Updated: December 23, 2013 3:47PM
It was a play that just about embodied the best thing the St. Louis Rams have going for them these days.
Defensive end Robert Quinn beat a chip-blocking tight end and then Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo with a speed rush, struck quarterback Andrew Luck and jarred the ball loose. Quinn’s partner-in-crime, defensive end Chris Long, picked up the ball and raced untouched 45 yards into the end zone, setting the stage for the Rams’ 38-8 rout over the favored Colts in their last game on Nov. 10.
It was the biggest highlight of what’s been a dominant season for Quinn and Long. And it’s their impact the Bears will scheme against to limit.
“The Rams are a very fast defense, especially when you play them on turf,” Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “The two defensive ends are very quick off the ball. They time your snap count, so we have to do a good job of changing the count and being ready to get off in a hurry. [They’re a] big test for us.”
Quinn (12 sacks) and Long (6.5) have combined for the second-most sacks in the league. As a team, the Rams lead the league in sacks per pass play.
And it’s how they do it that makes them different than Baltimore Ravens linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, whom the Bears held to one combined quarterback hit last week. The Rams run a 4-3 defense, unlike the Ravens’ blitzing 3-4. Quinn and Long simply line up, put their hands in the dirt and beat their opponents.
In other words, Bears tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills will have that “big test” Kromer mentioned.
“We had our hands full with Dumervil and Suggs, and I feel the same way with these guys, especially on this turf and playing at home with their crowd,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “Robert Quinn is a really, really good player right now, and he’s going to grow to be a really special player. And so is Chris Long.”
Kromer said the Bears were able to handle Suggs and Dumervil with a “combination of everything.”
“Guys got open, quarterback got rid of the ball, we were very aggressive in our pass protection, and it worked out for us,” Kromer said.
The same philosophies still apply against the Rams, but there will be differences based on St. Louis’ scheme. But overall, the Bears are one of the best when it comes to keeping their quarterbacks upright, giving up just 16 sacks.
“They’re all we can handle on the edges, as good as anybody we’ve faced,” Trestman said. “They’re physical. There’s great energy to the quarterback.
“They don’t spend a lot of time bringing more than five [pass rushers] and five is something they don’t do often. They can do it with four.”
That starts with Quinn and Long.