Late-game problems again plague defense

Late-game problems again plague defense
November 17, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Harbaugh: 'That was a difficult loss'

(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Championship teams play good defense at the right times. The Ravens have been tough on defense at times this year, but they continued to have some late-game issues on Sunday.

The Ravens gave up a fourth-quarter touchdown and then let the Bears -- using a back-up quarterback all game-- drive to set up kicker Robbie Gould's 38-yard field goal that gave Chicago a come-from-behind 23-20 victory in overtime at stormy Solider Field.

This was a day that tried everyone's patience. The strange delay of 1 hour, 53 minutes due to the storms followed by overtime made it a long afternoon all the way around. 

But the Ravens had chances to win this game. However, once again, the defense simply couldn't hold on late. They let the Bears drive 83 yards on a possession that began late in the third quarter and finished just over four minutes into the fourth. That gave Chicago a 20-17 lead. 

Matt Forte scored the touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Josh McCown -- with at least three Ravens missing tackles along the way.

Overtime saw the Ravens unable to stop the Bears again. McCown hit tight end Martellus Bennett for 43 yards. The Bears didn't throw at cornerback Lardarius Webb too often in this game, but McCown went for it deep on the right side, and Bennett outjumped the smaller Webb for the key play in the drive. 

[RELATED: Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome leaves game in ambulance]

"I thought he had good coverage," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in the post-game press conference about Webb. "[The] tight end made a nice play."

The Ravens have had issues with late-game defense in the last several weeks. It's hurt them more and more, something that hasn't happened in recent seasons. 

They're just having problems at the wrong time. On a fourth-quarter drive where the Bears didn't score, Elvis Dumervil was called for roughing the quarterback on an incomplete pass on third-and-nine from the Chicago 31. That gave the Bears a new set of downs and let them eat up some more clock. 

Harbaugh said after the game that his team simply now has to get up and keep battling. That's all you can do in the NFL.

"It’s how this league is," Harbaugh said. "It’s life. it’s just the way it goes. Our guys fought. They came back out and battled. In the end, we came up a little bit short.

 

 

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