"Mid-way through the fourth quarter, we really thought we were going to take the lead and go ahead," St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson admitted in his post-game comments. "Our defense did a fairly good job. We as an offense did not help them at all."
Jackson hit the nail on head with that statement. The St. Louis Rams offense struggled, working their way to a meager 160 yard of offense, most of that coming in the third quarter.
A look at the series where it all went wrong in the fourth quarter.
The defense had to be gassed, and you could see a little bit of that at the end of the game. Check out the time of possession difference for the Rams:
Here's the quarter-by-quarter breakdown:
Rams Q1: 5:34
Bears Q1: 9:26
Rams Q2: 4:45
Bears Q2: 10:15
Rams Q3: 11:30
Bears Q3: 3:30
Rams Q4: 4:15
Bears Q4: 10:45
Not only does it make it hard for the defense, it also makes it nearly impossible to mount a comeback. The Rams trailed by just four points at the start of the game's final frame.
Chicago added another three points on their first possession of the fourth quarter, after the defense improbably held them at the four-yard line. It's a seven-point, one possession game. Here's how the Rams offense responded,
1-10-SL 20 (9:45) S.Bradford pass incomplete short left to L.Kendricks.
2-10-SL 20 (9:41) (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass short right to D.Amendola to SL 39 for 19 yards (D.Moore). P12
Penalty on CHI-C.Wootton, Defensive Offside, declined.
1-10-SL 39 (9:22) S.Bradford pass incomplete short middle to L.Kendricks [I.Idonije].
2-10-SL 39 (9:17) S.Bradford pass short left intended for D.Amendola INTERCEPTED by M.Wright (T.Jennings) at SL 45. M.Wright for 45 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Notice anything missing there? Oh, right, they didn't run the ball. Obviously, the run wasn't working all that well at this point. The passing game was in far worse shape. But it's more than just simple balance.
The Rams needed points, they also needed to chew up clock time with almost 10 minutes left in the game when they got their first possession of the fourth quarter. It was a rough sequence that ended with this ... and put the game out of reach.