By Aaron Weiss
The New York Giants escaped a trap game against the Chicago Bears, clawing their way to a 22-16 victory. Let’s break down the game and look towards Week 12!
Ben McAdoo – This was Coach McAdoo’s best game to date, making several key decisions to get the Giants the win. Larry Donnell was again a healthy scratch, moving him out of the rotation in favor of Will Tye and Jerrell Adams. Also, Leon Hall was a healthy scratch, allowing a fully healthy secondary of DRC, Eli Apple, and Janoris Jenkins to hold down the CB positions. Furthermore, out of the gate, McAdoo was incredibly aggressive, going for two fourth down conversions and nailing both. It looked like something I would do in Madden. His play calling was impeccable, his sense of when to kick a field goal or punt or go for it, and his adjustments in the 2nd half turned around the game on defense. He was fantastic, and flashed his amazing potential as a head coach.
Eli Manning – Eli both avoided being sacked, and he didn’t throw a pick. He notched a respectable 227 yards and two touchdowns while completing 58% of his passes. He did a quality job of picking apart a defense that loaded up on stopping Odell Beckham, dishing to 8 different receivers. He was consistent and played safely and securely. He should flourish next week against the Browns.
Rashad Jennings – Last week we praised the run game for breaking 100 yards, but this week they did the same, and were incredibly more impactful, all due to Rashad Jennings. Jennings rushed 21 times for 85 yards, averaging 4 yards a rush. He also notched a touchdown, plus 5 catches on 6 targets for another 44 yards. The Giants ran an incredible amount of plays from the shotgun, giving Eli the option to run draw plays or pass, and it was Rashad’s ability early to both establish the run and his ability to be a check down option that opened up the defense for Eli and the passing offense. After back to back quality showings perhaps the run game is coming into its’ own.
The 2nd Half – The Giants shutout the Bears in the 2nd half, turning the momentum of the game with back to back touchdowns to start the half. Granted, as per usual, the Giants had difficulty closing out the game. 5 of the Bears 7 drives in the 2nd half were three and outs, with one missed FG and one interception to seal the game. All four of the Giants’ sacks came in the 2nd half. The defense was night and day between the two halves, and it was the beautiful shutdown D in the 2nd that won the Giants the game.
The 1st Half – While the Giants did score 9 points in the first half, they got beat in all three facets of the game. Zach Miller dominated the Giants up until he hurt himself. Jay Cutler was impressive. Olivier Vernon had a bad roughing the passer penalty, and the Giants had 12 men on the field on the goal line for the Bears’ second touchdown. The defense had immense difficulty stopping the Bears’ offense, and it wasn’t until the 2nd half that the Giants really turned it around.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Bad is a strong term to apply here, especially considering how he was double covered all day, which in turn led to Eli getting open looks elsewhere, but 5 for 46 on 7 targets was out of the norm. More importantly he made two key mental errors, losing the opportunity to gain a 1st down on a 3rd & 4 early in the 4th quarter by attempting to make a bigger play, and coughing up the ball on the next drive later in the quarter. Fortunately for him, the Bears failed to capitalize on his lack of situational awareness, and the fumble he coughed up flew harmlessly out of bounds. Nonetheless, look for him to rebound against the Browns.
Robbie Gould – The NFL suffered more missed XPs this week than they did the entirety of last year, and Gould contributed to this, missing two of his three XPs. It was a particularly windy day, and there was clearly a kicking bug this week around the league, including on the other side of the ball, with Connor Barth missing one FG and one XP. But the two missed XPs meant that had Chicago scored a touchdown on their final drive they would’ve had the opportunity to hit the XP for the victory, instead of being forced to go for two just to tie. It was ugly, and Gould should be put on notice going forward.
Injuries – This week the injury report definitely falls under the ugly category. Rookie Roger Lewis was lost early in the game with a concussion. Marshall Newhouse, the right tackle who was stepping in at left guard with both Justin Pugh and Brett Jones out, was temporarily replaced by Adam Gettis after Newhouse sprained his knee. Finally, for the Giants, WR/KR Dwayne Harris hurt his wrist, but he too returned to the game. The returns of Harris and Newhouse are comforting and implicate their statuses for next week; Lewis is a different story, and we’ll have to see if he clears concussion protocol.
However, the ugly part is all on the Bears side. The Bears lost star TE Zach Miller, who was giving the Giants fits early on, to a leg injury, and OL ex-Pro Bowler Josh Sitton to a similar injury. Most disturbingly, rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd, who has put together a DROY résumé, hurt his neck, and had to be carted away from the field on a stretcher. He is apparently stable, able to move his extremities, and Coach Fox says his status is encouraging, but still, it was an ugly highlight to an ugly game as it pertains to injuries. We wish Floyd and everyone else a speedy recovery.
NFC East Standings – Dallas squeezed by the Ravens, Philly lost to Seattle, and Washington plays tonight. Dallas is first in the division and the league with their 9th straight win (9-1). The Giants remain in 2nd place, improving to 7-3. The Giants are a game and a game and a half ahead of the next best wildcard contender in the NFC, so things are looking up.
Next Week – The Giants travel to Cleveland to play the Browns, who have yet to win a game. The Browns lost to the Steelers 24-9 this week. Their starting QB Cody Kessler left the game with a concussion, and it remains to be seen if he’ll be healthy for Week 12. Obviously any winless team is a major trap game, but after a great job against the Bears, and considering the lack of weapons for the Browns on offense and defense, I can’t see the Giants screwing this up. That being said, the Giants have yet to win a game by more than seven points, so I wouldn’t predict a blowout.
Prediction – Giants wins 21-10