Defensive stand crucial in Bears' victory

Without Chicago's late-game goal-line stand with time winding down on the clock, the Bears would have lost their fifth game of the season and second in a row at home.

Mother Nature was a surly girl this afternoon, delaying the Chicago Bears contest against the Baltimore Ravens two hours due to severe weather. The stoppage happened in the first quarter with the Bears down 10-0, at a time when Chicago needed to catch its breath.

The team did just that, with the offense putting the Bears ahead 20-17 early in the fourth quarter on an outstanding catch and run by Matt Forte.

At that point, it was up to the defense to keep the Ravens from picking up a game-winning touchdown with less than five minutes to play. The Bears nearly pulled off a three-and-out but Zack Bowman was called for a horse collar tackle on third down that kept the drive alive.

Eight plays later, the Ravens were perched on the 5-yard line for a first-down and goal with 36 seconds on the clock. Coach Marc Trestman chose not to use the three timeouts he had in his back pocket, so if the defense had given up a touchdown, the game would have been over.

"They can't get in," linebacker Jon Bostic said after the game, as to the mindset of the defense at that time. "We said, ‘we've got to hold them to three and send this game into overtime.' One thing we couldn't let them do was get in the end zone."

On the first play, Ray Rice ran up the middle and gained three yards before Bostic and Corey Wootton brought him down at the 2-yard line. On the next play, Chris Conte shot the gap and took Rice down for a loss of one. On the third-down play, the Bears were able to pressure Ravens QB Joe Flacco after a botched snap, resulting in an incompletion that forced Baltimore to kick the field goal.

"I think it was huge," linebacker James Anderson said. "Any time you can stop them, especially near overtime, those were huge plays."

Huge indeed, as those plays kept the game alive and sent it into overtime. The Bears then promptly won the contest on a 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal.

"That's something you always dream of, the game being on the line and having the defense out there," said Bostic. "Those are the moments you dream of. You want to be out there in situations like that. Being able to come out with this win is big for us."

The defensive stand helped push the Bears to 6-4 on the season. With Detroit losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago is now tied with the Lions atop the NFC North – although the kitties from the Motor City hold the tiebreaker. It's a far cry from last week's loss, when everyone assumed the Bears' season was over.

"That's the league. One week you're in; one week you're out," Anderson said. "That's why you've got to keep playing until the end."


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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