The New York Giants had to work harder for Sunday’s 22-16 victory over the Chicago Bears than some people thought they would. They Giants, though, escaped with their fifth straight win. Let’s review in our own unique “Kudos & Wet Willies” style.
Kudos to ...
Jason Pierre-Paul — With 2.5 sacks, a pass defensed, five tackles, a forced fumble and three quarterback hits, Pierre-Paul played his best game since before he mangled his right hand in a July 2015 fireworks accident. He stepped up late in the first half when the Giants needed someone to make a play, batting down a Jay Cutler pass to help stall a drive. He then led a dominant pass rush in the second half.
Rashad Jennings — Jennings isn’t explosive, and he will drive you crazy sometimes pitter-pattering around looking for a place to run. The 31-year-old, though, runs hard once he makes up his mind and can make things happen once he gets a head of steam. With 85 yards rushing and 44 receiving, Sunday was Jennings’ most productive game of the season.
Giants’ second-half defense — No points allowed. Four sacks of Cutler. Only four first downs and 101 yards allowed. Five carries for only 5 yards for running back Jordan Howard. A big stop and the end of the game when Chicago had moved into scoring position in the final two minutes.
Here are the Bears’ second-half possessions:
Olivier Vernon — His play was perhaps overshadowed by JPP’s dominant second half, but Vernon was impactful as well. He had a sack, two tackles for loss and a hit on Cutler. For the past two weeks the Giants have gotten the play from Vernon and Pierre-Paul they had hoped to get.
Sterling Shepard — Two huge receptions for the rookie. He had a 15-yard touchdown reception, running a spectacular route where quarterback Eli Manning said Shepard “killed the guy.” Shepard set up the Giants’ first touchdown with a 15-yard catch-and-run on fourth-and-2 from the Chicago 17-yard line in the first quarter.
Eli Apple — The rookie corner gave up one long completion, but played exceptionally well overall for the second straight week after being benched in the second half against the Eagles two Sundays ago. Apple also had a critical special teams play, recovering a fumble on a ball that glanced off the face mask of punt returner Dwayne Harris.
Landon Collins — His fifth interception in the last four games sealed the deal for the Giants, but was only part of the story. Collins had three passes defensed, six tackles and ended up as the highest-graded Giants defender per Pro Football Focus.
Wet Willies to ...
Giants’ first-half defense — Awful. The Giants gave up 16 points and 214 yards to a team averaging 15 points and 347 yards per game. Chicago scored on its first three possessions. Rookie Jordan Howard ran 12 times for 72 yards. Bears’ tight end Zach Miller caught three passes for 31 yards and a score. The only reason the Giants didn’t give up points on Chicago’s final possession of the half was that the Bears killed themselves with a penalty that negated a first-down completion to the Giants’ 26-yard line. They ended up back at the 46, and the Giants finally stiffened.
Placekickers — Robbie Gould of the Giants missed two extra points. Connor Barth of the Bears missed one, and had a 51-yard field goal clank off the right upright. Conditions at MetLife were brutal with winds blowing the ball around, but that was still a rough display. Gould’s kickoffs also left a lot to be desired, with only one of five going for a touchback.
Kwillie to ...
Dwyane Harris — The Giants’ kick returner continues to use some questionable judgment in running kickoffs out of the end zone when the team would be better served by him taking a knee. He also had a wind-blown punt clank off his face mask, which was fortunately recovered by Apple. Harris, though, made it all worthwhile when he took the opening kickoff of the second half 46 yards to get the Giants off and running to a big third quarter.