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(Sunday, November 17th)
Final Score: Chicago 23, Baltimore 20 (OT)
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - It's been said that good things come to those who wait. The Chicago Bears would very likely concur with that old adage.
Robbie Gould's third field goal of the day, a 38-yarder with 8:41 remaining in overtime, lifted the Bears to a critical 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a game delayed nearly two hours in the first quarter by a severe storm.
Chicago (6-4) trailed 10-0 at the time of the stoppage, caused by heavy rain and winds along with a tornado threat, but literally rode out the storm to regain a share of first place in the NFC North following Detroit's loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Subbing for a hobbled Jay Cutler, Josh McCown brought the Bears back by throwing for 216 yards and a touchdown on 19 completions, none bigger than his 43-yard strike to Martellus Bennett on 3rd-and-9 that set up Gould's game- winner.
Matt Forte contributed 125 yards from scrimmage and a receiving touchdown to the win, while defensive end David Bass had a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter to help key Chicago's comeback.
"We always talk to our players about creating turnovers and not turning the ball over, and we did a very good job of that today," said Bears head coach Marc Trestman. "I think that allowed us to stay in the game and be in the game."
Baltimore (4-6) was dealt a fourth loss in five games despite a season-best 131 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries from Ray Rice. Joe Flacco had a touchdown pass while going 17-of-31 for 162 yards, but threw two costly interceptions that the Bears converted into points.
"It's frustrating, because I felt like we had the ability to really let it go today and explode on offense and we just didn't do it," Flacco remarked.
McCown was at his best with Chicago trailing 17-13 at the start of the fourth quarter. The journeyman quarterback made good on 5-of-6 attempts in engineering an 11-play, 83-yard drive that Forte extended with a 10-yard run to the Baltimore 13 on third down. Two plays later, the duo teamed up for a 14-yard touchdown that gave the Bears their first lead of the game with 10:33 remaining in regulation.
Chicago's next series resulted in a punt, however, giving the Ravens back the ball at their own 16 with under five minutes to go. A clutch 14-yard connection from Flacco to Dallas Clark on 4th-and-4 kept Baltimore alive, and the defending Super Bowl champs later had a 1st-and-goal from the Bears' five in the final seconds after Rice followed an 11-yard catch by Deonte Thompson with an 11-yard run.
Rice was stopped twice near the goal line, however, and Baltimore ultimately settled for Justin Tucker's game-tying 21-yard field goal with three seconds on the clock.
The Ravens got the ball first in OT but stalled near midfield, and McCown came up with two more big plays to put Chicago in position to win. He found Alshon Jeffery for 14 yards on 3rd-and-9, then hit a wide-open Bennett down the seam and the big tight end rumbled down to the Baltimore 22 before being tackled.
After two Forte runs gained little, Gould was called upon and managed to sneak a kick just inside the right upright through the treacherous conditions.
Baltimore was clearly in control prior to the lengthy delay, scoring on each of its first two possessions to build a 10-0 lead when the contest was halted with 4:51 to play in the opening quarter.
The Ravens entered the matchup ranked 30th in the league in rushing offense, but its maligned offensive line opened up a huge hole for Rice on the team's second play from scrimmage and the playmaking back raced 47 yards before being brought down at the Chicago 10. Rice later crossed the goal line untouched from a yard out to give the Ravens the early upper hand.
"With the circumstances with the weather we knew we had to run the ball, and we did a good job today," said Rice. "We would have loved to get the win, but that's the way things have been shaking [for us] lately. "Needless to say, we are getting better. For us to do what we did in the run game today, that's a positive."
A 17-yard catch by Clark on third down and a pass interference penalty on Chicago corner Zach Bowman during Baltimore's next series put the Ravens in range for Tucker to drill a 52-yard field goal with the heavy wind at his back that extended the margin to 10 points.
Chicago mustered only one first down over its initial three drives, but marched nearly the length of the field on the fourth to get on the board. An 18-yard connection from McCown to Jeffery brought the ball down to the Baltimore seven, but the Bears ended up opting for Gould's 20-yard field goal on the 12-play, 88-yard sequence after failing to punch it in on six tries in goal-to-go situations.
"When we heard how long [the delay] was going to be, I just kind of let down and stretched and closed my eyes and just tried to visualize the game and kind of assess what happened those first two series," said McCown. "We kind of just walked through some plays, because the hiccups that we had the first two series were just stupid. It was just, 'let's take a deep breath here, let's go back through here and not shoot ourselves in the foot and come out better'."
On the ensuing snap from scrimmage, Bass made a leaping grab of Flacco's intended pass in the right flat and rumbled uncontested into the end zone to knot the score at 10-10.
Flacco quickly shook off the miscue, however, hitting on all five of his throws on the following drive as the Ravens moved 80 yards in nine plays to regain the lead. His final completion, a 5-yard dart to Torrey Smith on a slant route, put Baltimore back on top 4:08 prior to the intermission.
The Super Bowl XLVII MVP was picked off again before the end of the half, however, with the Bears' Jon Bostic snaring a down-the-middle throw at midfield. Three straight McCown completions then put Chicago in range for Gould's 46-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter that trimmed the deficit to 17-13.
Jeffery finished with 83 yards on seven catches, while Forte had 83 rushing yards on 18 carries along with 42 yards on five grabs ... Baltimore recorded a season-high 174 rushing yards ... The Ravens have lost in all three lifetime visits to Soldier Field, having been outscored by a 34-9 margin in the two previous matchups there ... Tucker is now 7-of-8 lifetime on field goal attempts of 50 or more yards and has made 18 straight overall ... Baltimore played without All-Pro nose tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Marlon Brown due to knee injuries ... Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea left the game in the first half after aggravating a toe injury.
11/17 21:12:30 ET