After series of special-teams gaffes, Bears beat Ravens 27-24 in OT

SHARE After series of special-teams gaffes, Bears beat Ravens 27-24 in OT

Ravens returner Michael Campanaro jumps over Bears cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc as he runs for a touchdown Sunday. (AP)

BALTIMORE — Josh Bellamy felt his arms hit Bobby Rainey’s legs on the return.

He celebrated when the Ravens kick returner fell Sunday and was baffled when he got up and kept running, all the way to the end zone, after most players on both teams stopped.

Replay wasn’t enough to show the officials what Bellamy felt — that Rainey was down by contact — so Rainey’s 96-yard touchdown return midway through the third quarter stood.

It was the Bears’ most egregious special-teams mistake since -Marcus Cooper’s blooper in their Week 3 win — that is, until another gaffe forced overtime in a game the Bears eventually won 27-24.

Jordan Howard’s bruising effort — he had 36 carries for 167 yards, including a 53-yard run in overtime -— was all that kept two special-teams errors from being cemented forever in Bears lore.

They were up 11 with four minutes left and still had to go to overtime for their first road victory since Dec. 27, 2015.

“I touched him, and then he fell over his own man,” Bellamy said. “That’s like a glitch on ‘Madden.’ It’s crazy.”

“Glitch” is too polite. The Bears’ special-teams gaffes seemed likely to cost them the game until -another special-teamer, Connor Barth, made a 40-yard field goal in -overtime.

Their most egregious mistake can’t be blamed on an inconclusive replay.

With 1:55 to play, ahead by eight, the Bears were forced to punt from their 24-yard line. They brought both gunners in toward the line of scrimmage to protect against a blocked kick.

Pat O’Donnell kicked away, to Michael Campanaro, who caught the ball at the right hash of the 23-yard line. He broke left, got blockers near the numbers by the left sideline, turned upfield and ran 77 yards for a touchdown.

Inexcusably, he was never touched.

The Ravens tied the score with a two-point conversion.

Bellamy, the left gunner, said sometimes coverage is difficult when gunners move inside to block. Coach John Fox posited that the Bears missed Sherrick -McManis, who left with a hamstring injury in the first quarter.

“We had a couple guys in there that hadn’t done it before,” Fox said. “No offense, but they -executed better than we did on those plays.”

The game was strange from the get-go. Running back Tarik -Cohen threw a touchdown pass. The Bears had two interceptions — one by Adrian Amos for a 90-yard touchdown return — after entering the game with none. Mitch Trubisky was limited, going 8-for-16 for 113 yards with a touchdown, but he found -Kendall Wright for an 18-yard -completion to set up the winning field goal.

But nothing was more odd than the special-teams mistakes that forced overtime. The Bears -composed themselves before the final period.

“I would have never been a part of it ending that way,” tight end Zach Miller said. “That would have been brutal. But we were able to keep on scratching and clawing. Up 11 with four minutes left, let’s close this thing and get up out of here without going to OT and giving people heart attacks.”

Bellamy was asked how demoralizing a loss would have been and smiled.

“We ain’t get no ‘L,’ ” he said. “We got a ‘W.’ ”

Follow me on Twitter@patrickfinley.



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