Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants: Friday's Top Performers
In what felt like another regular-season thriller, the Chicago Bears once again pulled out a narrow 20-17 road victory Friday night over the New York Giants behind their second-string offense, the leg of Robbie Gould and a miracle interception.
Jay Cutler went a dismal 9-of-21 for just 96 yards, but he did manage to throw the first touchdown pass of the game. However, most of the time Cutler seemed to make one bad throw after another.
You may not have been able to tell by the way the offensive line played, but Matt Forte was the Bears' leading rusher last night. He carried the ball 10 times for 39 yards, with a long of 24. It may not have been what Bears fans were looking for, but it was much better than last week's performance.
Craig Steltz tied for second in tackles with four and showed aggressiveness while asserting himself on run defense. For once he didn't look stiff out there on the field.
I'm still concerned about his ability to play pass coverage, but for now he's improved to some degree. The Bears defense didn't do anything special, but towards the end of the game they made stops when it counted.
I was disappointed with the performances of Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez. Rodriguez had a couple of special teams tackles but didn't do much beyond that.
Jeffery only caught one pass, but it was a fun play to watch. After that Jeffery was pretty much invisible — although he did drop a pass in the second quarter that would have given the Bears a 1st-and-goal from the Giants' 2-yard line.
Had it not been for the second-string offense, the Bears probably would have lost this one.
After being down by 10 at halftime, the Bears banded together in the second half and made one heck of a comeback. Not something that you usually see in a preseason game.
Here are the five reasons why the Bears were able to walk out of NYC with the "W."
5. Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall after scoring his first-quarter touchdown.
Marshall got things started on the right foot for the Bears last night. He caught the very first touchdown pass of the game, and wound up carrying the load of Bears starting offense.
He was the leading receiver, as he caught five passes for 51 yards. It was good to see him finally score a touchdown.
It was also good to see him do what Bears fans have been expecting him to do. So far this preseason, Marshall has eight receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, if he were to play an entire game he should be able to surpass those totals. I look forward to watching the Brandon Marshall show once the season starts.
4. The Offensive Line
The Bears' offensive line prepares to battle the Giants' defensive line.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Even though they couldn't create much space for the running backs, the Bears offensive line was able to hold their own against the New York pass-rush.
They managed to keep the Bears quarterbacks upright for the most part, as they only allowed one sack. Because of their pass protection, the Bears managed to throw for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
The big guys up front have proven they can protect the signal-callers in this new offense. Now they just need to open holes for the running attack and this team will be much better off.
3. Robbie Gould
Robbie Gould was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts vs. the Giants.
Al Bello/Getty Images
For the third straight week, Robbie Gould has made my top five. Against Denver, Gould scored the Bears' only points.
Against Washington, Gould kicked the game-winning field goal. And this week, his pair of third-quarter field goals helped get the Bears back into the game after being down by 10 at halftime.
Robbie Gould is indeed the man with the golden leg.
2. Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell was the Bears' leading passer on Friday night.
If there was any doubt about Jason Campbell's leadership skills, you can now throw those doubts out the window. Against the Giants, Campbell completed 12-of-19 passes for 101 yards.
He also threw what wound up being the game-winning touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Joe Anderson.
Campbell came through when the Bears needed him most. And it was a huge sigh relief, especially after Jay Cutler's lackluster performance.
Campbell kept a cool head and engineered all three Bears scoring drives in the second half.
I would have made Campbell No. 1 on this list, but this time defense prevails.
1. Isaiah Frey
Isaiah Frey collects his only tackle of the game.
The rookie out of TCU may have only had one tackle, but his other stat saved the game for the Bears.
In the last minute of the game, the Giants were driving down the field. They managed to execute a five-play, 65-yard offensive series. Granted, a couple of penalties assisted the Giants along the way, but they found themselves inside the Bears' 20-yard line regardless.
On 1st-and-10 from the Bears' 13-yard line, Giants backup quarterback David Carr was looking for wide receiver Dan DePalma in the end zone. After Carr threw the ball, Frey managed to get in front of DePalma and snagged the ball for the Bears' sole forced turnover of the game.
But that turnover stopped the G-Men dead in their tracks and sealed the victory for Chicago.
Next week, the Bears will be looking to achieve their best preseason record since 2009 (3-1), when they head to Cleveland to take on the Browns in their annual preseason finale.