Are the Bears the Real Deal? Chicago Stops Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, Throws NFC Wide Open

The Chicago Bears laid down a marker to the rest of the NFC with an impressive 15-6 win against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

Inspired by a dominant Khalil Mack, the Bears' defense strangled one of the best offenses in the league, keeping a Rams offense that had averaged 34.9 points per game in their first 12 games to its lowest score of the season.

Chicago's defense rattled Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who finished 20-of-44 for 180 yards and a career-high four interceptions, for a 19.1 passer rating. Goff, who has been in sparkling form throughout the season, endured a terrible first half, coughing up two picks while throwing for just 80 yards.

The Rams had averaged 300.5 passing yards per game coming into the game on Sunday but had no answers for the Bears' defense. Their running game also went missing, with Todd Gurley II—the NFL's leading rusher—recording just 11 yards on the ground in the first half, his fewest in the last two seasons.

"Our play on defense—all I can say is wow," Bears coach Matt Nagy was quoted as saying by ESPN after the game.

"For them to go out and do it [against] a team that had only one loss all year long [...] is so powerful for our guys now because it helps us grow. It helps us grow with confidence. It helps us grow togetherness. [...] It puts us in a great position. We do talk about one game at a time ."

Khalil Mack had three tackles and a sack, while Roquan Smith, Prince Amumakamara, Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson recorded an interception each.

"All 11 guys collectively going against the offense, it was going to be a big challenge for us," Mack said. "We stepped up to the challenge."

The win was the Bears' sixth in the last seven games and improved their record to 9-4, further strengthening their grip on the NFC North. Chicago is now within touching distance of clinching a first divisional title and a first playoff berth since 2010.

On Sunday, the Bears host the Green Bay Packers in the 198th instalment of one of the NFL's most famous rivalries, before traveling to San Francisco in Week 16 and then to Minneapolis for a divisional matchup against the Vikings on the final day of the regular season.

The Rams, meanwhile, slipped to 11-2 and while they remain comfortably ahead of anyone else in the NFC West they missed the chance of securing a first-round playoffs bye. Los Angeles now shares the best record in the NFC with the New Orleans Saints, with both teams set to battle it out for top spot over the next three weeks.

The Rams host the Eagles on Sunday, before traveling to Arizona to face the Cardinals in Week 16 and hosting the San Francisco 49ers in their final regular season game. Meanwhile, two of the Saints' remaining three games are against the Panthers—the first on the road on Monday night, the second at home in Week 17 with a home game against the Steelers sandwiched in between.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams, Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams gets the football stripped by Khalil Mack #52 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field on December 9 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Are the Bears the Real Deal? Chicago Stops Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, Throws NFC Wide Open | Sports