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Cover 3: Takeaways from 19-14 loss to Bears

The Giants.com crew reacts to Sunday’s 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears:

John Schmeelk: When a team like the Giants has a young defense and is starting a rookie quarterback against a very good defense, it needs positive contributions from its special teams. Instead, that phase of the game contributed to this loss.

There were some good plays. Riley Dixon pinned the Bears inside their own 10 three times on punts and had a 51.4-yard net average. Jabrill Peppers had a 40-yard punt return to set the Giants up to start a drive deep in Bears territory. The Giants did a good job of defending Chicago’s outstanding returners, Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson.

The mistakes, however, outweighed the positives. Aldrick Rosas missed two field goals in a game the Giants lost by five points. His first miss came after a poor snap by Zak DeOssie that rolled back to the holder. Riley Dixon did an excellent job to get it down but the timing was off and Rosas pushed the 42- yard attempt wide right.

The mechanics of the snap and hold were solid on Rosas’ next attempt, but he hooked it left from 43 yards away. His next kick came on the opening kickoff to start the second half, which he kicked out of bounds. The Bears started at their own 40-yard line and drove for a touchdown.

The Giants need every advantage they can muster, and they struggle to overcome any unforced errors. Bad mechanics on a field goal and missed kicks are unforced errors. So are kickoffs that go out of bounds. Rosas has now missed either a field goal or extra point in five straight games, and those points left on the board can often be the difference between wins and losses.

Dan Salomone: A halftime lead, a positive turnover differential and allowing under 20 points are typically building blocks for a victory. But special teams miscues, drops and the inability to convert third downs tore those blocks down. The result was a seventh consecutive loss. At the end of the day, though, the Giants were in position to win at Soldier Field. They had the ball with 3:37 left in a one-possession game, and that’s all you can ask for in the NFL, where games come down to the wire more often than not.

“We have so much talent, but things just, I don’t know why, for some reason, things just don’t go our way in games,” Saquon Barkley said. “But hey, those are growing pains. That’s why I keep telling the guys, just live and learn from it. When we do turn this thing around, these are going to be the moments that we appreciate because when we do turn this thing around, which I do believe is going to be very soon, we’re going to laugh at moments like these.”

Lance Medow: For just the second time this season (the Redskins scored three points in Week 4), the Giants held an opponent to under 20 points. If you hold an opponent to under 20 points, you typically have put yourself in position to win the game. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the Giants, which goes back to complementary football. Very few times this season have the offense and defense been in synch and complemented one another. Such was the case in Sunday’s loss to the Bears.

While the defense surrendered a few explosive plays, it limited the Bears to just three points in the first half and two touchdowns in the entire game, which allowed the Giants to remain within striking distance. The biggest issue was the offense’s inability to capitalize on great field position. The Giants started four drives at midfield or in Chicago territory (Bears 42, 29, 48) yet had just seven points to show for it. The defense picked off Mitchell Trubisky twice, including one that gave them the ball at midfield, but the Giants scored no points off the two takeaways. The other drives ended with two missed field goals and a turnover on downs. Attractive field position is great, as are takeaways, but it’s all about what you do with those opportunities. The Giants have collected 14 takeaways on the season, but have converted those into just 27 points. That’s a very telling stat this year.

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