Bears battle elements, early deficit as Gould seals OT win
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter November 17, 2013 3:32PM
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Updated: November 17, 2013 10:04PM
Future retellings of the longest game in Bears history undoubtedly will start at the beginning — a 1-hour, 53-minute weather delay in the first quarter — or at the end — a 38-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to seal a 23-20 overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens.
But the proper turning point Sunday was at the 5-yard line in the south end zone with 36 seconds left in regulation.
The Ravens, trailing 20-17, had first-and-goal. Score a touchdown and the game’s over.
The Washington Redskins did that one month ago, marching 80 yards for a last-minute touchdown. The Ravens threatened to do it, too, after starting at their own 16.
‘‘We definitely didn’t want to give the game up — again,’’ said Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, who had two sacks Sunday as the defense’s last healthy superstar.
On first down, Ray Rice ran for two yards to the Bears’ 3.
Then he lost one, stuffed by safety Chris Conte.
Joe Flacco threw incomplete on third down.
Justin Tucker’s 21-yard field goal from the boggy Soldier Field turf forced overtime.
‘‘Huge,’’ defensive end Corey Wootton said. ‘‘In the games prior, we didn’t make the stand when we needed to.’’
The defense gave up one first down in overtime and forced a punt. On the Bears’ fourth offensive play, Josh McCown found Martellus Bennett down the right seam for 43 yards, setting up Gould’s field goal.
‘‘They’re far more injury-riddled than we are,’’ McCown said of the Bears’ defense, ‘‘and they’re finding a way to get it done.’’
The Bears (6-4) struggled early, allowing Rice to run 47 yards on his first carry — that topped his total for all but one game this year — and later score on a 1-yard carry. He finished with 25 carries for a season-high 131 yards.
After Tucker kicked a 51-yard field goal with 4:51 to play in the first quarter, officials halted the game because of severe weather. The 56,419 fans were ordered to seek shelter under concrete overhangs.
Players retreated to the locker room as the storm brought swirling wind, driving rain and lightning.
‘‘The first two drives, I felt a disconnect in our huddle,’’ said wideout Brandon Marshall, who had four catches for 42 yards. ‘‘For us to come in, we needed that.’’
In the second quarter, Gould kicked a 20-yard field goal after the Bears were stuffed three times from the 2.
Ten seconds later, rookie defensive end David Bass jumped at the line on a play-action pass, plucked Flacco’s pass and ran 24 yards for touchdown.
‘‘We were able to finally make the plays when the plays needed to be made,’’ coach Marc Trestman said.
The Ravens led 17-13 at halftime. Wind and rain made the third quarter a slog.
McCown, who was 19-for-31 for 216 yards, didn’t attempt a pass during the third quarter. The Ravens gained 36 yards the entire quarter, the Bears 28.
Running back Matt Forte, who had 18 carries for 83 yards, took a screen pass 14 yards to put the Bears up 20-17 with 10:33 to play.
‘‘That’s what it’s about,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘It’s about adversity.’’