CHICAGO (AP) Jared Goff was born in California and played his college ball for California before beginning his pro career in Southern California with the Los Angeles Rams.
The Golden State kid looked a little lost in the Windy City.
Harassed by Chicago’s fierce pass rush all night long, Goff threw a career-high four interceptions in a costly 15-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday at a chilly Soldier Field. Several of Goff’s passes wobbled coming out of his right hand, and it was hard to tell where he was going on a couple more throws.
“It’s definitely tough to play in a big-time game like that and not play well and not win and not do what you want to do,” Goff said. “But at the same time we’re 11-2, won the division with three weeks left and have everything in front of us and feel really good about that.”
The loss dropped Los Angeles into a tie with New Orleans in the race for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Saints hold the tiebreaker after topping the Rams 45-35 on Nov. 4.
Goff and company had won three in a row since falling short in New Orleans, averaging 40 points during the streak. But Los Angeles’ prolific offense was completely shut down by Khalil Mack and the Bears (9-4).
“They did a good job getting some pressure and then they played tight coverage and there really just weren’t many plays to make tonight because of some of the selections that I had,” second-year Rams coach Sean McVay said. “So certainly don’t blame Jared for a lot of bad spots that I put him in.”
Goff was 20 for 44 for a season-low 180 yards. NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley managed just 28 yards on 11 carries, both season lows. Greg Zuerlein booted a 40-yard field goal attempt off the right upright at a key moment in the fourth quarter.
“It was on everybody, we all played bad,” Gurley said. “Coaches down to the players.”
Goff threw his first interception on Los Angeles’ third possession. Bears defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard pushed Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth into Goff, and his wobbly pass went right to Roquan Smith for the rookie linebacker’s first career pick .
Smith’s 22-yard return to the Rams 4 set up Cody Parkey‘s 31-yard field goal with 9:24 left in the second quarter.
“They had a good scheme for us and did a good job, but we got to be better and that starts with me,” Goff said.
Goff threw another interception on a Hail Mary on the final play of the half, but the game was tied at 6 at the break.
Chicago then went ahead to stay when Eddie Goldman tackled Goff in the end zone on the Rams’ first drive of the third for the Bears’ first safety of the season. Goff also was sacked by Mack in the third quarter and brought down by Akiem Hicks on a fourth-down play in the fourth.
Los Angeles had a chance to get back in the game when John Johnson III intercepted Mitchell Trubisky in the third and took it back 35 yards to the Chicago 27. But Goff gave it right back, throwing an interception to Kyle Fuller on the next play.
Goff’s last interception went to Prince Amukamara late in the fourth quarter, sealing the loss for the Rams (11-2).
“I thought I put him in really bad spots tonight,” McVay said.
Goff also struggled in last Sunday’s 30-16 win at Detroit, going 17 for 33 for 207 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft said he feels fine and just needs to play better.
“I don’t think this will be the last time I have a bad game,” he said. “And I don’t think it will be the last time I have two bad games in a row if I play for as long as I want to.”
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL