BALTIMORE – Even throughout a record-breaking rookie season that earned him a Pro Bowl trip last year, Jordan Howard never had a performance like the one he produced Sunday.
The second-year pro from Indiana established career highs with 36 carries and 167 yards in a thrilling 27-24 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
"We put it on his back," said tight end Zach Miller. "He really just carried the load for us the whole game. We knew it was going to be physical. That defense has that aura about them, so for us to come here and run the ball effectively, I'm proud of that fact. I thought everybody up front did really well and obviously Jordan carrying the football the way he did was key for us."
Bears running back Jordan Howard goes down the sideline in overtime against the Ravens.
The Bears started their second possession of overtime at their own 7. On the first play, Howard took a handoff and bounced outside to his left. The 2016 fifth-round pick raced along the Chicago sideline before being forced out of bounds at the Ravens' 40-yard line.
Howard's 53-yard run not only flipped the field but helped set up Connor Barth's game-winning 40-yard field goal with 2:06 remaining in overtime.
"Our guys knew what kind of game it was going to be; I think our whole group," said coach John Fox. "I'm not slighting Jordan by any stretch; he's been that guy all year. People ask me, ‘Well, Jordan's not getting this …Well, he was the 10th leading rusher before today in the National Football League, so it's not like he's not getting his touches. He's a very good player and he helps us and he helped us win today."
Passing fancy: For the second straight week, the Bears dipped into their bag of tricks to produce a touchdown pass from a non-quarterback.
Last Monday night it was punter Pat O'Donnell tossing a 38-yard TD pass to Benny Cunningham in a loss to the Vikings. On Sunday, it was rookie running back Tarik Cohen floating a 21-yarder to tight end Zach Miller into the right corner of the end zone.
"It was a dime," Cohen said. "I channeled my inner Mitch [Trubisky]."
Cohen wanted to put some air under the ball in order to let Miller run under it, but the rookie running back conceded that he probably put too much loft underneath it.
"That was definitely what I was thinking, but I didn't mean to get it that high," Cohen said. "It might have been a little too high. But it dropped in a perfect spot and only he could catch it. It was definitely up there for a while. I was backpedaling just looking at it. It was like a movie scene. I felt like it was in the air for 30 seconds. I was backpedaling until it dropped."
Surprise decision: No one in M&T Bank Stadium Sunday in Baltimore was more shocked that the officials let Bobby Rainey's 96-yard kickoff return touchdown stand than Joshua Bellamy.
It appeared that Bellamy tripped up Rainey, who then collided with a teammate and fell to the ground before leaping to his feet and continuing to run. To say that Bellamy disagreed with the call would be a gross understatement.
"I definitely touched him," Bellamy said. "I touched him and then he fell over his own man. I can't believe that. That's like a glitch in Madden. It's crazy. Did you see me celebrating? I wasn't celebrating for nothing. I thought I made the tackle. I thought they were going to bring it back. But we still got the ‘W' and that's all that matters."
It's good: Barth had made just 2-of-4 field goals entering Sunday's game before making both of his attempts in Baltimore, a 24-yarder and later the game-winning 40-yarder in overtime.
"It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of business," said Barth, a 10-year NFL veteran. "You're expected to make kicks and if you don't they're going to obviously bring guys in to either take your job or light a fire under you. You've got to trust in what you're capable of doing and swing away and have fun. You've got to have fun. It's the NFL. It's fun."
When Barth lined up for the game-winner, he was focused solely on the operation of the kick.
"The offense and defense work so hard the whole game to get you down there and it's your job to put it through," Barth said. "You just trust what you've done in practice and what you've done over your 10 years. You know you've got a good holder [in Pat O'Donnell] and a good snapper [in Andrew DePaola]. I've worked with those guys and it worked out."
News and notes: Linebacker Danny Trevathan made his presence known after returning from a one-game suspension, registering six tackles, one sack, one tackle-for-loss, one quarterback hit and one fumble recovery. … Special-teams standout Sherrick McManis exited with a hamstring injury in the first half. … Receiver Marcus Wheaton (groin), linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) and John Timu (knee/ankle) and center/guard Hroniss Grasu (hand) did not play due to injuries. … The Bears defense held the Ravens to a 17 percent success rate on third down (3 of 18).