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.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (thumb) is officially active for Week 15 against the Detroit Lions. Winston wasn't able to throw a football in practice until Friday, though he was able to finish off last week's 456-yard, four-touchdown performance with the injury. Winston has a great chance to stay hot against Detroit's suspect pass defense. Fantasy owners must beware the risk- Winston can be erratic even without a fractured thumb.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs, illness) is inactive for Week 15 against the Denver Broncos. Darwin Thompson, LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware will shoulder the load for Kansas City. The Chiefs backfield isn't an ideal fantasy situation, though McCoy, who's had success running in snowy conditions, and Thompson are probably the safest choices.
Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough (ribs) is officially inactive for Week 15 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Scarbrough wasn't able to practice on Thursday or Friday, so it was likely a longshot for him to play anyway. Ty Johnson, J.D. McKissic, and practice-squad call-up Wes Hills will lead the backfield in Scarbrough's absence. All are shaky plays, considering Tampa Bay possesses the league's best run defense.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) is officially active for Week 15 against the Tennessee Titans. When healthy, Fuller has been a difference-maker, averaging 7.6 targets and 74 receiving yards per game. He possesses considerable upside and could be worth a start in what should be a competitive divisional game. Fuller's presence is also a boost to quarterback Deshaun Watson's stock for this contest.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee, shoulder) is active for Week 15 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Edelman was optimistic about playing, though it's nice to get the official word. He's a must-start considering his eight-game streak with double-digit targets and the fact that Tom Brady doesn't seem to trust any other receiver in this offense right now.
The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Lane Johnson, DL Shareef Miller, OG Sua Opeta, DE Derek Barnett, QB Nate Sudfeld, RB Jordan Howard and WR Nelson Agholor inactive for Week 15.
Detroit Lions RB Bo Scarbrough (ribs) is not active for Week 15's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry (hamstring) is officially active for the team's Week 15 game.
Fantasy Spin: Henry should receive his normal workload this week and has been one of the top running backs in the NFL during the second half of the season. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is officially active for the team's Week 15 game.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller will return to the lineup after missing some time because of his hamstring injury. He should see a handful of targets in the passing game but may not be more than a flex option in leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams (rib) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 15 game.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee, shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 15 game.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman should be the main option in the passing game for the Patriots this week and can be a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
According to a report by NFL's Ian Rapoport, the Cleveland Browns plan to retain Freddie Kitchens as their head coach after the season ends. Kitchens has gone through some growing pains as a first-time head coach, struggling with play calling at times while trying to manage some big egos in the Cleveland locker room. Despite the rough year, Kitchens is said to have support from the front office barring a late-season disaster. In what has seemed like a lost season at times, Kitchens and the Browns still have a chance to finish with a winning record, which would be just the third time that has happened since the team came back in 1999.
The New York Giants have declared TE Rhett Ellison, TE Evan Engram, OG Kevin Zeitler, QB Daniel Jones, OG Chad Slade and RB Wayne Gallman inactive for Week 15.
The Carolina Panthers have declared LB Christian Miller, OT Garrett McGhin, CB Corn Elder, TE Greg Olsen, DE Marquis Haynes, DL Woodrow Hamilton and LB Ramik Wilson inactive for Week 15.
The Tennessee Titans have declared WR Adam Humphries, CB Adoree' Jackson, LB Daren Bates, LB Sharif Finch, DE Matt Dickerson, DT Isaiah Mack and OG Kevin Pamphile inactive for Week 15.
The Washington Redskins have declared OG Brandon Scherff, TE Caleb Wilson, WR Trey Quinn, CB Quinton Dunbar, SS Josh Harvey-Clemons, OG Ross Pierschbacher and QB Colt McCoy inactive for Week 15.
According to Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not planning on requesting a trade this offseason. This is a change from what Fox's Jay Glazer reported last week when he broke that Beckham has been telling opposing coaches and players to trade for him on-field before games. While it now appears that Beckham will stay in Cleveland, he is among a group of veterans who are hoping the team makes a few adjustments to the coaching staff and how roles are delegated for the 2020 season. Beckham is also said to be playing through a hernia injury although no decisions have been made in regards to his offseason plans just yet. A source told LaCanfora that the injury is not a major one and that surgery may not be a requirement this offseason.
The Denver Broncos have declared DL Adam Gotsis, OG Ronald Leary, CB Shakial Taylor, OT Ja'Wuan James, DE DeMarcus Walker, OT Calvin Anderson and DT Dre'Mont Jones inactive for Week 15.
The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Chad Henne, CB Morris Claiborne, OG Nick Allegretti, CB Rashad Fenton, RB Damien Williams, OT Jackson Barton and TE Deon Yelder inactive for Week 15.