CHICAGO – Josh McCown has seen the other side, living the life of a former NFL player. And maybe it takes that to appreciate the opportunity he currently has, filling in for an injured Jay Cutler as Bears quarterback.
So he took all of his past and put it into some inspiration for his offensive teammates as they awaited their opportunity to beat the Ravens on their first overtime drive Sunday.
On the sideline, he told them this was their chance to do something special. Then, they made it happen as McCown drove the Bears 60 yards to set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 38-yard field goal on the back of a 43-yard pass over the middle to tight end Martellus Bennett.
“You have opportunities in life and rare opportunities to do something special ... We had that today,” said McCown, who has also spent time as a Christian motivational speaker. “Not to do something special individually, but to do something special together. ... It was a special drive.”
At 34, McCown has seen a lot of things. Even things coach Marc Trestman hasn’t. Like a long delay during a football game. The closest Trestman had seen was a pregame delay while coaching in the Canadian Football League.
On Oct. 13, 2001, McCown was in Thibodaux, La., dealing with a 2½-hour midgame lightning delay. After the restart, McCown led his Sam Houston State team on a game-winning touchdown drive in a 35-32 win.
So on Sunday, unlike most of his teammates, McCown could say he had been there before when the weather delay arrived.
McCown said he sat in front of his locker with his eyes closed, visualizing the rest of the game. Then he and several of the Bears’ offensive skill position players did a miniwalkthrough as Trestman looked on.
They stayed focused, made the most of their time and, ultimately, won Sunday’s game by avoiding turnovers and driving the ball when they needed to. McCown said that, before the game, he looked to each team’s sideline at Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Cutler and thought to himself, “Can I borrow someone’s arm?”
But it turns out he had plenty of arm to win on a day when wind controlled much of what both teams accomplished, whipping so hard sideline to sideline in the third quarter that Trestman said his team couldn’t throw the ball.
When he did get the chances, he made plays, finishing 19 of 31 for 216 yards and a touchdown but most importantly a win.