Bears were the first to stop Rams and Sean McVay

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams' offensive line has been decimated by injuries, and behind it, quarterback Jared Goff has struggled to improvise.

A season after appearing in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams are 5-4 and clinging to a 17% playoff berth chance, according to ESPN's Football Power Index.

And now the Rams host a Chicago Bears defense on Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) that became the first unit to effectively stop Rams coach Sean McVay's offensive juggernaut last season.

The Bears are 4-5 and, similar to the Rams, have experienced a downturn this season after reaching the playoffs. But the Bears' defense packs a similar punch to last season, when it shut down the 11-1 Rams in a 15-6 victory during Week 14.

"They were a great defense, period," McVay said this week about the 2018 Bears. "I don't run away from the fact that I didn't handle that night well at all."

The six points in that game were the fewest scored by the Rams in a regular-season game since McVay became coach in 2017.

The key to that performance, according to Bears coach Matt Nagy?

"Being able to stop the run," Nagy told reporters this week in Chicago. "You stop the run and then you penetrate the line of scrimmage and be able to try to affect the quarterback, his timing, make him move in the pocket and do different things there."

Running back Todd Gurley rushed for 28 yards on 11 carries in that game, and Goff threw a career-high four interceptions, which amounted to a third of his season total on his way to a second consecutive Pro Bowl.

"We'll be ready if they do it again," Goff said.

He should count on it. The Bears have allowed 3.66 yards per rush (fourth in the NFL), 327 yards per game (ninth) and 17.4 points per game (fourth) this season. Their front seven still features star outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who will be hungry for a sack after failing to take down a quarterback the past two games.

Mack will have a makeshift offensive line to feast on.

The Rams must play three first-year starters, with veteran right tackle Rob Havenstein sidelined because of a knee injury and center Brian Allen on injured reserve because of a damaged MCL.

"It's part of the job description, and when you play quarterback at times, it's not always going to be like we had the last couple years," said Goff, referring to his offensive line the past two seasons, which started the same five linemen in each season. "This is closer to reality and just going to prepare for it."

The Rams' offensive line was the best in the NFL last season, with a pass block win rate of 74%. This season, the group has struggled -- even before it was struck by injuries -- and has the 25th-best pass block win rate at 54%, according to ESPN Metrics Powered by NFL Next Gen Stats.

Goff has suffered as a result. His total quarterback rating of 39.7 is the fifth worst in the NFL.

The fourth-year quarterback, who signed a four-year extension with $110 million in guarantees before the season, understands there are plenty of areas where he must improve.

"Throw more completions," Goff said. "Get the ball in our guys' hands and get rid of the ball. Get rid of the ball. Be accurate, be on time, everything. I can be a lot better at a lot of things."

Last week, in a 17-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Goff had three turnovers, including two interceptions and a lost fumble.

He has three games this season with multiple interceptions, which trails only Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who has four. And Goff is responsible for 14 turnovers this season, the third most behind Winston (18) and New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (17).

Goff has fumbled nine times, losing five.

Needless to say, ball security and reacting under pressure have become points of emphasis.

"Playing in the timing and rhythm, sometimes taking a sack, keeping two hands on the ball, is the best thing to be able to do there," McVay said. "It's something we're going to continuously drill and make a big point of emphasis."

ESPN's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.