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Cover 4: 'Smart, tough, dependable' Giants find way to win


The crew reacts to the 20-12 victory over the Bears:

John Schmeelk: Giants fans should be giving a tip of the cap to the Giants' coaching staff for the win against the Bears on Sunday afternoon. It is very difficult to win games in the NFL when a team completes only nine passes for 82 yards (with only three for 25 yards going to receivers), but the Giants managed it on Sunday. The Giants also gained 40 yards on a defensive pass interference penalty.

Saquon Barkley played well, rushing for 146 yards on 31 carries, including his turn as a wildcat quarterback. The offensive line, tight ends, and receivers blocked well to give him room to churn out 162 total yards of offense.

The Giants ran for an amazing 262 yards, thanks to 98 combined rushing yards from Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. The quarterback's rushing yards, and the majority of the team's passing yards, came off of play-action passes. The Giants only ran seven dropbacks passes without play-action or RPO's that weren't screen passes, which also helps protect the offensive line.

The Giants showed run, often times in heavy personnel, and ran bootleg action to give Jones and Taylor options to run or pass depending on how the defense reacted to the play. It was especially effective in the first half when Jones had runs of 21, 6, 7, and 8 yards. The Giants used three tight ends 14 times in the game.

The players have to execute the plays properly, but it was the design and play-calling that helped put the defense in a bind choosing how many men to commit to stopping Barkley, which created opportunities for easy yards on the backside of plays. Can a scheme like that work against upcoming teams like the Packers and Ravens? We'll see, but it was a perfect game plan against the Bears.

Dan Salomone: As Herman "Hesh" Rabkin liked to say about the music business: A hit is a hit is a hit. Similarly, in the NFL, a win is a win is a win. The Giants, starved for victories in the previous five seasons, now have three in their first four games of the new era under coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.

They haven't been pretty. They haven't been high-flying like Buffalo and Kansas City. They haven't come without additions to the injury report. But they haven't been more welcomed at 1925 Giants Drive, where the words "smart, tough and dependable" can be found on one of the walls. It's no coincidence that "smart" is listed first. Coaches and players alike showed their football acumen on the fly Sunday when not one but two quarterbacks went down, forcing Saquon Barkley to take snaps in the emergency situation.

"When that went on, we just sat down, and I said, 'Where's the grease board?'" Daboll said after the victory. "I know not many people use grease boards. Five people gave me an iPad at the same time. I said, 'I want a grease board,' which is rarely used nowadays. We talked about a few things. But we had things that were already in the game plan. So, it's just a matter of 'Let's go to three-back personnel' that they haven't seen all game and run one of our plays from our – it's not the Wing-T – but the three guys in alignment, and let's use that. If it works, let's come back to it.

"And you're looking across the field, and you know what's coming and Fleus (Bears head coach Matt Eberflus) is telling (his players) to all come up and bring Blitz Zero. But we felt that we had a hat for a hat on most of those plays that we had; and then we ran another one that Saquon had a read on. And the discussion was, do we just put Saquon back there and forget about the quarterback and put him out? But that changes some defensive philosophy and mentality, too. So, just to try to give yourself a little bit of crease."

And that's how you get a win, which can never be taken for granted in the NFL.

View photos from the Giants' Week 4 game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium.

Lance Medow: If there's been one consistent element to the Giants' performances through four games, it's the rushing attack. They've gone over the century mark in each contest but set season-highs across the board against the Bears. It's not so much the 262 total rushing yards but more so the substance behind that number. New York recorded 20 runs of 5+ yards and eight runs of 10+ yards. Saquon Barkley and company were constantly moving forward regardless of the gain and that shouldn't be overlooked. Perhaps, the most telling stat is the team only had a pair of negative runs.

The Bears knew the Giants were going to pound the ball yet that didn't stop them from having success as they averaged six yards per carry on 44 run plays. Chicago entered Week 4 allowing 157 rushing yards per contest, 30th in the NFL, and New York fully capitalized. Can the Giants sustain this run heavy winning recipe moving forward? Probably not, because they'll be playing much more efficient offensive teams, which will require scoring more than 20 points to win – but it was enough to knock off offensively-challenged Chicago. The Giants have also clearly proven, they're more than capable of adapting to their opponent, on both ends, depending on how the game plays out. No better example than the decision to employ a wildcat formation with Saquon Barkley at quarterback after Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor were injured.

Note that 262 of Giants' 333 yards came on the ground as they dictated the tone of the game upfront. It also essentially protected their offensive line and quarterbacks by not putting the team in a position where they had to drop back very often and provide the Bears with chances for sacks, QB hits and opportunistic plays. You don't get style points in the NFL when it comes to wins so it makes no difference how you go about accomplishing that feat. The Giants made Sunday's game a battle in the trenches and they clearly won on both fronts. Now, the true test to see whether that approach can be effective against better offenses begins.

Matt Citak: One week after failing to record a sack for the first time this season, the Giants' pass rush had a breakout performance against the Bears. The Giants entered the matchup with three sacks on the season and emerged from the win with twice as many on Sunday alone while also racking up 26 total pressures.

It's clear that the return of outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux provided a big boost to the pass rush. After knocking off some rust in their season debut last week, both edge rushers made an impact on Sunday. Ojulari picked up his first sack of the season and finished with three total pressures. His 25.0 percent pass rush win rate was tied for the ninth-best mark among edge rushers in Week 4. Ojulari also forced his first fumble of the year, which was recovered by Thibodeaux, who also enjoyed a solid game - the rookie recorded four pressures in his second NFL contest.

However, the most productive Giants' pass rusher in Week 4 was defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. He was a dominant force on the interior, picking up two sacks and eight total pressures. He earned a stellar 93.8 grade from Pro Football Focus on 35 pass rush snaps, which aided in his 92.7 overall grade. Inside linebacker Tae Crowder also contributed to the successful pass rush on Sunday, recording a sack and two total pressures on just five pass rush snaps, good for an 89.4 pass rush grade.

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