Chicago Bears vs. St. Louis Rams: Watch Live Stream Online for Free; Preview
Steven Jackson may miss Sunday's game against the Bears as he recovers from a groin injury. (Photo: Reuters)
Two teams with injured star running backs face off on Sunday as the Chicago Bears take on the St. Louis Rams. The game will be broadcast live on FOX in certain markets at 1 p.m. ET, and you can also watch a live stream online for free here.
Jay Cutler and the Bears have had 10 days to recover from their loss last Thursday to the rival Green Bay Packers. Chicago brought in Mike Tice this offseason as its new offensive coordinator, hoping that his new system would help cure the Bears of their recent offensive line woes.
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But on Thursday, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler must have felt he was back in the old "chuck-and-duck" days under former coordinator Mike Martz. Cutler was sacked seven times and harassed for much of the game. When he did get his passes off, the ball often ended up on the ground or in the hands of his opponent.
To make matters worse, running back Matt Forte left the game with an ankle injury and has already been ruled out of Sunday's matchup. Chicago does have a fairly capable backup in Michael Bush, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last year as a member of the Oakland Raiders.
Still, this game will come down to Chicago's ability (or lack thereof) to protect Cutler and give him time to find receiver Brandon Marshall down the field. The Bears did make one change to their offensive line this week, benching left guard Chris Spencer in favor of backup Chilo Rachal.
To be fair, many offensive lines struggle against the Packers' formidable defensive front. Chicago will face less of a test this week against a Rams team that only has two sacks in two games so far this season. Still, the Rams do have one major pass rushing threat in defensive end Chris Long. Long has racked up 13 sacks last season and 8.5 sacks in 2010.
When the Rams have the ball, they too may have to run it without the help of their top tailback, Steven Jackson. Jackson missed most of last week's game against the Washington Redskins with a groin injury and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup.
If Jackson can't play, rookie Daryl Richardson would likely start in his place. Richardson averaged 5.5 yards per carry last week against the Redskins but will have a tougher challenge on Sunday against the ninth-best rush defense in the league.
The Rams should have more success in the passing game on Sunday, as quarterback Sam Bradford is currently third in the NFL in both passer rating and completion percentage. He will be facing a Bears defense that is just 21st in the league in passing yards allowed per game.
St. Louis already looks much improved from the team that went 2-14 last season. The Rams will likely keep it close, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan should nab a pick or two against the turnover-prone Cutler.
But with all the talk about the struggles of the Bears' offensive line, it's easy to forget that Chicago is racking up sacks of its own. The Bears are second the NFL in sacks this season and will be facing a beat-up Rams offensive line. Look for Chicago to harass Bradford enough to pull out the win.
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