The Giants took on the Chicago Bears in Week 4 in the first of two "Legacy Games" at MetLife Stadium this season.
Wearing their classic blue uniforms from the 80s and 90s for the first time, the Giants dealt with numerous injuries on both sides of the ball. Brian Daboll's squad was able to overcome the loss of several players to beat the Bears, 20-12, thanks to 262 rushing yards and six sacks by the defense.
Here are five things we learned in today's win.
1. Giants overcome adversity, move to 3-1
After suffering their first loss of the season against the Cowboys on Monday, the Giants rebounded against the Bears in Week 4. The win was Brian Daboll's second at MetLife Stadium and moved the team to 3-1. It came at a cost, though, as the Giants saw numerous players from both sides of the ball go down with injuries, including the team's top two quarterbacks. But despite the challenges they faced, the Giants were able to overcome all of the adversity and close out the win.
"Tough game. Physical game," Daboll told the media immediately after the game ended. "It's what we thought it would be, and I thought Chicago played physical. I thought our guys played physical. (We) made a few more plays than they did. There were a lot of bumps and bruises. I don't know the answers to any of the questions relative to any of the players yet. We'll figure that out as we get going. But tough, competitive game; good to get another win...
"I think the players played good when it counted the most. Give all the credit to the players. I think the assistant coaches and coordinators are doing a good job of putting them in position, and those guys are playing hard for 60 minutes. So, I'd say give the players, first-and-foremost, all the credit. And give the assistant coaches and coordinators the second part of it."
The Giants will now get ready for their first game overseas since 2016 when they travel to London to take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 5. The game will be the franchise's third in London since the NFL began hosting international games. The Giants are 2-0 in their first two.
View photos from the Giants' Week 4 game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium.
2. Run game goes wild
The Giants went into Week 4 averaging 169.3 rushing yards per game, the fourth-highest mark in the league. That ranking is about to rise after Sunday's performance. The Giants rushed the ball a whopping 44 times for 262 yards, averaging an impressive 6.0 yards per attempt, with two touchdowns.
Saquon Barkley led the way for Big Blue with his 146 yards on the ground and 162 total yards from scrimmage. The fifth-year running back went into the game ranking second in the league in rushing yards behind Cleveland's Nick Chubb, but after his Week 4 effort, Barkley now leads Chubb (and the rest of the league) by four yards. Barkley leads the NFL with 570 total yards from scrimmage as well.
"I think the offensive line did a great job early on in the game," said quarterback Daniel Jones. "We hit a couple of big runs with (running back) Saquon (Barkley) and things were opened up. We had a couple of complements off it and they were obviously playing Saquon, playing the downhill run, so we had some chances off of it. I think hats off to the offensive line, they did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage all day."
The Giants also got great rushing efforts from their two quarterbacks while they were on the field. Jones carried the ball six times for 68 yards, good for 11.3 yards per attempt, and scored both of the team's touchdowns (one from 21 yards out, the other from eight). While Tyrod Taylor was leading the offense, the veteran had three rushes for 30 yards. Matt Breida also added 18 yards on three carries.
"Good week of practice," Daboll said about the rushing attack after the game. "That was, I would say, the plan going into it. It's always good when things work out the way we want them to work out in a game. Daniel's weren't necessarily designed runs. There was pass elements to the play we thought would be a few good designs to run against their team. They happened to go with the receiver. We hit a couple of other ones. We hit the one to (wide receiver David) Sills where they called us on a formation. I thought our line did a good job. We ran the ball inside; we ran the ball outside; had a couple of scheme runs in there that we liked this particular week. And then 26 (Saquon Barkley) – I've said it since OTAs – is a really good football player. So, that along with Daniel's, what did he have – about 70 or something around there? That's the way we wanted to play this game. And it worked out."
3. Pass rush heats up
Coming into Sunday, the defense had registered three total sacks in the first three games. Well, Wink Martindale's group doubled that number on Sunday alone. The unit recorded six sacks and nine quarterback hits, which helped limit Bears quarterback Justin Fields to just 174 yards with a 50 percent completion rate (11 for 22).
After making their season debuts last week against the Cowboys, outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux both made an impact in Sunday's win over Chicago. Ojulari picked up his first sack, forcing Fields to fumble the ball, which Thibodeaux recovered. The rookie added a quarterback hit and four total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Fellow outside linebacker Jihad Ward also registered a sack and two quarterback hits.
"We were having fun; we're building that chemistry," Thibodeaux said about the pass rush. "This is our second time really out and we're still missing a couple of guys, but just being able to play free and the offense playing complementary football; going down there and scoring and giving us really an opportunity to go put some pressure on the quarterback."
4. Lawrence, Crowder step up big
It was a strong overall effort by the defense Sunday, as the unit limited Chicago to just over 300 total yards of offense and held the Bears out of the end zone. All 12 points scored by the Bears came by the foot of kicker Michael Badgley (four field goals). While the defense saw several players put together strong performances, including the group of outside linebackers mentioned above, two players truly stood out in the 20-12 win.
Inside linebacker Tae Crowder led the Giants defense with 11 total tackles, seven of which were solo. He picked up a sack and two quarterback hits of Fields, and was a steady force in the middle of the defense. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence also stepped up in a big way. With fellow defensive lineman Leonard Williams missing his second consecutive game, Lawrence registered two sacks and three quarterback hits, and finished the game with five total tackles. PFF had Lawrence down for eight total pressures from the interior on its initial review, which would top his previous career-best by two.
"It takes all 11," Lawrence said about his success today. "We had a good week in practice on a short week. Just everybody getting 11 hats to the ball, everybody gang tackling. So, that was just the plan. To keep [Justin Fields] contained and everybody get to the ball."
5. Injury updates
It was a costly win for the Giants as numerous players went down on both sides of the ball.
Let's start on offense, where the team saw both of its quarterbacks go down with injuries. Daniel Jones suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter and was listed as questionable to return. Tyrod Taylor then came in under center, but early in the fourth quarter, the veteran was forced to leave the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Jones came back into the game but did not attempt a pass or line up under center for the rest of the game, taking every snap in shotgun. Saquon Barkley also took a few snaps in the wildcat formation.
"I feel good. A little sore but all good. Listen to the trainers and doctors and go from there but feeling good..." Jones said after the game. "I'm going to do everything that I can to play [next week], for sure."
Right guard Mark Glowinski also suffered an ankle injury, but was able to return to the game. Right tackle Evan Neal left with a neck injury, while wide receiver Kenny Golladay suffered a knee injury. Both were listed as questionable to return.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants lost two defensive backs in the first half due to injuries. Cornerback Aaron Robinson went down with a knee injury. On the same play, safety Julian Love was forced out of the game to get evaluated for a concussion. Both were ruled out soon after. It was Robinson's first game back after missing the last two after having his appendix removed.
The Giants ruled out five players on Friday's final injury report: cornerbacks Cor'Dale Flott (calf) and Nick McCloud (hamstring); wide receivers Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring); and defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee).
Linebacker Jihad Ward (knee) and cornerback Justin Layne (concussion) appeared on the injury report this week but were full-go at practice.
Inside linebacker Austin Calitro and offensive lineman Tyre Phillips were also inactive.
The Giants are celebrating the first of two Legacy Games presented by Quest on Sunday against the Bears.