Rams have chance to grab first-round bye

Chicago QB Tru­bisky fit for prime-time clash

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

>> CHICAGO: The Los An­ge­les Rams have a chance to clinch a first-round play­off bye when they visit the Chicago Bears to­day at Sol­dier Field.

Los An­ge­les (11-1) clinched the NFC West ti­tle for the sec­ond straight sea­son. A win this week­end would give the Rams their first play-off bye since the 2003 sea­son, when Mike Martz coached the team in St Louis.

“It’s crazy right now, the en­ergy and what’s go­ing on,” Rams cor­ner­back Nick­ell Robey-Cole­man said. “It’s just amaz­ing — crazy in a good way.”

A dif­fi­cult chal­lenge awaits against Chicago (8-4), who also have sights on the post­sea­son i n their first sea­son un­der head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears won five games in a row be­fore los­ing in over­time to the New York Gi­ants.

Bears quar­ter­back Mitchell Tru­bisky has sat out the past two games be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury but will re­turn for the prime-time match-up, Nagy con­firmed.

He has passed for 2,469 yards, 20 touch­downs and nine in­ter­cep­tions this sea­son, while backup Chase Daniel has passed for 515 yards, three touch­downs and two picks in two starts.

“He put to­gether three re­ally good days in prac­tice,” Nagy said. “The ve­loc­ity on his throws was good. His de­ci­sion-mak­ing, just get­ting in and out of the hud­dle, that part was easy.

“The main thing was re­ally see­ing, con­di­tion­ing-wise, can he hold up? And he did well.”

Both teams boast high-cal­i­bre of­fences to go along with de­fences that are hun­gry for take­aways.

The Rams are av­er­ag­ing 34.9 points per game thanks to a dy­namic at­tack that in­cludes, among oth­ers, Jared Goff at quar­ter­back and MVP can­di­date Todd Gur­ley at run­ning back.

Gur­ley al­ready has 1,649 yards from scrim­mage (1,175 rush­ing, 474 re­ceiv­ing) and 19 total touch­downs (15 rush­ing, four re­ceiv­ing).

The Bears are not too far be­hind, av­er­ag­ing 28.7 points per con­test. An­thony Miller and Tarik Co­hen have scored six touch­downs apiece, while Trey Bur­ton and Jor­dan Howard have five touch­downs apiece.

On de­fence, the Bears rank first in the NFL with a plus-30 take­away mar­gin. The Rams (plus-22) are tied for fourth.

Bears out­side line­backer Khalil Mack has thrived since Chicago ac­quired him from the Oak­land Raiders be­fore the start of the sea­son. In 10 games, he has nine sacks, five forced fum­bles and an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a score.

De­fen­sive tackle Aaron Don­ald has 16.5 sacks to lead the league. He has a shot at for­mer New York Gi­ants de­fen­sive end Michael Stra­han’s sin­gle-sea­son sack record of 22.5.

“I’m just play­ing foot­ball,” Don­ald said to NFL Net­work last week. “What­ever hap­pens, hap­pens.”

Rams quar­ter­back Jared Goff, left, hands the ball to run­ning back Todd Gur­ley dur­ing a re­cent game.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.