In a week three matchup the Chicago Bears look to bounce back on offense at home against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are coming off a strong offensive performance against the Redskins in week two. They got into a bit of a shoot out with RGIII and showed a lot of what they can and can't do on defense in this game.
Going over eight quarters of St. Louis Rams football, I've come to one conclusion, the Bears should be able to find a lot of offensive success in this game.
This is not to put the Rams down and say they're a bad football team like the Colts were, rather they run a simple defensive scheme.
The Rams are not an overly complicated defense, they're like the Bears in that they play a 4-3 defense and prefer to allow their defense run to the football to make the play. They have good speed in their linebackers and Chris Long and Robert Quinn seem like good pass rushers.
One thing they don't do on defense, at least not in their first two games is blitz a lot. To generate pressure they'll line up their defensive ends and defensive tackles out extremely wide. Their DEs take the wide-9 stance we heard so much about last year and try to use their speed to beat you. Quinn seems like a pretty one-dimensional pass rusher he didn't show a lot of counter moves to his game.
When you play a wide front like the Rams do this leaves open a lot of holes within your front four something that Michael Bush should be able to attack immediately in the run game. Bush doesn't need to be a battering ram, he just needs to keep moving the pile forward by doing what he does best, keeping his legs and momentum moving forward.
The Rams have good speed at linebacker which can be a blessing and a curse because if you over pursue you leave cut back lanes in the zone blocking scheme for Bush to cut back to. Bush's vision to the hole and cutback ability is extremely rare for a back his size.
Against the Redskins, the Rams allowed 176 yards rushing and 6.1 yards per carry. If Mike Tice doesn't use the run early and often to slow down the speed of Robert Quinn and to open up his down the field passing game via play-action then there needs to be an early come to Jesus moment for Tice.
The Rams will also run a 3-3-5 nickel package which gives the Bears an advantage in pass protection. Keeping Cutler upright means he can make all the throws on offense he wants and if he's doing it out of play-action he's really going to have a field day sucking the linebackers up and then throwing over the top.
On defense with their front four they're very basic. There is not a lot of stunts or trying to generate pressure by attacking gaps with slants or blitzing. Thus far the Rams have two sacks on the season to go along with seven QB hits. Chris Long is their best pass rusher as he has eight of their 17 QB pressures on the season. Quinn has two sacks to go with two QBPs on the season.
Also playing into the Bears favor is the absence of DT Michael Brockers who misses his third straight game with an ankle injury. Brockers' absence means the Rams won't get a lot of pass rush up the middle meaning the Bears tackles should be able to use the speed of Long and Quinn against them, thereby giving Cutler plenty of room to step up and deliver the football.
I fully expect the Bears' offense to have a bounce back game given it's at home and it's against a team that doesn't get very creative with their pressure scheme. The Rams come at you with four and don't do a lot of movement to try and confuse the offensive line. These are the types of defensive schemes Cutler can excel against. That combined with the Bears running the ball early and often will make a very long day for the Rams.