CHICAGO | For much of Sunday morning, between the threat of potential cloudbursts and damaging winds, the brave souls venturing into Soldier Field thought they had this one figured out.
The showdown between their Bears and the Ravens would be decided by the run game.
And that would favor the Bears.
After all, Matt Forte had outrushed the entire Ravens roster coming in, 691-658. They averaged only 2.8 yards a carry and were ranked 30th in rush offense.
Add predicted wind gusts of 35 miles per hour and higher, and Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco would be limited to handing off.
But that was just part of the story as Martellus Bennett's 43-yard reception set up Robbie Gould's game-winning field goal in overtime, 23-20.
"It's just like I've saying all along. I'm Jay Cutler's backup," said Josh McCown, who completed 19 of 31 passes for 216 yards, a touchdown to Forte, no interceptions and a QB rating of 92.9.
"Jay Cutler is our starting quarterback, he's down and I'm just keeping the seat warm for him, helping us to win and make a run."
Gould's game-winner was the 11th of his career and sixth in overtime.
"The footing was definitely tough," he understated. "You had to go out there and manage it. I tried to play it off the right upright and the goal post must've moved 3 inches (in the wind).
"That's why they give you the whole goal post, I guess."
Baltimore (4-6) could've won it in regulation, owning the ball at Chicago's 2 in the closing seconds, but had to settle for Justin Tucker's 21-yard field goal.
After Rice's short scoring run and Tucker's 52-yard field goal gave Baltimore a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter, the approaching storm forced an evacuation of Soldier Field at 12:32 p.m.
The front row of the press box was cleared because of possible damage to the windows. Fans who could not find space in the underground parking areas were crammed together on the concourse, with no access to washrooms or concessions.
At 1:35 p.m., NFL officials announced the game would be delayed another hour because of a second approaching storm cell.
And at 1:45 p.m., the heavens opened once again.
During the two-hour game delay, TVs throughout the press box had nonstop coverage of tornado damage and devastation in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana.
The game resumed at 2:25 p.m. on a soaked, chewed up playing surface that had just been re-sodded a month ago.
Chicago (6-4) tied it at 10-10 on a Gould field goal and right end David Boss' 24-yard interception return of a Flacco pass thrown right at him.
"I was like: 'Dude. I ain't on your team.' But I'll take those gifts any day," Bass said.
Flacco later made it 17-10 on his 5-yard toss to Torrey Smith, who ran through the Bears' triple coverage as if it were a cobweb.
Capping one of the longest first halfs in NFL history, the Bears pulled to within 17-13 on Gould's 46-yard field goal, set up by Jon Bostic's return of another Flacco pick.
The second half was played in a brutal mixture of freezing temperatures, rain and 50 mph wind gusts.