If ever there was a higher education course, or a symposium on how to win in the National Football League, the instructor would stride toward the white board — or the digital board, as is the case in the modern era — and confidently write down two rules:
No. 1 — Rush the passer.
No. 2 — Pass the ball efficiently.
There is no more simple definition for winning a football game (okay, “score more points than your opponent” would qualify), but the Bears achieved both objectives in Sunday’s 37-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
Jay Cutler was about as efficient as a quarterback can get, finishing just seven points shy of a perfect passer rating. He completed nearly 80% of his passes and threw just five incompletions. He threw for 258 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Cutler’s counterpart, Rams quarterback Nick Foles, was just plain bad. Sure, he threw for 200 yards, but he completed less than half of his passes — some of which were so bad it seemed as though he was throwing outside in the swirling winds of Soldier Field, as opposed to the climate-controlled dome in St. Louis.
Part of the reason Foles had such a bad game is because he stinks. Let’s call a spade a spade. The other reason why Foles struggled is because the Bears achieved the other objective in the simple equation of winning football games: they got after Foles and made him uncomfortable. The Bears only recorded one sack, but they constantly flushed Foles out of the pocket and applied 10 quarterback hits on him. To say that Foles spent a lot of time on the ground would be an understatement.
One argument can be made that if you can run the football well, you don’t need to have a great quarterback. While that may be true, you still have to have an efficient quarterback, and Foles was anything but that on Sunday with a 53.0 passer rating.
Credit offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for their roles in ensuring that the Bears got the most out of Jay Cutler and their pass rush.