By Joseph G. Phillips, Chicago Crusader Sports Editor
The Chicago Bears dropped their first game of the season with a 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, September 12, on the road.
The Rams new quarterback Matthew Stafford attacked the Bears secondary throughout the night with several big passing plays. Stafford finished his Rams debut passing for 321 yards, three touchdowns on 20 of 26 passing attempts.
Stafford’s first touchdown of the game came on a 67-yard pass play to wide receiver Van Jefferson in double coverage, giving the Rams an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Jefferson scored easily after safety Eddie Jackson forgot to tag him on the play. The play was bizarre.
On his second touchdown of the game, Stafford entered the record books. He completed a 56-yard TD pass to wide receiver Cooper Kupp to open the third quarter. With the pass, Stafford became the first QB to throw two TD passes of more than 50 yards in his new team debut. It was the first time since QB Lee Grosscup did it for the AFL’s New York Titans.
On a positive note, Bears running back David Montgomery gave the offense a glimmer of hope after rushing for 108 yards and one TD in the loss to the Rams on Sunday night.
Montgomery scored on a 3-yard TD run late in the second quarter. In spite of Montgomery’s effort, the Bears defense had no answer for the Rams offense in the team’s season opener. The Rams finished with a game-high 375 yards on offense.
Final Score: Rams 34, Bears 14
There were also two additional debuts at the QB position in Sunday’s night game, Bears QB Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Dalton finished Sunday’s game completing 27 out of 37 passes in his debut, 206 passing yards, 0 TDs and one interception.
Fields went 2 for 2 on passing attempts for 10 yards and a touchdown. Fields earned his first NFL rushing touchdown on a 3-yard run with 4:14 left in the third quarter on Sunday.
Dating back to 1960, Fields became the first Bears rookie quarterback to rush for a touchdown in a season-opener. He is the Bears seventh quarterback overall to score a rushing touchdown in Week 1, and it marks the 13th overall rushing TD by a Chicago quarterback in Week 1.
With 5:08 left in the third quarter, TE Jimmy Graham became the sixth tight end in NFL history to hit 700 receptions for his career. He also joins the company of Hall of Fame tight ends Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates as the only three tight ends to eclipse 700-plus career receptions, 8,000-plus yards and 80-plus TDs.
Chicago Crusader Player of the Game:
Bears RB David Montgomery finished the game with 108 yards on 16 carries (6.8 avg.). His 108-yard outing currently stands as the top mark in the NFC and the second-highest rushing total among all NFL running backs in Week 1 (Joe Mixon, 127).
Montgomery is the first Bears running back to rush for 100-plus yards in a season-opener since Matt Forte did so at Green Bay in 2015, totaling 141 yards on 24 carries (5.9 avg.). Sunday marked Montgomery’s sixth career game rushing for 100-plus yards.
With 34 seconds left in the first half, Montgomery scored Chicago’s first touchdown of the 2021 season. Montgomery now has a streak of seven consecutive regular-season games with a TD, dating back to Week 12 of the 2020 season.
Joseph Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]