The New York Giants improved their record to 3-1 after defeating the Chicago Bears, 20-12, on Sunday. The Giants rushed for an impressive 262 yards while throwing for 82 yards. The mistakes of Monday Night Football were rectified, as the Giants defended the outside run well. New York’s offensive line was much more reliable, albeit Chicago’s inability to contain the bootleg proved to be a difference maker through the first half.
Big Blue won the time of possession, had 29 more yards than Chicago, and one extra takeaway (the wacky play at the end of the game). After surrendering 43 rushing yards to Justin Fields in the first half, the Giants contained the athletic young quarterback and held him to 9 rushing yards in the second half.
Unfortunately, injuries for the Giants were one of the underlying stories from the game. Both quarterbacks suffered injuries, Kenny Golladay, Evan Neal, Mark Glowinski, Azeez Ojulari, Julian Love, Aaron Robinson, and Henry Mondeaux were all injured during the game. The Giants have a divergent week as they travel to London to play the Green Bay Packers next Sunday.
Here are the five plays - or play sequences - that led to the Giants’ victory.
Play(s) 1: Sack party
The Giants defense harassed Fields all game. New York sacked Fields six times, while Jones was only sacked once by rookie safety Jaquan Brisker - the play on which he injured his ankle. Here are the six sacks by the Giants:
Dexter Lawrence chops w/ the outside hand, long-arms w/ the inside arm, and then just bull-rushes through the OL for a sack pic.twitter.com/v5suTql0cj— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) October 2, 2022
The last clip is the sack-fumble caused by Azeez Ojulari (51). The play was never whistled dead, even though it initially appeared to be an incomplete pass. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux was savvy enough to jump on the ball for the fumble recovery.
Ojulari’s fumble halted a 10-play, 53-yard drive by Chicago, and it helped set up the second Daniel Jones rushing touchdown of the game.
Play(s) 2: Jones’ rushing touchdowns
After the Giants’ offense went three-and-out, offensive coordinator Kafka assembled a six-play, 75-yard drive with a healthy mix of successful rushes by Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. The Bears’ defense became too focused on stopping Barkley. Kafka called several bootlegs that prompted this tweet from some writer at Big Blue View:
Giants bootlegging like it’s prohibition— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) October 2, 2022
It was surprising to see the bootleg work all throughout the first half, and it led to two rushing touchdowns from ones.
New York successfully ran weak side in the first-half, so the Giants aligned with 13 personnel in a triple-Y set, opening Jones to the weak side to play-action another run to the boundary. The tight ends to the field side of the formation swiveled to the outside to create a seal, while one tight end - Tanner Hudson (88) - ran a route and blocked downfield. Chicago bit on the Barkley run, and Jones ran 21 yards for the touchdown.
It’s October, but the Giants choose tricks over treats. Watch how deceptive Jones is on this play-action, yet it’s the same exact play that was run two drives earlier. Giants sell weak side run, Andrew Thomas (78) pulls, and the tight ends block down (with Hudson releasing). The Bears show no discipline to contain, and they’re caught in an October Groundhog day.
Play 3: Only Saquon
Is this the most impactful play of the game? That is debatable - however, the level of impressiveness is not; few players in the NFL can do what Barkley does on this third-and-nine that led to Daniel Jones’ second touchdown run. The Giants were in a third-and-4 situation that was converted, but an illegal formation penalty forced the third-and-nine. Many running backs aren’t breaking that tackle attempt, nor are they picking up 15 yards afterward. Great awareness, contact balance, and explosiveness are displayed by the Giants’ most valuable player.
Play(2) 4: Late third-down defense
Fields abandons a clean pocket and Jihad Ward (55) anticipates the movement well to get into the young quarterback’s lap. Fields scans the field and finds nowhere to go.
Fabian Moreau (37) gets isolated against Dante Pettis (18) (who should have caught this ball); Moreau does just enough to distract Pettis on this third-and-4 to force the punt. The score at this point of the game is 17-12, Giants. The Bears opened the second half with a nine-play, 58-yard drive. After that, they had three consecutive three-and-outs and then a fourth-and-out. Here’s another key defensive play by the Giants on third-and-3.
The Giants send five - with two defenders through the A-Gap to isolate running back Khalil Herbert (24). Tae Crowder (48) gets right into Justin Fields’ face and forces the throwaway.
Play(s) 5: Sloppy special teams
New York’s special teams unit has made several mistakes through four games of the season, albeit they’ve benefitted from careless mishaps by their opponents.
This turnover by Velus Jones Jr. happened with the Giants up 20-12 with a little more than two minutes left in the game, after the Giants were forced to punt with Saquon Barkley acting as the wildcat quarterback. If the Bears could have mounted a touchdown drive, with a two-point conversion, they would have gone into overtime with the Giants lacking a healthy quarterback. Luckily for the Giants, the rookie bobbled the punt, and Gary Brightwell (23) fell on top of the free football.
Richie James (80) had his own fumble at the end of the first half. Instead of the Giants starting with good field position in a close game, the Bears received three points because of this mistake.