Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Who played well, who didn’t for the Giants on Sunday?
Kudos to …
Dion Lewis — His stats don’t look impressive (10 carries, 20 yards, 4 catches, 36 yards). Lewis, though, did a good job after Barkley went down. He scored a 1-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play with a determined run between the tackles. He also had a critical fourth-down catch for a first down with :32 left that kept the Giants’ hopes alive.
Pass rush — When the Giants used it, the pass rush was effective. The Giants ended up with four sacks (Lorenzo Carter, Kyler Fackrell, B.J. Hill, Blake Martinez), but often seemed content to rush virtually no one and play coverage, hoping to keep Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky from using his legs.
That didn’t work as Trubisky was able to extend plays, completing 18 of 28 passes for 190 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Evan Engram — Yes, I’m giving Engram a ‘Kudos.’ He was invisible in the first half, targeted only once and without a reception. He had six second-half receptions for 65 yards, though, as the Giants finally began finding ways to get him the ball.
James Bradberry — The Giants’ No. 1 cornerback had an interception on a pass he never saw, ripping the ball out of the hands of Allen Robinson to keep the Giants’ hopes alive in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, Bradberry batted away a pass for Robinson that Julian Love intercepted, setting up a Graham Gano field goal.
The second half — There are no moral victories in the NFL. There was, though, a glimmer of hope in the second half. The Giants came up one play short of an inspired come-from-behind victory.
They played good defense over the final two periods. They moved the ball. They played with some fire. Is it something they can build on? We’ll see.
C.J. Board — The backup wide receiver took advantage of his opportunity on Sunday with 3 catches in 3 targets for 32 yards, along with a 34-yard kickoff return.
Wet Willies to …
Injuries — Chris always wants to write “Injuries suck” in the weekly ‘Things we learned” post. I always tell him you just can’t write it every week because, well, you could easily write it every week. After the Barkley injury, though, I will offer my own “injuries suck.’ Because they do.
Amoeba defense — I don’t know what Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham were thinking with their “Amoeba” defense that brought Nate Ebner and Sean Chandler onto the field in several third-down situations. I hope they don’t think it again.
Ebner is a special teams player who had played one (yes, ONE) defensive snap in four years prior to Sunday. Chandler is a backup safety activated off the practice squad to help the Giants’ special teams.
The Bears were 9 of 16 (56n percent) on third-down conversions and made their only fourth-down try.
Judge and Graham know far more football than I do. My $.02, though, is that when the strength of your defense is its defensive line, you can’t take ALL of the defensive linemen off the field and put in players who shouldn’t be part of your defense.
That’s overthinking it, or outsmarting yourself.
Passes caught by offensive tackles — The Giants probably should have known they weren’t winning the game when Blake Martinez batted away a pass on fourth-and-2 at the Giants’ 36-yard line, only to have it fall into the arms of Chicago offensive tackle Bobbie Massie for a first down with 3:49 to play. Chicago ended up missing a 50-yard field goal, but the play allowed the Bears to run another 1:47 off the clock before the Giants got the ball back with 2:02 to play.
The Giants’ first-half performance — The Giants have a new coach and are a team that quite obviously plays hard. Still, they were a mess throughout most of the first half. It was a performance that reminded of games last season against the Lions, Jets and Cardinals in which the Giants played themselves into big early deficits.
I do not understand it.
Kwillies to …
Daniel Jones — For the second game in a row, this is where I am settling on putting Jones. So much bad early in the game that he nearly wiped out with a really good second half. Still, the Giants couldn’t overcome the two Jones’ turnovers (a fumble and an interception) in the Giants’ first three possessions.
Like a lot of other things with the Giants, it’s frustrating to watch.