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4 Downs: Takeaways from the Giants’ 20-12 win over Chicago

That game certainly ... Happened

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 20-12 Sunday in one of the ugliest, sloppiest, and wildest games we’ve seen in a long time.

We were promised an “old school” game, but I don’t think anyone predicted how the game turned out. Who could have foreseen the winner of the game being the team that attempted 13 passes (completing nine) for 82 yards and finished the game without a quarterback and essentially running Pop Warner’s Single Wing offense.

This was a game the Giants would easily have lost in previous years — and probably could have lost against most other opponents this year.

But the Giants landed in a perfect storm in the remnants of Hurricane Ian. Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Wink Martindale have inspired the kind of mental toughness we didn’t see under previous coaching staffs. And the Giants ran into a Bears’ team that couldn’t get out of its own way and were seemingly afraid to attack.

So what can we take away from the Giants’ 3rd win before they hop a flight ‘cross the pond?

First down: A pyrrhic victory?

The Giants got the win and advance to 3-1, and it was a win they needed going into what looks to be a tough stretch of games against the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

But they payed a heavy price over the course of the game. The Giants have been beat up all season, and added an incredible rash of injuries this game. All told nine Giants left the field with injuries.

  • QB Daniel Jones (ankle)
  • QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion)
  • OT Evan Neal (neck)
  • OG Mark Glowinski (ankle)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (knee)
  • S Julian Love (concussion)
  • CB Aaron Robinson (knee)
  • DL Henry Mondeaux (ankle)
  • DL Jihad Ward (unknown)

While Glowinski and Ward came back into the game, the Giants’ already beat-up roster took several more gut-punches as they prepare for a short week that involves a trans-Atlantic flight.

Second down: Rum Runnin’ Giants

I have to take a second to shout out our own Nick Falato for this brilliant tweet:

The Giants needed approximately one play in this game. The Giants were absolutely killing the Bears with bootleg rollouts. Considering how the Giants have struggled to keep Daniel Jones upright through the first three weeks, getting out of the pocket and creating separation from the pass rush just makes sense.

But that isn’t what killed the Bears’ defense. They showed some absolutely horrific eye and assignment discipline. The Bears consistently lost track of the football as well as players leaking out on routes, making for easy pitch-and-catch situations or wide-open runs for Daniel Jones.

That lack of discipline came back to haunt the Bears after their

Third down: The Sexy Dexy Show

The Bears didn’t go out of their way to make things hard on the Giants’ defense. They only made limited use of misdirection or play-action and mostly ignored Justin Fields’ athletic ability as a weapon. Instead, they mostly ran a straight-ahead offense, charging right into the teeth of the Giants’ defense.

But even so, Dexter Lawrence was an absolute wrecking ball in this game. He wasn’t just stout along the line of scrimmage — which he was — but he was an absolute disruptive force for the Giants. Lawrence finished the game with five tackles, onetackle for a loss, 2.0 sacks, and three QB hits. His impact extended beyond his stats, and the attention the Bears paid him allowed other defenders to make plays. Likewise, the Bears wanted to lean on their inside zone running game, but Lawrence (and the rest of the Giants’ defensive linemen) effectively piling up the Bears’ blockers let the Giants’ second level players flow to the ball.

Lawrence was already off to a great start to the season and he’s making the Giants very happy they picked up his fifth-year option.

Fourth down: Special teams were a blessing ... and a curse

It’s only fitting that our fourth down here talks about the Giants’ special teams.

The Giants’ special teams have been an adventure all season long. Graham Gano has shone brightly and came into this game as the Giants’ leading scorer. However the Giants’ coverage teams have been a constant source of stress this season, dating back into the preseason.

That continued again this week, as the Giants allowed some big returns, and their returners made some poor decisions with regards to bringing the ball out. Richie James fumbled a punt to turn a Chicago 3-and-out into a 40-yard field goal attempt.

Gano even missed a chip-shot 37-yard field goal attempt to leave the Bears with a glimmer of hope.

However, the Giants were in position to ice the game with that short kick thanks to a takeaway on special teams. Wide receiver and returner Velus Jones had a clear “rookie moment” when he muffed a punt just before the two-minute warning. He failed to look the ball into his hands and was more concerned with the Giants’ coverage unit bearing down on him. Credit to the Giants’ gunners for influencing the rookie and then diving on the ball, as opposed to letting it get out of bounds or have a Bear land on it. This game could have turned out differently had the Bears been given clock to work with at the end.

Extra point

There’s really no other way this mess of a game could have ended than with a missed field goal leading to a desperation schoolyard play from the Bears.

I mean, just look at this play:

  • (:03) (Shotgun) J.Fields pass short right to T.Ebner to CHI 35 for 2 yards.
  • Lateral to E.St. Brown to CHI 44 for 9 yards — FUMBLES, touched at CHI 44, recovered by CHI-J.Fields at CHI 39.
  • J.Fields to CHI 36 for -3 yards. Lateral to E.St. Brown to CHI 44 for 8 yards.
  • Lateral to T.Ebner to NYG 44 for 12 yards (J.Ward) — FUMBLES (J.Ward), recovered by CHI-L.Patrick at NYG 46.
  • L.Patrick to CHI 48 for -6 yards.
  • Lateral to J.Fields to CHI 49 for 1 yard.
  • Lateral to T.Jenkins to CHI 46 for -3 yards (T.Crowder) — FUMBLES (T.Crowder), touched at CHI 45, recovered by CHI
  • T.Ebner at CHI 41. T.Ebner to CHI 32 for -9 yards — FUMBLES, touched at CHI 32,
  • RECOVERED by NYG-D.Belton at CHI 28.

... We’re on to Green Bay.