Ravens vs. Bears: Takeaways from Chicago's 23-20 Win Against Baltimore
The Chicago Bears improved to 6-4 on the season after a 23-20 overtime victory against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon.
More than five hours after it began, Robbie Gould's 38-yard field goal in overtime helped seal the victory after a lengthy weather delay forced the teams off of the field for nearly two hours.
Here are my five takeaways from the Bears' 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Mother Nature Made for a Mess in the Stands and on the Field
Not long after the first quarter began on Sunday both teams were told to head to the locker rooms and fans were asked to leave the stands as terrible storms began to head toward Soldier Field.
The game was eventually delayed for one-hour and 54-minutes before the severe weather left the area. Tornadoes were spotted and, according to The Huffington Post, some even touched down in central Illinois with confirmed tornadoes in the cities of Peoria and Washington.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the Bears and the staff at Soldier Field did a good job of clearing fans from the stands with messages on the stadium's video boards reading: "Please clear the stadium seating area and relocate to the nearest covered concourse. Please remain calm and leave the seating area in an orderly fashion."
Once the teams were able to return to the field it quickly become a muddy mess and the wind conditions limited what both teams were able to do in the passing game.
Nearly five hours after the game had started Robbie Gould hit a 38-yard field goal amidst the terrible wind conditions and helped the Bears improve to 6-4 on the season.
Josh McCown Remained Calm, Cool and Collected
It is almost starting to sound like a broken record but Josh McCown once again remained calm, cool and collected in helping lead his team to a victory Sunday afternoon.
Two weeks ago he helped manufacture a win against the Green Bay Packers and last week he came a two-point conversion away from helping lead the Bears back against the Detroit Lions in relief for Jay Cutler.
McCown finished the day going 19-of-31 for 216 yards with one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 92.9.
The Bears went away from the passing game in the second half due to swirling winds and less than favorable throwing conditions but when it mattered the most, McCown came through. On a critical third-and-nine in overtime, McCown hit tight end Martellus Bennett for a 43-yard gain which helped put them in scoring position.
Marc Trestman was happy with the play of McCown, telling The Chicago Tribune, according to Fred Mitchell, "I'm really proud of how our football team rallied around Josh." While McCown obviously lacks some of the tools that Jay Cutler possesses, he has proven that he is more than a capable quarterback that can hold down the fort until Cutler returns and that his teammates believe in him.
Pass Rush Began to Show Signs of Life
All season long one of the biggest concerns for the Bears defense was the lack of pressure up front, namely from Julius Peppers. Peppers busted out against the Raven, taking down quarterback Joe Flacco twice and finishing the game with 11 total tackles.
Corey Wootton started the day lining up on the opposite side of Peppers at defensive end but was again moved inside to the three-technique position and rookie David Bass saw extended time at the other defensive end position.
Bass made one of the more memorable plays of the day as he avoided a cut-block from Ray Rice, intercepted a pass from Flacco and rumbled his way in for a 24-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10-10 with 8:38 to play in the second quarter. Besides that tremendous play he also did a good job of applying pressure to Flacco and finished the game with four total tackles.
Bears Won the Turnover Battle
Marc Trestman told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune after the game, "We always talk to our players about creating turnovers and not turning the ball over, and we did a very good job of that today. That allowed us to stay in the game and be in the game."
David Bass and Jon Bostic both intercepted Joe Flacco Sunday afternoon and the Bears offense was able to keep the ball away from the terrorizing Ravens defense.
Just as Trestman eluded to after the game, it is very difficult to win football games when you turn the ball over. The Bears offense has done a good job of protecting the football over the last few weeks and if they can continue to win the turnover battle then their road to the playoffs will be much easier.
Defense Struggled Again to Stop the Run
Heading into Sunday's matchup with the Chicago Bears, Ravens running back Ray Rice was averaging just 2.5 yards per carry on the season to go with just three scores and 289 rushing yards in eight games.
Prior to Sunday the Bears had the second worst run defense in all of football, allowing 129.4 yards per game rushing and a total of 10 rushing touchdowns in nine games.
One of those were likely going to break on Sunday and the Bears defense again struggled to slow down the running game. Rice finished with 131 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears against seemed to struggle with their tackling and often times struggled to get pressure up the middle. The colder it gets the more likely it will be that teams will need to run the ball more, meaning the Bears will need to shore up their run defense in a hurry.