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Kirwan: Bears should have their way with Rams
By Pat Kirwan
NFL.com Senior Analyst
The Rams have seven games this season when they scored less than 21 points in a game. What happened to the 'Greatest Show on Turf'? Well, their running back, Steven Jackson, is leading the team in receptions. This could be the first time Torry Holt has not led the team in receptions since 2001. The Rams defense is suspect and All-Pro offensive left tackle Orlando Pace is done for the year. In the four games played since Pace went down with an injury, the Rams offense has averaged 15.5 points per game while going 1-3. Rams QB Marc Bulger has thrown just three touchdown passes, sacked 17 times and thrown six interceptions without Pace on the field. The Bears on the other hand, have the best record in the NFC. Yet no one, except Lovie Smith, believe QB Rex Grossman is playing well enough to keep his job. Grossman has just 19 career starts, but the patience is wearing thin. With the four remaining teams on the Bears schedule combining for a 14-24 record, it is time for Grossman to regain the confidence of all concerned.
IF YOU LIKE THE BEARS KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND
1. The Bears are No. 1 in the NFL in punt return average.
2. The Bears are undefeated in the NFC (8-0).
3. Chicago is the top team in the NFL in field goal percentage (21 of 22 from over 30 yards).
4. Chicago has 39 takeaways this season, tops in the league averaging three per game.
5. The Bears have the No. 2 defense in the NFL and No. 1 in average gain per pass.
6. Grossman has thrown more TD passes than any Bears QB in 11 years.
7. Chicago has allowed the fewest points per game with 12.5.
8. St. Louis is only averaging 16 points per game in its last five games.
9. The Rams are last in yards given up per play and the Bears are No. 1.
10. The Bears only give up 12.6 points per game on the road.
IF YOU LIKE THE RAMS KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND
1. St. Louis has won its last five home games played on Monday night.
2. The Rams have won four straight games against the Bears.
3. Grossman has thrown 14 picks in the last seven games.
4. The Bears allowed 192 yards rushing last week against Minnesota.
5. In three of the last five games, the Bears defense has given up plus-150 yards rushing per game.
6. St. Louis has averaged 27 points per game in its last five games Monday Night Football.
7. The Bears only average 3.57 yards per rush.
8. The Rams are the best offense in the NFL in giving up interceptions.
9. Chicago has lost seven straight on MNF and 1-10 all time.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
The Rams will have a tough time battling Brian Urlacher's top-ranked defense.
Chicago has had an interesting offense all season. The defense is so tough and so capable of creating turnovers that it would have been understandable for the team to just grind out the games with a boring conservative run game. But Lovie Smith has elected to work on the team's passing game. Now the team is truly balanced, with Grossman averaging 30 passes per game to go along with the 31 run plays per game average. Well, this is the week for the Bears to run the ball. Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslet is doing the best he can with the talent he has, but his unit is surrendering 150 yards or more per game and has allowed a running back to rush for 100 yards in 22 of the last 25 games. Don't be surprised to see Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones dominate the field with a power rushing attack.
It would appear that the Bears will get an extra series start against the Rams on a short field because of the dominating defense. Grossman needs to get the spotlight off him with that running game and a renewed interest in getting the tight ends into the passing attack.
WHEN THE RAMS HAVE THE BALL
Bulger averages 37 passes per game at home and he still has Holt and Isaac Bruce. Both these talented wideouts can beat any defense, but the problem is Bulger doesn't get the time to let his receivers work the secondary. The Bears rush will be missing the second most important player it has in DT Tommie Harris, but the unit still has plenty of athletes to disrupt Bulger. That might explain why there are so many checkdowns, swing passes and screens to Jackson, who averages six receptions per game. Expect to see Brian Urlacher keying in on Jackson no matter where he goes.
The Rams have been forced to punt between four or five times a game, but the Bears defense should force seven to eight punts. That means return specialist Devin Hester could have a big impact on this game. If Hester gets one touchdown in this game -- and he probably will get 10 chances between PR/KR -- he will tie the all-time record held by Ken Houston. Each time Hester has had a return for a touchdown, the Bears won.
Chicago is the first team to clinch a playoff spot and the division title, and their chances at home-field advantage and first-round bye are still attainable. Coach Smith returns to play the Rams, where he was once the defensive coordinator, and his Bears will be ready. Bulger said earlier that a few players weren't giving 100 percent and I'm sure this week these players will. But it still won't be enough to stop Da'Bears!
Re: Kirwan: Bears should have their way with Rams9. Chicago has lost seven straight on MNF
Re: Kirwan: Bears should have their way with RamsCONCLUSION
Chicago is the first team to clinch a playoff spot and the division title, and their chances at home-field advantage and first-round bye are still attainable. Coach Smith returns to play the Rams, where he was once the defensive coordinator, and his Bears will be ready. Bulger said earlier that a few players weren't giving 100 percent and I'm sure this week these players will. But it still won't be enough to stop Da'Bears!JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey