Hard to complain about a weird-weather game in Chicago that was delayed for 2 hours due to tornado and lightning warnings when millions of Illinois and Midwest citizens suffered unbelievable damage from a regional storm which tore up their lives. Lucky for the city of Chicago, the twisters veered out of its path. The game was delayed and the stadium evacuated for about two hours— but in the end a small price to pay for avoiding total disaster.
But the signature upon the Ravens' 2013 season left behind by the Midwestern storm may in fact be the end of Baltimore's playoff hopes this year.
Oh, the Ravens had their chances to put this one away.
The Ravens were able to get their ground game going, with Ray Rice rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown against a team that's struggled to stop the run. But Flacco ultimately had a rough day, throwing for 162 yards and getting picked off twice.
The Bears scored 10 points in a 12-second stretch in the second quarter, on a 20-yard field goal by Gould and a 24-yard interception return by Bass. He picked off Flacco at the line and ran untouched to the end zone, Chicago's fourth interception return for a TD this season, but Baltimore immediately answered with an 80-yard scoring drive.
Flacco lofted a 5-yard scoring pass between two defenders to Smith to put the Ravens back on top, 17-10, with 4:08 left in the half. But an interception at midfield by Bostic with a minute left led to a 46-yard field goal by Gould as time expired, making it a four-point game at the half.
And what a strange half it was.
Play was stopped just after 1:30 p.m. ET and didn't resume until 3:25. There were reports of at least one tornado touching down in Illinois and extensive damage in at least one part of the state. At Soldier Field, long lines formed in the upper deck as drenched fans tried to make their way toward the tunnel to the concourse with lightning striking near the stadium.
The rain was so heavy it looked as if the Chicago skyline was gone. Fans in suites and reporters in the press box were ordered to move away from the glass. At one point, a spectator ran across the field and got tackled by about three or four security guards before being escorted away.
Fans were finally allowed to return to their seats at 3:07 p.m. ET as the skies temporarily cleared, and they let out a big roar when Bears players started trotting onto the field three minutes later. The rain made for a messy field, with players slipping and sliding and unable to make their quick cuts.
The big delay came after Tucker kicked a 52-yard field goal with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. Fans were ordered to take cover. Players headed to the locker rooms as heavy rains and winds whipped through Soldier Field. They emerged about two hours later with the sky clearing and the sun coming out, but the rain and wind returned in the third quarter, turning the stands into a sea of ponchos.
Gould won it with a 38-yarder on third-and-8 with 8:41 left in OT, and the Bears (6-4) came away with the win after dropping four of six.
They were leading 20-17 with 10:33 remaining in regulation after Matt Forte scored on a 14-yard screen from Josh McCown, dodging three or four defenders along the way, but the Ravens (4-6) made one big push down the stretch to send it to overtime.
They drove from their own 16 to the Bears' 2, getting a one-handed catch from Dallas Clark on a fourth down at the 44. After Joe Flacco overthrew Torrey Smith in the back of the end zone on third down, Tucker tied it at 20-all with 3 seconds left.
McCown threw for 216 yards with Jay Cutler sidelined by a high left ankle sprain. Alshon Jeffery had seven catches for 83 yards. Forte added 42 receiving and 83 rushing.
Julius Peppers had two sacks. David Bass returned an interception for a touchdown, and Jonathan Bostic set up a field goal by Gould at the end of the first half with an interception.
The Ravens pretty much have to win out the rest of their schedule to have a shot at qualifying for the 2013 playoffs. They will next face the New York Jets, who got gutted on Sunday by the Buffalo Bills.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||4.2||5.4|
Comp – Att
Yards per pass
Sacks – Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-3||1-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||1|