By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley runs against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, left, and Chicago Bears defensive back Sherrick McManis meet on the field after an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Rams won 17-7. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown celebrates after scoring against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp is pushed out of bounds at the goal line by Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley is tackled by Chicago Bears strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passes against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, right, during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Todd Gurley was told by Rams coach Sean McVay before Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears that he was going to be a focal point of Los Angeles’ offense.
Gurley rose to the occasion and delivered his best game of the season.
The All-Pro running back had a season-high 133 scrimmage yards and scored a touchdown to lead the Rams to a 17-7 victory to help them keep pace in the NFC playoff race.
“We had a bunch of guys down and I was able to step up,” Gurley said. “It felt like the old Todd. I was glad I was able to go out there and take advantage of what I got.”
On a night when the Rams were missing two of their starting receivers and had a reworked offensive line, McVay reigned things in. Los Angeles (6-4) ran it on 65.4% of its plays (34 of 52). That is the highest run percentage in McVay’s three seasons as coach and only the fourth time they have gone to ground more than 60% of the time.
Gurley led the way with a season-high 25 carries. His 97 rushing yards also tied for his most this year.
“What I loved the most about what Todd did was after we put the first carry on the ground he didn't flinch,” McVay said. “He came back, had some good, tough, physical runs, made some good catches out of the backfield and he was a big-time contributor tonight.”
Jared Goff was 11 of 18 for 173 yards and an interception with many of his completions coming off play action.
The Bears (4-6) ran 22 more plays than the Rams but averaged only 3.6 yards. Mitchell Trubisky was 24 of 43 for 190 yards with a touchdown and interception. Trubisky injured his right hip on the last drive of the first half but didn’t come out until late in the fourth quarter, when Chase Daniel came in.
“I was just all arm in the second half pretty much,” Trubisky said. “Just trying to fight though the pain and trying to make the throws. I still felt like I was still putting the ball in some pretty good spots. Just couldn’t move around or couldn’t buy time.”
Gurley came in averaging 53.5 rushing yards per game, but had 63 in the first half, including three carries of 10 yards or more. After Greg Zuerlein opened the scoring with a 38-yard field goal early n the second quarter, Gurley put the Rams up 10-0 with 3:28 remaining on a 1-yard drive up the middle.
Gurley’s TD was set up when Goff connected with Cooper Kupp for a 50-yard gain. Kupp beat Buster Skrine up the left sideline and hauled in the pass at the 15 before he fumbled going out of bounds at the 1. It appeared as if Kupp might have fumbled it at the pylon, which would have been a Chicago touchback.
“When we're at our best is when we're running the ball well. There have been games when we haven't and we've overcome it and thrown it but that's not usually how we want to do it,” Goff said.
After Tarik Cohen’s third-quarter touchdown catch brought Chicago to 10-7, the Rams put it out of reach with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter on Malcolm Brown’s 5-yard run.
Chicago got to 10-7 on its first drive of the second half when Trubisky connected with Cohen for a 12-yard score. Cohen beat linebacker Cory Littleton in single coverage to score his third touchdown of the season.
WALKING THE LINE
Goff’s 11 completions and 18 attempts were career lows when starting a game, but the game plan was effective. Chicago’s Khalil Mack was held without a tackle or sack.
A lot of credit goes to the reworked offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was the only constant with Austin Blythe moving from left guard to center. Austin Corbett, who was acquired last month from Cleveland, got his first Rams start at left guard with rookies David Edwards and Bobby Evans on the right side. Edwards got his fourth start at guard and Evans his first at tackle.
“It’s a testament to those guys how much they prepared,” Whitworth said. “You put four new guys at four new spots in the NFL and you lose 50-0. These guys came out and executed. That’s what good teams do and that’s what we’ve got to do more of.”
The Bears drove inside the Rams 35 on their first three series but had nothing to show for it. Eddy Piñeiro missed 48- and 47-yard field goal attempts and Chicago turned it over on downs on the second series.
“We’ve been struggling with drives, getting going, and we finally get a couple first downs,” Nagy said. “And now it might not sound great, but we were in position to kick a field goal to start the game and we missed it. And those are the ones I really wish we could have.”
Piñeiro began the season 9 of 10 on field goals but has missed three straight and four of his last seven. Nagy said after the game that he continues to have faith in his kicker.
Rams: WR Robert Woods was listed as a surprise inactive before the game due to a personal issue. Woods is second on the team in receptions (45) and had seven catches for 61 yards in last year’s game at Chicago. Brandin Cooks (concussion) also was inactive,
Bears: RT Bobby Massie suffered a back injury during the second half. He didn’t return.
Bears: Host the New York Giants (2-8) next Sunday.
Rams: Host the Baltimore Ravens (8-2) next Monday night.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that linebacker Anthony Barr (pectoral) suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the Week 2 loss to the Colts and will be placed on Injured Reserve. The first-round pick out of UCLA in 2014 didn't accumulate any stats on Sunday before suffering the injury, one that will keep him out for the rest of the 2020 season. The Vikings are already reeling at 0-2 to start the season with losses to the Packers and Colts, and their defense can't be trusted right now in fantasy leagues, especially after losing Barr in the middle of the field.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's (ankle) high ankle sprain isn't severe. Garoppolo will be week-to-week and has a chance of playing in Week 3 against the Giants. He was on his way to a big game against the Jets before the injury, throwing for 131 yards and two touchdowns, but this is some good news for a team that also lost running back Raheem Mostert (knee) and All-Pro pass-rusher Nick Bosa (knee) in the same game. However, the Jimmy G should be expected to hand the ball off plenty against New York this Sunday if he is cleared to make the start. Consider Garoppolo a shaky QB2 option in superflex leagues heading into Week 3 matchups. If he can't play, Nick Mullens will make the start.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (knee) will officially miss the rest of the 2020 season after an MRI exam confirmed a torn ACL in his right knee. With Barkley missing the rest of the year, the Giants are bringing in veteran free-agent running back Devonta Freeman for a workout. As of now, expect Wayne Gallman to see early down carries in this backfield, with Dion Lewis serving as the third-down back. This could be a season-ender for Barkley's fantasy managers as well, with the running back coming off the board second overall in a lot of leagues. Lewis will be worth a pickup in PPR leagues, but this backfield would become even more unpredictable if the team were to sign Freeman.
The Seattle Seahawks fear that outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) tore his ACL in the Sunday night win over the Patriots, according to a source. Irvin will undergo more tests to confirm. The 32-year-old veteran isn't on the IDP radar at this point in his career, but he brings veteran leadership to this Seattle defense. He's had five combined tackles in two starts in 2020. The Seahawks Defense should be avoided for now, regardless of Irvin's status moving forward, as they've allowed 986 offensive yards to the Falcons and Patriots in the first two weeks of the season. Rookie first-rounder Jordyn Brooks will see more playing time if Irvin is lost for the season.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) suffered the dreaded high ankle sprain in the Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers and is expected to miss four to six weeks. With is expected timetable, the Panthers could decide to place him on Injured Reserve, from which he can return in three weeks. This is obviously a huge blow for fantasy managers, as McCaffrey was taken first overall in the vast majority of fantasy drafts. Mike Davis, McCaffrey's backup, will be a hot pickup off the waiver wire heading into Week 3. Expect Trenton Cannon to work as his direct backup for however long McCaffrey is sidelined.
Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr (pectoral) suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 2 and will not play again this season, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera said that offensive guard Brandon Scherff (knee) will miss a couple of weeks. The three-time Pro Bowl right guard is playing on the franchise tag this year for $15 million, and this injury doesn't help his chances of signing a long-term contract extension with the team after this season, but it's much better than a season-ending injury. The 28-year-old is considered to be one of the best guards in the league, so losing him for any amount of time is bad news for the offensive line, the running game and quarterback Dwayne Haskins as they head into a Week 3 matchup with the Browns.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) tore his ACL in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a brutal injury for Sutton and the Broncos just as he returned to action after missing the season-opening loss to the Titans with a shoulder injury. Denver also lost quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) for a few weeks, so it'll be Jeff Driskel under center moving forward throwing to rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant, who has become the best fantasy asset on this team through two weeks. Sutton was in play as a strong WR2 this year after a breakout 2019 performance.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (knee) suffered a PCL injury in the Week 2 win over the Vikings that is expected to keep him out indefinitely, according to a source. With all the season-ending injuries that popped up in Week 2 across the league, you might say that Campbell dodged a bullet here after being carted off the field. Campbell has plenty of potential, but he only played in seven games in his rookie season due to injury. In what was a run-first offense against the Jets, rookie Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal should be in on three-receiver sets next to T.Y. Hilton for as long as Campbell is out. Pittman has more upside in the long term, but Pascal shouldn't be overlooked in the short term in deeper leagues.
Baltimore Ravens CB Tavon Young (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2 and will miss the remainder of the season.
Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker (Achilles) suffered a torn Achilles in the Week 2 win over the Vikings and will miss the rest of the season, according to a source. The first-round pick in 2017 has been injury prone in his career, which is why the team didn't pick up his fifth-year option. Hooker will finish the season with seven tackles (five solo) in two games. His absence for the rest of the season will surely weaken the Colts secondary, but their defense is still worth a play in Week 3 against a Jets offense that is among the worst in the league through two weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Chris Godwin (head) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play in Week 3 against the Broncos. Godwin will return to action after missing the Week 2 win over the Panthers. The 24-year-old got off to a good start in Week 1 with six catches on seven targets for 79 yards in the loss to the Saints. Against a Denver secondary that will be missing cornerback A.J. Bouye, Godwin has clear WR1 potential in his return to the field. His return will make Scotty Miller a much less interesting flex option in deeper leagues, especially after he had only two receptions for 11 yards with Godwin inactive in Week 2.
The San Francisco 49ers are meeting with free-agent pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah with the expectation that they will sign him after he goes through COVID-19 testing. Ansah has visited with the team twice, but the sides never agreed to a deal. With pass-rushers Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) both suffering serious injuries in Week 2, the Niners are looking for reinforcements on the defensive line. The 31-year-old former first-round pick of the Lions in 2013 had 2.5 sacks in 11 games (one start) with the Seahawks last year and has had trouble staying on the field in his seven-year career. He could provide some much-needed depth, but Ansah won't be on the IDP radar. San Fran's defense is still worth starting in fantasy, but they'll lose some of that high-end potential with Bosa injured.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe) is believed to be dealing with turf toe after getting injured in the Week 2 loss to the Bears, according to a source. Shepard will undergo an MRI exam on Monday, but this is an injury that typically requires a wide receiver to miss some time. With running back Saquon Barkley (knee) done for the year with an ACL tear, the G-Men lost two of their best offensive weapons in the same game. Fantasy managers of Shepard should be planning on him missing multiple weeks. Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and tight end Evan Engram will be the team's top three receiving options for quarterback Daniel Jones if Shepard misses time.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) appears to be questionable at best to return in Week 3 versus the Indianapolis Colts after sitting out Week 2 with a hamstring injury, according to comments made by head coach Adam Gase on Monday, Sept. 21.
Denver Broncos CB Davontae Harris (hamstring) is expected to miss a week or two with a hamstring injury, according to head coach Vic Fangio.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over the Jets, and he didn't play at all in the second half. The injury will keep Garoppolo off the field for at least one game and probably more. He was 14-for-16 in the game with 131 yards passing and two touchdowns before the injury, so it ruined what could have been a really good game for him. Already a low-ceiling QB2 in a run-first offense, Jimmy G can obviously be avoided for a few weeks in superflex leagues. Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo in the second half on Sunday and should get the starts moving forward, but he doesn't have much fantasy appeal as more of a game manager under center.
Seattle Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin (knee) likely suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2 and will likely miss the rest of the season, according to a source.
Free-agent DE Ziggy Ansah is reportedly on the verge of signing a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, Sept. 21, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (chest) was released from the hospital late Sunday night after dealing with chest pain. His chest issue will be evaluated throughout the week, and head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor will remain the team's starter if he's fully healthy. The Chargers probably won't rush Taylor back after rookie Justin Herbert looked very solid in his NFL debut in the overtime loss to the Chiefs in Week 2. Lynn has been very loyal to Taylor, but even though Herbert had some rookie mistakes on Sunday, he probably presents the team with more upside right now. Keep a close eye on Taylor's status this week. If Taylor can't go for Week 3, the rookie signal-caller would become an attractive QB2 in superflex leagues in a great matchup with Carolina.