In 2011, the final year of Barber’s career, the Bears were playing the Denver Broncos and they had a slim lead at the two minute warning. Denver was out of timeouts, and all the Bears had to do was run out the clock. Barber took the hand-off on 2nd and 10, he ran around the left side, then scampered out of bounds, stopping the clock. It was an immediate WTF moment.
Him stopping the clock gave Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow all the extra time he needed to lead his offense to the game tying field goal. Denver went on to win in overtime.
In the Bears game on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, Howard was tasked with running out the clock late in the fourth quarter of a tied game. The Ravens were out of timeouts and the Bears could have ran the clock out and gone into overtime. Howard took the hand-off on a third and twenty play, and for some reason he ran out of bounds with :23 seconds left. The Bears punted, their coverage team held this time, and Joe Flacco and the Raven’s O couldn't make the Bears pay.
“I almost cost us the game by leaving time on the clock,” Howard said via the Chicago Sun Times. “In overtime, I had to make up for it.”
The Bears and Ravens exchanged punts on their first two possessions of overtime, but on the first play of the Bears second series, Howard did this.
He ran decisively. He ran hard. And it seemed he was running a little angry.
“He ran like a warrior today,” Trubisky said. “His overtime run flipped the field for us.
“It didn’t surprise me because we were playing in overtime and everyone is tired, but he keeps going and going.”
It was an outside zone play to the left, and while the blocking wasn’t the best, they gave Howard just enough of a crease to squirt through the line. He should have been stopped for a minimal gain, but Howard would not be denied.
At the point of attack, tight end Zach Miller comes in motion right to left, and he’s blown back on his block attempt. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and tight end Dion Sims execute a double team on #93 (Chris Wormley). Sims’ block is more token than anything, but he felt Leno was in position to take Wormley. Leno ends up getting blown back a few yards too, but he stayed in front of his man, giving Howard a cut back lane.
But back to Sims. Look at him work up to next level and seal off #22 (Jimmy Smith). His block was critical to this play.
Before I get to the rest of the offensive line, I want you guys to look at #23 for the Ravens to the right of the GIF below.. That’s safety Tony Jefferson and he’s absolutely obliterated on a crack back block by Tre McBride III.
Left guard Josh Sitton steps left and stays locked on #69 (Willie Henry). Center Cody Whitehair steps left and works up to the second level and blocks #57 (C.J. Mosley). Right guard Kyle Long steps left and cuts off the pursuit of #97 (Michael Pierce). Right tackle Bobby Massie steps left and cuts off #48 (Patrick Onwuasor). Massie dances with the Raven linebacker just long enough to stop his pursuit, and he can’t get to the play fast enough.
Howard powers his way through a few Ravens, then it was down the sideline for a 53 yard gain. Three plays later Trubisky threw this pass to Kendall Wright and they were in field goal range.
Staying with the Howard theme, check out his block on that play. It wasn’t textbook, but he gets just enough of #41 (Anthony Levine Sr.), and he stays with him so his quarterback can step up and make the play.