DEE-FENSE! DEE-FENSE! On a night in which former players, coaches, and executives were enshrined in the Giants' new Ring of Honor, an outstanding performance by the Giants defense against a formidable Bears offense had to put big smiles on the faces of former defensive stalwarts-Andy Robustelli, Sam Huff, Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, George Martin, Michael Strahan, and Jessie Armstead. Like a boxer, this Giants' defense knocked out the Bears.
Here is the tale of the tape:
- TEN sacks
- TWO quarterbacks knocked out. (Cutler and Collins)
- Bears ZERO for 13 on third down conversions.
- Average gain per offensive play: 2.1 yards
- Net yards passing- 51 yards
- Net yards rushing- 59 yards
- Bears had six first downs
- Three turnovers (Two interceptions and one fumble recovery)
Indeed, the play of the Giants defense won this game. Although the Giants defense annihilated the Bears offense, was this game an aberration? On Saturday, Brett, a blogger from Midway Illustrated, informed us of the Bears biggest weakness-their offensive line: "There is really no good offensive lineman on the Bears. The unit is a mish mash pile of cr*p that struggles to protect Cutler." With protection being a problem, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz's game plan has to be questioned. Having Cutler take seven drops against this Giants defensive line is a death wish. After taking a beating for an entire quarter, Martz did have Cutler take shorter drop backs but to no avail. Irresponsible, Martz's poor judgment put the Bears in a precarious situation in which they would never recover. Shame on Martz.
For two straight weeks, Fewell's defensive unit has played very well. Against the Bears, they were phenomenal. Can they continue to play consistenly at this high level? Going forward, I have sanguine expectations about this defense. The same cannot be said about the offense and special teams.
With the game in the fourth quarter and still undecided (Giants 10 and Bears 3), Gilbride's call for a long pass to Nicks was fantastic. With the Bears' safeties cheating in anticipation for a run, for a change, Gilbride used some trickery. In single coverage, Hakeem Nicks was able to get separation. Thankfully, Eli recognized the coverage and was able to throw a decent pass. This play set up the clinching touchdown.
In practice this week, head coach Tom Coughlin must teach running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs "High and Tight". Both guys fumbled. Jacobs' fumble gave the Bears a short field and allowed them to get three cheap points. And Bradshaw had a sure touchdown until he had a toned down Leon Lett moment. Bears defensive back Zack Bowman pilfered the ball from Bradshaw. As a result, Bowman negated a would-be touchdown.
In the Red Zone, we continue to have a repeat of Big Blue Blues. When your defense gives you a short field, you take adavantage of it. Inexplicably, the Giants continue to be woeful. Blame this on Gilbride. At a minimum, the Giants should have been up at least by a score of 13-0 at the half. Instead, the Giants were clinging to a tenuous 3-0 score.
First Red Zone possession:
On the Bears 12 yard line, on first down, under pressure, Manning threw an incomplete pass. On second down, a run play was called. Bradshaw gained ZERO yards. On third down, Manning completed an eight yard pass to WR Steve Smith. With the pass short of a first down, the Giants had to settle for a Tynes field goal. What is so disconcerting is: Gilbride did not take any shots into the endzone.
Second Red Zone possession:
After Terrell Thomas intercepted a Jay Cutler pass, the Giants had excellent field position. They started this drive on the Chicago 26 yard line. On first down, Bradshaw gained 3 yards on a run off right end. On second down, Gilbride is up to his old tricks. The Giants' formation is a shotgun 5 WR set with an empty backfield. Because of Gilbride's telegraphing, the Bears know it is going to be a pass play. Manning threw incomplete intended for Boss. Because of an offsides penalty on Bears' DE Julius Peppers, the Giants had 3rd down and 2 on the Bears 20 yard line. Manning's pass to Boss appeared to be high. However, looking at the replay, Boss could have caught this ball. Is he suffering from post concussion syndrome? To my naked eye, Boss did not look sharp. Because the Giants failed to convert on third down, they had to settle for a field goal attempt. This time, Tynes missed. Off the turnover, the Giants do not get any points. A major downtick.
Another wasted opportunity came in the second quarter. When Osi Umenyiora sacked and stripped the ball from Cutler, Giants' defensive back, Deon Grant pounced on the ball at the Chicago 29 yard line. Another turnover created by the Giants defense. Again, the defense gave their offense a short field. Although the Giants did not get into the Red Zone area, they were on the cusp of the Red Zone. Like the last possession, it was a squandered opportunity. Right guard Chris Snee's false start penalty, pushed the Giants back to the Bears 34 yard line. On third and 15, Eli Manning threw an incomplete pass. On the previous possession, Tynes missed a shorter field goal. (about 38 yard attempt) Because of Tynes' inconsistency and this attempt would have been from 51 yards, Coughlin decided to punt. So good field position and NO points.
The Giants special teams are atrocious. To begin the game, the Bears started on their own 40 yard line. Apparently, special teams coach Tom Quinn cannot solve the ongoing kick coverage dilemma. KR/PR Darius Reynaud mishandled a punt which could have led to a disaster. And he continues to let the ball hit the ground. This is a big no-no. Punter Matt Dodge lets the ball slip out of his hands. Averting disaster, Dodge was able to recover and punt the ball. Too many miscues occur each week. And Coughlin is going to have to make changes. Based on what we know about Coughlin, he is loyal to his coaches. Therefore, Quinn is going to stay. However, I would not be surprised if Coughlin brings in a kicker and punter this week.
To sum up, the Giants get a much needed win and even their record at 2-2. Currently, they are in a three way tie for first place in the NFC East. The defense is getting better. On the contrary, the offense and special teams continue to struggle. Let us hope the Giants can play a complete game next week against the Texans.