The Giants lost to the Bears, 19-13, on Sunday in Chicago. Here’s what I saw while reviewing the coaches tape and taking a look at the numbers:
* The Giants got behind the sticks on their first drive when Saquon Barkley was tackled for a five-yard loss on first down by a blitzing Eddie Jackson. On 3rd and 10, Daniel Jones had to pull the ball down when Leonard Floyd got his hand in Jones’ passing lane. If he could have gotten the ball out, Golden Tate was open near the sideline. Instead, Jones scrambled and his throw to tight end Kaden Smith was high and nearly intercepted.
* The Giants converted a 3rd and 3 on their next series, their only third down conversion in the entire game. The Bears blitzed their nickel corner and Jones threw into blitz and found Cody Latimer for the first down. Three plays later, Saquon Barkley dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Jones on 3rd and 3. Barkley beat Roquan Smith to the outside and a completion would have been a big play.
* Aside from the first play of the game, the Bears defended the Giants play action game well. They covered the crossing patterns down the field or got pressure on Jones as he rolled out. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Jones completed only three passes for 17 yards on six play action attempts.
* The Giants missed a chance at a big play to open their next drive. Sterling Shepard beat Kyle Fuller, but they got tangled up during the route and Jones’ pass ended up being out of reach. They couldn’t extend the drive when Jones threw low and slightly behind Tate in the middle of the field on a 3rd and 7. Jones had to shift in the pocket as he threw with Leonard Floyd and Khalil Mack bearing down on him.
* The Giants started their next possession at the Bears 42-yard line after a 12-yard Golden Tate punt return. Sterling Shepard gained 22 yards on an end-around thanks to a great play design. Daniel Jones ran a read option and faked the handoff to Saquon Barkley before running right. Jones handed it off to Shepard who made his way to the left side of the formation. Mike Remmers and Jon Halapio made good blocks downfield to free Shepard. The Giants scored a touchdown to finish the drive on a Run-Pass Option. Jones faked a handoff to Barkley, who sold the run beautifully, and rolled left before finding Kaden Smith for a two-yard touchdown toss.
* The Giants were gifted great field position on their next two drives but failed to turn it into points. After a Peppers’ 40-yard punt return, the Giants started at the Bears 29-yard line. They failed to get a first down and Aldrick Rosas missed a 42-yard field goal attempt after Zak DeOssie’s snap rolled back to holder Riley Dixon, who managed to get it down for an attempt.
* The Giants started their next possession on the Bears 48-yard line after Pat O’Donnell shanked a punt out of bounds for only 13 yards. On the first play of the drive, Slayton showed his ability to run after the catch, gaining 18 yards after breaking an Eddie Jackson tackle attempt. The Giants got into a 3rd and 1, and faked the fullback dive to Eli Penny before pitching outside to Barkley. Safety Eddie Jackson and edge rusher Leonard Floyd maintained outside leverage and tackled Barkley for a loss of 4. Rosas came on to attempt another field goal and missed from 43 yards out.
* Barkley, another week removed from his ankle sprain and coming off the bye week, displayed his change of direction ability. He made defenders miss in space and turned some potential runs for losses into gains. The offensive line blocked better than it did the past couple of weeks, but Barkley still only finished with 59 yards on 17 carries. According to PFF, 47 of Barkley’s 59 yards came after contact. He had two receptions for one yard thanks to the Bears closing quickly after his receptions.
* The Giants offense stalled in the third quarter. On their first possession of the half, the Giants threw to Golden Tate, who ended up short of the sticks on 3rd and 7. On the first play of their next possession, Khalil Mack beat Nate Solder on a speed rush and got to Jones before he could throw to Barkley, who was open over the middle. Mack knocked the ball away from Jones as he cocked his arm back to throw, and Nick Williams fell on the ball.
* It was the Bears’ only sack in the game, but they were credited with seven other quarterback hits. Mack hit Jones one other time, while Leonard Floyd had four quarterback hits. According to PFF, Jones was pressured on 14 of his 39 dropbacks, despite the Bears blitzing just 10 times. Jones might have had his best game of the year moving in the pocket to avoid potential sacks, especially in the second half.
* The Giants went three and out on their next drive when Jones’ pass intended for Tate over the middle was knocked away by Nick Kwiatkoski, who read Tate’s route and dropped underneath to knock the ball away.
* The Giants failed to get a first down on their next drive after losing five yards on a pitch play to Barkley on 1st and 10. Shepard saved a potential pick-six when cornerback Kyle Fuller jumped a Jones pass, and Shepard took him to the ground before he could come up with the catch. Jones made a very athletic play on third down to avoid a strip sack and complete a pass to put the team into 4th and 4. Jones hit Shepard on a shallow cross against man coverage short of the sticks. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix managed to avoid the rub on the play and prevented any run after the catch.
* The Giants scored a touchdown on their next possession on an 11-play, 97-yard drive. They moved the ball methodically before finding themselves in a 4th and 18. Roy Robertson-Harris forced Jones to step up in the pocket. Right before Mack hit him, Jones threw deep to Golden Tate. After the game, Jones told me he thought Tate was one on one and he wanted to give him a chance to make a play. Tate beat nickel corner Buster Skrine and deep safety Eddie Jackson was shallow. Tate leapt to pull down the touchdown.
* The Giants got one more possession, down 19-14, but had to start at their own six-yard line after Janoris Jenkins let a punt bounce and go inside the 10-yard line. He was the returner on the play because the Bears did a rapid substitution change after initially sending their offense on the field on fourth down. The Giants opted not to match the Bears substitution pattern. As he did on the previous drive, Jones had to navigate around pressure. He managed to convert a 4th and 4 on a completion to Slayton, who beat Prince Amukamara inside to gain 17 yards on a catch and run. Jones gained six yards on a pass to Kaden Smith on the following first down play, but he threw three straight incompletions to close out the game. A combination of the Bears pass rush and good coverage down the field proved too much to overcome.
* According to PFF, Jones only attempted two passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, completing one. On passes that traveled between 10 and 20 yards in the air, he was 2 of 7 for 32 yards. The Bears mixed up their coverages and played a lot of zone. There wasn’t much available in the deep areas of the field. On other plays, when someone had a chance to open up deep, the Bears pass rush prevented Jones from making those throws.
* After the Giants defense forced a three and out to start the game, the Bears drove 77 yards on 12 plays, but the Giants stopped them in the red zone. On the drive, tight end Ben Braunecker dropped a pass down the seam near the goal line. Lorenzo Carter slipped when he turned to trail Braunecker, who had lined up as a fullback. Alec Ogletree saved a touchdown when he dropped into a Tampa-2 zone in the middle of the field and made a leaping interception in front of Anthony Miller in the back of the end zone.
* The Bears gained only one first down on their next three drives. Markus Golden had a sack on a 3rd and 10 when he beat left tackle Charles Leno with an inside move. Dexter Lawrence was very disruptive with his inside pass rush on those drives.
* The Bears would score on their next four possessions to take a lead they would not relinquish. After getting the ball at their own 33-yard line with 1:55 to play in the first half, the Bears rattled off consecutive plays of 16, 13 and 14 yards. Anthony Miller caught four balls for 42 yards on the drive. The Giants managed to hold the Bears to a field goal. Leonard Williams got some inside pass rush on the drive.
* The Bears went 60 yards on just five plays to score a touchdown on their next possession. Allen Robinson was the main target, with a 23-yard catch and a 32-yard touchdown reception.
* The big play on the Bears next drive came on a 49-yard catch and run on a crossing route to Robinson, who got a step on Corey Ballentine. On the next two plays, Miller picked up 22 and 13 yards on out-routes. Janoris Jenkins just missed an interception in the end zone on a 2nd and goal pass from the six. On 3rd down, Trubisky rolled left and threw an incomplete pass. Eddy Pineiro hit the 24-yard field goal.
* The Bears’ next drive started at the Giants three-yard line after Daniel Jones’ fumble. After stopping David Montgomery short on consecutive runs, Trubisky scored on a designed quarterback outside run to give the Bears a 19-13 lead after a missed extra point.
* Rookie safety Julian Love ended the next drive when he grabbed an interception in the middle of the field on a Trubisky throw. Trubisky was trying to hit Javon Wims, who was one on one with Sam Beal, on a deep post. Love was the single high safety and got underneath the underthrown ball for the pick. Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence got good push on the play.
* Love played a season high 42 defensive snaps. He was the third safety early in the game, and then had to play for Jabrill Peppers, who left with a hip injury. Love appeared to be solid in his assignments and had a good showing in his most extensive action as a professional.
* DeAndre Baker split time with Sam Beal at corner opposite Janoris Jenkins. Baker played 63% of the snaps, while Beal played 37%. Baker only had a couple of passes thrown in his direction and didn’t give up a catch.
* The Bears have struggled to run the ball all season and the Giants front kept that trend going. Linemen Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, with help from linebacker David Mayo on the second level, controlled the line of scrimmage and left little room for David Montgomery to run the football.
* The Giants had two sacks but only three other quarterback hits. According to PFF, the Giants only got pressure on Trubisky on 13 of his 46 dropbacks.
* I will write about special teams separately in this week’s Cover Three. The Giants missed two field goals from within 45 yards and lost by five points. They failed to catch a punt that pinned them back on their potential game-winning drive. Rosas booted a kickoff out of bounds. It is hard to overcome those types of plays when the team is struggling in other areas.