays, just need to do a lot of things better and we will.”

With three games remaining in the regular season, starting with the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rams must find a way to get their offense back on track. Because, after consecutive disappointing offensive performances, they aren't quite the Super Bowl frontrunners they appeared to be a month ago.