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RamView: Week 13 – Part 5

* Defensive line / LB: Holding Matt Forte to 91 yards and the Bears to 120 total looks almost respectable compared to the last few weeks. James Laurinaitis got 12 tackles and was in on a bunch of stuffed runs early on. James Hall was very active early. He and Larry Grant stuffed Forte on back-to-back goal line plays in the 1st, but the stand ended on 3rd down when Chris Williams (in place of Orlando Pace) took care of Hall and Chris Long couldn’t budge the tight end. Long whipped Williams to score one of the Rams’ two sacks of Jay Cutler in the 3rd, but got stopped way too often by solo run-blocking by the TE. Pressure on Cutler was pretty good, even on the Bears’ big plays, though not at all on the 71-yard pass to Bennett. Long and Hall got into the backfield enough to make Cutler nervous and flush him. It didn’t equal sacks – Leonard Little got the only other one, a gift for touching Cutler down after a fumbled shotgun snap – but after the early huge coverage breakdowns, they got the Bears off the field. Good back pressure from Long helped force a three-and-out in the 2nd, Little’s “sack” forced another, then Long’s sack forced another in the 3rd. Then, though, the Bears got more serious about running and put the Rams back on their heels. Forte went right at a TE-dominated Long on 3rd-and-1 for 7. Hall was dominated on a 9-yard sweep. Cliff Ryan stopped a goal line run, getting off the ground to beat Olin Kreutz, but the Rams still couldn’t stop that last Bears TD. They did keep the Bears within mathematical reach. Victor Adeyanju blew up a smoke pass to force a 3-and-out. James Butler atoned a little for an atrocious game by stuffing a couple of Kahlil Bell runs the next drive. But they failed to pin the Bears inside their 5 late. Forte went up the middle for 15, with Long getting spun completely around and Leger Douzable getting about blocked into Lake Michigan. Forte went up the middle for 8 more after Ryan got flattened. It took a great open-field tackle by Justin King, covering up for horrible overpursuit by Long, to shut that drive down, but Boller restarted it with a quick INT. And Forte went through David Vobora’s arm tackle for 12. But the Rams bowed up before the 2:00 warning. Paris Lenon made a nice play to force Forte back into Ryan. And when Ron Bartell stopped Forte on 3rd-and-6, the D had gotten the offense the ball back a second time in the last 4:00 with a chance to tie the game. The Ram front seven may not have been great, but they were pretty good, a far cry ahead of where they’ve been lately. Hall and Ryan set a good early tone. Adeyanju’s improving with playing time. Laurinaitis is still everywhere. Grant was clutch at the goal line and Lenon and Vobora weren’t getting abused. I’m really concerned about his run defense after today, but Long was a decent factor in pass rush. Again, nothing great, but enough to win if the team shows up in some other areas. Which it didn’t.

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