BALTIMORE – After blowing a seemingly safe 24-13 lead late in Sunday's game in Baltimore, the Bears valiantly rallied for a thrilling 27-24 overtime victory over the Ravens.
Baltimore native Adrian Amos appeared to clinch the win when he returned his first career interception 90 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bears ahead 24-13 with 5:08 to play.
But the Ravens stormed back, climbing to within 24-16 on Justin Tucker's 50-yard field goal with 2:56 left and then tying it 24-24 on Michael Campanaro's 77-yard punt return touchdown coupled with Joe Flacco's two-point conversion pass to Nick Boyle with 1:37 to play.
Things continued to look bleak for the Bears when they started their second possession of overtime at their own 7. But Jordan Howard burst around left end for 53 yards to the Baltimore 40. Mitchell Trubisky followed with an 18-yard pass to Kendall Wright on third-and-11 to the 23, setting up Connor Barth's game-winning 40-yard field goal with 2:06 left in overtime.
"It was a real gutsy performance by our team, coming into a very tough place to win on the road," said coach John Fox. "Was it perfect? No. But anytime you can get a ‘W' in this league, it's a tribute to those guys in that locker room. I'm talking about coaches and players. I'm proud of the way our guys played. It wasn't always perfect—seldom is—but we're just happy to get out of here with a win."
Fueled by an opportunistic defense that generated three takeaways and a strong running game that produced 231 yards, the Bears improved to 2-4 by winning on the road for the first time since Dec. 27, 2015 when they beat the Buccaneers 26-21 in Tampa, snapping a 10-game skid.
Facing a rugged Ravens defense, the Bears kept the ball on the ground. Trubisky threw just 16 passes in the game—completing eight for 113 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions—while handing off 50 times to Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen. Howard responded by rushing for a career-high 167 yards on 36 carries, while Cohen added 32 yards on 14 attempts.
Fox explained that the Bears employed a run-oriented game plan due to the Ravens defense and not because Trubisky was making only his second NFL start.
"They're very opportunistic," Fox said "They do a lot of things. I came here in '12—the last time I was here—with Peyton Manning at quarterback and we ran it 44 times and threw it 21, so it has nothing to do with our quarterback. It's whatever it takes to win and this week we needed to run the ball and we did. It has to do with who you are and who the team is you're playing and doing whatever it takes to win and our guys did that today."
Cohen did more than just run the ball Sunday. The versatile fourth-round draft pick lofted a perfect 21-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller in the right corner of the end zone on a halfback option play, giving the Bears a 10-0 lead with 2:53 remaining in the second quarter.
"That was a dime," Fox said. "That's a play we've had and it kind of presented itself today and I thought it was executed. It was a good throw and a good catch."
Trubisky and Dion Sims teamed up for a good throw and a good catch midway through the third quarter that resulted in a 27-yard touchdown, giving the Bears a 17-3 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, it appeared that Joshua Bellamy tripped up Bobby Rainey. But the Ravens kick returner jumped to his feet and raced 96 yards for a controversial touchdown that closed the gap to 17-10. Referee Ed Hochuli confirmed the call on the field via a replay review.
"I thought he was touched; obviously [the officials] didn't," Fox said. "It doesn't matter what I think. It was a big play for them, one that I'm sure we'll have some things to coach off of."
The Bears followed by committing turnovers on their next two possessions. Cohen lost a fumble at his own 39 and the Ravens turned it into Tucker's 31-yard field goal, drawing to within 17-13. Baltimore then took over at its own 48 following a strip/sack of Trubisky, but Amos saved the day—at least temporarily—with his 90-yard interception return touchdown.
"The big takeaway that Adrian scored on kind of took the wind out of the stadium," Fox said. "Obviously they made some plays that brought the wind back in to get the game tied and into overtime and our guys weathered that storm, which I think says a lot about them."