David Bass was ‘in the right place at the right time’ during key interception return for TD
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter November 17, 2013 9:55PM
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) runs against Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman (38) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: November 17, 2013 10:11PM
Bears rookie defensive end David Bass reached up to corral a Joe Flacco pass and ran 24 yards for a touchdown against the defending Super Bowl champions to help an NFL team win a game Sunday.
And after allowing himself a little end-zone celebration (‘‘My LeBron James celebration — the powder toss,’’ he said.), he went back to work.
The thrill of a lifetime for a player who was preparing to play Minnesota-Duluth a year ago at Missouri Western, was cut by the Oakland Raiders in training camp and was inactive for four weeks after the Bears picked him off the scrap heap was just a moment for Bass. This is the NFL, after all. He’s got bigger plans than one pick-six.
‘‘It was a great feeling. But it’s not everything I ever hoped for,’’ said Bass, a seventh-round draft pick by the Raiders in April. ‘‘It’s just one play out of many and we’ve got a lot of football left to play. I’m going to build off of that and just keep working.’’
Bass was one of several heroes for a beleaguered defense that — with a little help from Mother Nature — shut down Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens after the game was delayed 1 hour, 53 minutes by inclement weather for a 23-20 overtime victory.
It remains to be seen if the Bears are filling huge holes left by the departure of linebacker Brian Urlacher and injuries to Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Henry Melton. But for one day, they had some unlikely difference-makers in a game in which every play counted.
Besides Bass’ first interception and touchdown in the NFL, second-year defensive end Cheta Ozougwu had a big fourth-down sack and forced fumble and rookie linebacker Jon Bostic made a nifty interception that set up a field-goal drive late in the first half.
‘‘We need those guys to make plays for us,’’ defensive end Julius Peppers said. ‘‘And they’re coming around and doing it.’’
Bass’ interception made the biggest impact. The Bears had allowed a touchdown and a field goal on the Ravens’ first two drives before threatening storms force the game to be delayed.
After a sack by Peppers led to a defensive stop, the Bears drove for Robbie Gould’s 20-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 10-3. On the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage, Bass fought off a block by running back Ray Rice, reached up to grab a short pass intended for fullback Vonta Leach and had a clear path to the end zone to tie the game 10 with 8:38 left in the first half.
‘‘I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time,’’ Bass said. ‘‘Lucky play.’’
He knows it was more than that.
‘‘Just reading my keys,’’ Bass said. ‘‘Actually, the tackle came down, so my initial reaction was to close. I saw the fullback and running back coming towards me and the quarterback didn’t really give a full play-action fake.
‘‘So the fullback went to the flat, [Rice] came to cut me and I’ve always been told to beat the cut to the outside. When I went to the outside, he threw the ball and I happened to have my hand up at the time.’’
Ozougwu, who promoted from the practice squad on Saturday, credited Peppers for his sack of Flacco on a fourth-and-eight play in the third quarter.
‘‘We had four defensive ends out there, with Pep inside [at tackle],’’ Ozougwu said. ‘‘They respected Pep and gave him a hand. [The offensive tackle] sat down on Pep, so I took the edge and was able to make the play.’’