Although the Rams came into last Sunday night’s matchup with the NFL’s leading rusher in Todd Gurley, he was unable to keep up with the Bears’ rushing attack.
The Bears ran for 194 yards to the Rams 52 yards in their 15-6 win. And Jordan Howard, a player on the Bears’ offense that was proclaimed by many to be a forgotten man, not only outplayed Gurley — who ran for 28 yards — but, more importantly, proved that the Bears can commit to the run.
Howard ended the night with 19 carries for 101 yards, which gave the third-year back his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. On the only touchdown drive of the game, Howard ran the ball three times for 22 yards and this helped the Bears score on their first offensive possession of the second half.
But this rushing effort couldn’t have been accomplished without Tarik Cohen, who finished with nine carries for 69 yards and averaged 7.7 yards per carry.
Howard grinded out the tough yards, converting on three short yardage situations (three yards or less) throughout the night, and Cohen gained big chunks, running for 19 or more yards three times. This resulted in the Bears having the perfect balance between “Thunder and Lightning.”
With inconsistent to borderline dreadful quarterback play from Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff that night, the emergence of the Bears’ running game couldn’t have come at a better time.
The 194 total rushing yards was the most by the Bears all season and is an encouraging sign for the offense heading towards the playoffs, especially considering that running the ball has been inconsistent to fairly unreliable through the first 13 weeks.
Now, there is no telling whether the Bears can sustain their running game, but with the defense playing at an elite level, head coach Matt Nagy should make a conscious effort to build off this impressive performance against the Rams.
So far this season, Nagy’s offense has accomplished a lot and has been a breath of fresh air for Bears fans, but being able to incorporate a consistent run game alongside a creative passing attack will make the Bears’ offense even more difficult to guard.
Plus, the blueprint has been laid out on how to defeat teams with high-scoring offenses: play great defense and run the ball. The Bears did that against the Rams, and the Cowboys had a similar game plan in Week 13 against the Saints, who were at the time the No. 1 scoring team in the NFL.
If Nagy is able to utilize Howard and Cohen as he did in the primetime victory over the Rams, the Bears are going to be a tough team to eliminate in the playoffs, regardless of the opponent they face.