Bears shut down Rams, close in on NFC North title

Chicago Bears offensive tackle Bradley Sowell (79) catches a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field on Sunday, Dec. 9. Quinn Harris / USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- In a marquee matchup of flashy offense against tough defense, it was all defense.

The Chicago Bears held the Los Angeles Rams to 214 total yards and kept them out of the end zone Sunday night, Dec. 9, logging a 15-6 win at Soldier Field that might play a major role in shaping the NFC playoffs when they start next month.

Chicago (9-4) moved another step closer to the NFC North title. If Minnesota (6-5-1) loses on Monday night in Seattle, the Bears can wrap up the division crown next week at home against Green Bay.

Los Angeles (11-2), meanwhile, sealed the NFC West last week but fell out of the No. 1 seed in the conference on Sunday. New Orleans (11-2) won earlier Sunday in Tampa Bay, and owns the top seed by virtue of a 45-35 win over the Rams on Nov. 4 in the Superdome.

With the game tied 6-6 at the half, Chicago took the lead for good when Eddie Goldman sacked Jared Goff in the end zone 42 seconds into the third quarter on the Rams' second play of the half.

The Bears then scored the game's only touchdown on the ensuing possession, ripping off an 81-yard, nine-play drive and ending it with a little trickery. Mitchell Trubisky faked a handoff to defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who scored a rushing touchdown last week, and flipped a 2-yard scoring strike to offensive lineman Bradley Sowell.

That was one of the few highlights for either quarterback. Trubisky completed 16 of 30 passes for just 110 yards, tossing three interceptions and finishing with a passer rating of 33.3. Goff endured his worst game since the end of his rookie season, hitting 20 of 44 attempts with four picks and 180 yards to finish with a 19.1 rating.

Chicago also shut down MVP candidate Todd Gurley, who rushed 11 times for only 28 yards and caught three passes for 30 yards. Los Angeles' only scoring came on first-half field goals of 27 and 50 yards by Greg Zuerlein.

Cody Parkey booted 39- and 31-yard field goals for the Bears, which got 101 yards on 19 rushes from Jordan Howard.