Rice and running game break out in Ravens’ loss to Bears

Let’s start with the much-needed and impatiently awaited positive to take from Sunday’s game: The Ravens were able to run the ball.

Ray Rice reached triple digits for the first time this year, running 25 times for for 131 yards and a touchdown, to lead a season-best 174-yard rushing effort for the Ravens.

But Baltimore still lost to the Bears, 23-20 in overtime.

Yes, the Chicago run defense is terrible. The Bears entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL with 129.4 rushing yards allowed per game. But the Ravens have been equally awful at running the ball, gaining just 73.1 yards per game on the ground.

Baltimore had run for more than 100 yards as a team just once in its first nine games. In Game 10, the Ravens were able to take advantage of an opponent’s weakness and get on track a bit. We’ll see if that carries over to next week and beyond.

But Rice started things off with a 47-yard run and then showed little flashes of his old self the rest of the way. So that was encouraging.

What wasn’t encouraging was the Ravens’ inability to hold a lead yet again. After spending much of the season falling behind and needing to come back, Baltimore started fast for the second straight week.

This time, the Ravens jumped out to a 10-0 lead before a weather delay of nearly two hours seemed to derail Joe Flacco and the offense.

The Bears outscored Baltimore 23-10 after the game was suspended with 4:51 to go in the first quarter. Flacco was intercepted two times after the break and Chicago capitalized on both, racking up 10 points off the turnovers with one of the scores being a pick-six.

Flacco now has a career-worst 13 interceptions this season and is on pace for 21 - eight more than he had in any of his first five campaigns. The Ravens quarterback finished with 162 passing yards, one touchdown and two picks.

Josh McCown outdueled Flacco, passing for 216 yards and a touchdown with Alshon Jeffery being his favorite target. Jeffery made seven catches for 83 yards.

The Ravens finished with two sacks, but none from Terrell Suggs or Elvis Dumervil. Corey Graham and DeAngelo Tyson each had one. Graham also led the Ravens with eight tackles.

Next up for Baltimore is the start of a three-game homestand, with the New York Jets coming to M&T Bank Stadium for a massive matchup Sunday.

At 5-5, the Jets are one of the Ravens’ top competitors for the lone attainable AFC wild card. And it’s looking more and more like Baltimore will need to go that route to make its sixth consecutive postseason now that the team is 2 1/2 games out of first place in the AFC North with six games to go.

The Bengals beat the Browns Sunday and the Steelers also won to forge a three-way tie for second place in the division at 4-6.

So the road to the playoffs will be a tough one after yet another defeat.