Bears 1, Mother Nature 0.
Amid a swath of severe weather, the Bears had a chance to pull into a first-place tie in the NFC North on Sunday. All they had to do was beat struggling Baltimore, a team that only slightly resembled the reigning Super Bowl champ.
Robbie Gould made sure that neither the Ravens nor the elements got the best of them, booting a 38-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bears a 23-20 win at Soldier Field. Detroit lost at Pittsburgh on Sunday, so both teams are now 6-4.
"My dad always says 'that thing's oblong and bounces funny,' so I think about that whenever this happens," Bears quarterback Josh McCown said. "You never know from week to week in this league. It is what it is, where we are right now, and we just have to take care of St. Louis [next week] and get ready for that."
Gould's winning kick was ordinary. However, most of what unfolded at Soldier Field was odd. Like, Jay-Cutler-looking-happy odd. First and foremost was the vicious wind.
"There was at one point … it was blowing sideline to sideline to where we could not throw the ball--any throw," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We were very concerned about even a flip or a screen pass because it was coming so hard.
Five hours and 16 minutes after kickoff, the Bears got the only thing they wanted.
We'll try to contain the weirdness that unfolded on the lakefront Sunday into a couple of pages.
The Ravens running back--usually a fantasy football stud--has had a rough 2013. Well, he found his footing against the Bears defense. Heading into Sunday, his season-high in rushing yards was 74, and his longest run was 14 yards. On Sunday, he ran for 131 yards, including a 47-yarder in the first quarter. Uh, something's wrong with this picture.
What was that?!
Near-pitch black skies in the middle of the day. Temperatures nearing 70. Sideways rain. Even a bit of sunshine. Sounds a lot like what you'd see in Chicago in, say, July. The month of November must feel very confused right now. Though Trestman kind of confused everyone even more.
"Credit to the Ravens," he said. "They were going into the wind, then sometimes they were going into the wind but sometimes they were going with the wind [laughs] even though they started going into the wind. That was kind of the day [it was]."
Nine tackles. Two sacks. Scaring the you-know-what out of any Ravens player who touched the ball. You'd think that'd be typical for a guy the Bears are paying $12.9 million this season. But this stellar performance was the exception for Peppers this season. Still, the Bears would rather see it now than, say, not at all.
David Bass and Cheta Ozougwu
You probably had no idea who these guys were before Sunday. None whatsoever. Well, the former played for Missouri Western State and the latter at Rice, which are not exactly football powerhouses. But they were huge Sunday. Bass took an interception 24 yards for a TD, and later Ozougwu sacked Flacco to end a Baltimore scoring threat. Will we remember these guys next week? We'll see.
"The running back just came and cut me after the tackle went down, and I just put my hands up at the right time," Bass said of his interception. It was the first time since college that he had scored a touchdown. "It was nice; it was a great feeling, that's for sure."
Could these seriously be the Bears quarterback's numbers: 19-of-31 passing for 216 yards and a touchdown? They seem much too ordinary for the guy who's shredded opposing defenses of late.
"Josh is a leader," receiver Brandon Marshall said. "He's one of our captains even though he doesn't have a 'C' on his chest. … He's been awesome for us."
If you ever thought kicking was simple, allow Gould to disabuse you of that notion right now.
"I tried to play [the winning kick] off the right upright. The ball was moving about half a goal post [because of the wind]; that one I think moved about two inches," Gould said. "That's why they give you the whole upright, I guess."
Fans behaving badly
About halfway through the weather delay, a fan in a Ravens jersey ran out onto Soldier Field. He made it from one corner to about midfield until a half-dozen security officers swarmed and tackled the offender. Weather delays must mess with fans' heads.
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