CHICAGO — Josh McCown spent a few quiet moments trying to figure out what would happen. He probably didn’t envision this.
The Bears waited out a long rain delay and put in extra time to come away with a much-needed win.
Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal to lift the Bears to a 23-20 victory over Baltimore Sunday in a game delayed about two hours by a torrential downpour.
Justin Tucker tied it for the Ravens with a 21-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
The big delay came after Tucker kicked a 52-yarder with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. Fans were ordered to take cover as players headed to the locker rooms while 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.
During the delay, Bears players stretched and went over the game plan.
“Closed my eyes and just trying to think about the game, visualize the game a little bit,” McCown said. “And kind of assess what happened the first two series. What did we do wrong? Why weren’t we moving the ball? What are they going to do to us?”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh wouldn’t say what his team did during the down time, although his team is no stranger to delays. The Ravens experienced a power outage in the Super Bowl, after all, and the start of their season-opener at Denver was pushed back by lightning. Both were just 34 minutes, though.
“I think we’ve led the league in delays over the last few years,” Harbaugh said.
Gould won it with a 38-yarder on third-and-8 at the 20 with 8:41 left in OT after McCown connected with a leaping Martellus Bennett on a 43-yard pass to put the ball on the 22, 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 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 the 16 to the 2, getting a one-handed catch from Dallas Clark on a fourth down at 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 without an interception, subbing for Jay Cutler (high left ankle sprain). In four games and two starts, he has five touchdowns and no turnovers, and he came through under brutal conditions.
“It’s definitely one of those days where you look across the field and (see) Joe Flacco and look on the sideline and Jay’s over there,” McCown said. “And I’m like, ‘Can I borrow somebody’s arm?’”
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 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. He scored from the 1 early on after a 47-yard dash on Baltimore’s first drive. But Flacco had a rough day, throwing for 162 yards and getting picked off twice.
“Every time you get the ball, it either was wet or had all kinds of mud on it,” he said. “It was an issue for the timing stuff, getting a grip on it quick enough.”
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 12:30 p.m. CT and didn’t resume until 2:25. 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 with lightning striking near the stadium.
“It was pretty muddy, windy,” Bennett said. “I feel like I’ve been fishing all day.”
NOTES: Bears DT Stephen Paea left the game with a toe injury. … Harbaugh wouldn’t comment on the condition of S Matt Elam, who limped off the field in the fourth quarter after making a tackle on Forte.