BALTIMORE — On his 33rd carry Sunday, running back Jordan Howard took Ravens safety Eric Weddle for a ride.
Rather than tackle Howard with about 5:30 to play in overtime of an eventual 27-24 Bears victory, Weddle reached for the ball. Howard kept chopping his feet, and Weddle fell to the ground like a squirrel in those late-night bird-feeder ads.
Howard churned up the left sideline behind a block by tight end Dion Sims and wasn’t pushed out of bounds until 53 yards later.
Seven plays — including a huge third-and-11 pass from Mitch Trubisky to Kendall Wright — later, the Bears kicked the game-winning field goal.
“All those runs, they wear a defense down,” said Howard, who galloped 36 times for 167 yards. “Like at the end of the game, they don’t really wanna tackle me too much because I’m a load to handle.”
Howard said he couldn’t have done that as well last year, when, despite finishing second in the NFL in rushing, his conditioning wasn’t what it is now.
“I feel like I’m in a lot better shape than I was in last year,” he said. “So I was able to keep carrying the ball as much as they needed me to.”
And making up for a mistake at the end of regulation.
With the Ravens out of timeouts and the Bears facing third down at their 15, the road team was content to let the clock run out. The Bears handed the ball to Howard, who strung out the run — and wound up out of bounds. It forced the Bears to punt, and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco couldn’t get two plays off before the clock expired to force overtime.
“I almost cost us the game by leaving time on the clock,” Howard said. “In overtime, I had to make up for it.”
Coach John Fox said the Bears prepared for a grind-it-out game. They followed through, running 54 times for 231 yards.
“He ran like a warrior today,” Trubisky said. “His overtime run flipped the field for us.
“It didn’t surprise me because we were playing in overtime and everyone is tired, but he keeps going and going.”
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