After months of questions, we finally can try to find some answers on the field when the Chicago Bears take on the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night.
1st quarter: Rams strike 1st on 67-yard TD pass after Dalton interception in end zone
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson to give the Rams a 7-0 lead against the Bears with 10:36 to play in the first quarter.
Jefferson was wide open after breaking down the field. He tumbled to the ground when he caught the ball, but safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson skidded past Jefferson while he was down and Jefferson popped up and ran to the end zone.
The Bears’ opening drive ended with quarterback Andy Dalton throwing an interception in the end zone.
On third-and-6 at the Rams 8-yard line, Kenny Young tipped Dalton’s pass, and David Long dived to intercept it.
Bears rookie Khalil Herbert opened the game by returning the kickoff 50 yards. Running back David Montgomery broke for a 41-yard gain to get the Bears to the Rams 12.
After rookie quarterback Justin Fields entered the game for one play and completed a 9-yard pass to Marquise Goodwin, tight end Cole Kmet was called for a false start to put the Bears in third-and-6.
The interception was one of two passes Dalton threw on the drive, the other a 4-yard completion to Darnell Mooney.
Bears nickel cornerback Duke Shelley unexpectedly will sit out Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.
Shelley was not on the injury report this week and had competed to start at the position, which was open after the Bears parted with veteran Buster Skrine in the offseason. Marqui Christian potentially could see time at nickel with Shelley out.
As expected, nose tackle Eddie Goldman is inactive with a knee injury.
Quarterback Nick Foles, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons and tight end Jesper Horsted also are inactive.
Perriman signed with the Bears last week but is sitting out after logging only a few practices at Halas Hall.
Andy Dalton enters his 11th NFL season trying to show the Bears were right to entrust him to guide the offense while rookie Justin Fields develops on the sideline. For the veteran, it’s more about proving he can execute the offense the way coach Matt Nagy needs him to than trying to hold off Fields.
“That’s the worst thing you can do is look over your shoulder,” Dalton said Wednesday. “Understanding that is key. We’re talking about tuning out the stuff you don’t need to focus on and knowing where you need to put your time and effort. That’s just where I’m at. You don’t worry about all the other stuff.”
The Bears defense also has plenty to prove in its first game under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. The Bears enter with plenty of unknowns within their own group and about how the Rams offense will look with Matthew Stafford at quarterback.
Desai, who has been with the Bears for eight seasons as a defensive quality control coach and safeties coach, is excited about the chess match with Rams coach Sean McVay.
“I’ve got some good practice at chess because I play with my kids, so that’s been a benefit for me,” he said. “But that’s always part of the game, right? Whether you’re a position coach and you’re helping the coordinator and the play-caller seeing what you’re seeing in the game. And now as a play-caller, you’ve got to continually stay on top of it. … We’re going to test it out on game day, but I think a strength of mine is to be able to see the game up top.”
Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman is out for the Week 1 game. He missed three practices late in the week with a knee injury.
Listed as questionable were Bears outside linebackers Khalil Mack (groin) and Robert Quinn (back), safeties Tashaun Gipson (back), Eddie Jackson (wrist) and Deon Bush (shoulder), wide receiver Darnell Mooney, long snapper Patrick Scales (ankle) and inside linebacker Joel Iyiebuniwe.
For the Rams, only wide receiver Ben Skowronek was listed as doubtful with a forearm injury.