Ray Rice entered this afternoon’s game with just 289 rushing yards through eight games, having run for 45 yards or fewer in seven of those contests.
The Ravens’ star tailback surpassed that total on his first carry in Chicago. Rice found a hole on the left side of the line and sprinted 47 yards for his longest run of the year. His previous long was 14 yards.
Two snaps later, the Bears were flagged for pass interference in the end zone to put Baltimore on the 1. And on third down, Rice ran around the right edge for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead just under five minutes into the game.
It marked the first time this season that the Ravens scored a touchdown on their first drive. They have scored on their opening possession just twice in 10 games.
Rice had four carries for 48 yards and a touchdown on that first series and already is up to his second-most rushing yards in a game this season. Coach John Harbaugh had said the hope was the Ravens could expose the Bears’ awful run defense to get their own ground game on track. Chicago is allowing nearly 130 yards rushing yards per game.
Update: One week after jumping out to a 17-0 lead over the Bengals, the Ravens are off and running early once again.
Justin Tucker’s 52-yard field goal with 4:56 to go in the first quarter has increased Baltimore’s lead to 10-0 in Chicago.
The Ravens have looked superb on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Bears 88-19 so far. Baltimore drove 38 yards in eight plays to set up Tucker’s kick, which made him 7-for-7 on road attempts of at least 50 yards in his career. He is 13-for-13 on road field goals this season.
Rice is also up to 56 yards on five carries.
On top of that, the dangerous storm system in Chicago has led the NFL to clear the seating bowl and temporarily suspend the contest. Tornadoes are possible and the winds are swirling.
The Ravens are no strangers to delays, as they had the start of the season opener pushed back because of lightning and last season’s Super Bowl suspended because of a power outage.
Update II: The storms have passed and the game has resumed after a delay of about 1 hour, 53 minutes. The contest picks up with 4:51 to go in the first quarter.
Update III: The Ravens defense bent for the first time today, letting the Bears drive from their own 10 to a first and goal.
But Baltimore’s stand from there was nothing short of amazing. The Ravens kept Chicago out of the end zone despite six straight snaps from the 6 and in. Jimmy Smith was flagged for an iffy holding call on the first third down to give the Bears a new set of downs. And then Smith broke up a pass to the end zone on the second third down to force Chicago to settle for a 20-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.
That cut the Ravens’ lead to 10-3, but the Bears knotted things up at 10-10 right away. Defensive end David Bass intercepted Joe Flacco on Baltimore’s very next offensive snap and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
The Bears haven’t stopped teams from moving the ball this year, but they’ve forced a lot of turnovers. Chicago has six defensive touchdowns this season off of interceptions and fumbles. The Bears scored 10 points in 10 seconds and it’s a whole new ballgame.