INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The Rams could tell Leonard Floyd was playing with an uncommon fury against his old team, and the rest of the Los Angeles defense followed his lead.
By the time the Rams were done with the Chicago Bears on Monday night, Floyd had two sacks and the game ball — and Los Angeles had a decisive, energizing victory over a fellow NFC contender.
Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett caught touchdown passes from Jared Goff, and the Rams won a matchup of dominant defenses, beating the Bears 24-10 on Monday night.
“We proved that we were the better defense today,” Floyd said after a six-tackle performance in his first game against Chicago since the Bears released him last offseason.
After his first sack, Floyd jumped up and went toward the Bears sideline, shouting and gesticulating at the team that let him go. Floyd already knows he landed in a good spot with the Rams (5-2), who remained unbeaten at brand-new SoFi Stadium and reasserted themselves in the conference hierarchy with a rebound performance one week after a rough loss at San Francisco
“I thought our defense was outstanding from start to finish,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “They did such a great job. Some key stops, some key turnovers. Offensively, we did enough to get that lead and then really just run out the clock on that game.”
Goff passed for 219 yards and Malcolm Brown rushed for a score for the Rams, but their defense did the hardest work.
Taylor Rapp made an end-zone interception on a pass deflection by Troy Hill while the Rams held Chicago (5-2) to 182 yards in the first three quarters and built a 24-3 lead.
Eddie Jackson returned a fumble 8 yards for Chicago’s only touchdown with 7:30 to play, but Los Angeles’ defense stayed in control, yielding 279 total yards and three points. The Rams have won twice in three defense-dominated games between these longtime rivals over the past three seasons.
“Obviously, stating the obvious, the offense, we’ve got to get this stuff figured out,” Chicago coach Matt Nagy said. “It’s not good enough, and to be outscored by your defense, obviously, is unacceptable, too. So that part is frustrating.”
Nick Foles passed for 261 yards for the Bears, who dropped out of the NFC North lead and fell to 3-1 on the road with their latest discouraging offensive performance. Chicago managed just 49 yards rushing and has 175 yards on the ground in the past four games.
The Rams’ defense, now coordinated by former Bears outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley, sacked Foles four times and picked off two of his passes, including Jalen Ramsey’s first interception of the season near midfield to clinch the victory with 3:13 to play.
Staley also was awarded a game ball by McVay after the latest in a strong line of performances by his defense.
“The defense, we’re playing aggressive, we’re playing physical, and we’re making all the right plays,” said linebacker Justin Hollins, who had a huge fourth-down sack in the red zone after Aaron Donald flushed Foles from the pocket in the fourth quarter. “Everybody is on one page. We’re just one tight unit right now.”
The Rams led 10-3 at halftime after holding the Bears to 126 yards. Reynolds made his 4-yard TD reception on the second drive for just the second scoring catch by a wide receiver against Chicago’s stingy secondary all season, but the Bears stopped two additional drives just outside field goal range to keep the deficit manageable.
The Rams went up 17-3 midway through the third quarter on a TD drive capped by Brown’s 1-yard run.
Chicago mounted its best drive immediately thereafter, but its 71-yard march ended when Hill deflected a pass intended for Darnell Mooney in the end zone and Rapp snagged it for an interception.
The Rams followed with a crisp 80-yard drive capped by a 12-yard TD catch-and-run by Everett, their big-play tight end.
Chicago showed life when Jackson returned Robert Woods’ fumble on a jet sweep for the sixth defensive touchdown of his four-year career, but the Bears couldn’t ride any momentum.
Even Rams punter Johnny Hekker dominated the Bears, pinning them inside their 10 with all five of his punts in a superb performance by the four-time Pro Bowler.
“Johnny is the best punter in the league, and he showed it tonight,” Goff said. “He really was a weapon for us.”
The Rams celebrated his big kicks as a team, and Hekker even got a chest bump from Donald, LA’s All-Pro defensive tackle.
“It’s just great to know that Aaron Donald knows my name sometimes,” Hekker said with a laugh.
Bears: C Cody Whitehair injured his calf in the second half.
Rams: Rookie S Terrell Burgess was taken off the field on a cart in the fourth quarter with an air cast around his left leg. He has an ankle injury. … TE Tyler Higbee was inactive with a hand injury, missing his second game since 2016. Johnny Mundt had a career-high 47 yards receiving in his absence, including a career-best 34-yard catch in the second quarter.
Bears: Host New Orleans on Sunday.
Rams: Visit Miami on Sunday as the opponent in Tua Tagovailoa’s debut start.