NY Giants vs. Chicago Bears: Full Roster Report Card Grades for New York
Once again, the New York Giants could not get out of their own way.
In a Thursday night match-up against the Bears, Tom Coughlin's team looked like it would be able to overcome two first-quarter interceptions thrown by quarterback Eli Manning and get its first win of the 2013 season.
In the end, Manning, once known as the king of the fourth quarter comebacks, instead continued to be the interception king.
Manning, who has not had a passer rating above 65.0 since Week 1 of the season, tried to connect with tight end Brandon Myers, who was wide open in Chicago territory.
The pass was too high, and while Myers did his best to jump into the air to get it, the ball hit him in the hands and deflected to cornerback Tim Jennings for what was the final dagger in the Giants' hearts.
At 0-6, the Giants are off to their worst start since 1976, when they started the season 0-9.
Despite the final score, there were some slivers of sunshine in the team's performance. Whether those slivers are enough to help this team get back on track next week against the Minnesota Vikings remains to be seen.
Here’s a look at how the various units graded out.
Another week, another turnover-filled game for the 10-year veteran, who these days hardly resembles the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
This week, Manning threw two of his three interceptions in his first five pass attempts. It was also the third time in the last four weeks that Manning has thrown three picks in a game.
His third interception was the one that killed any chance the Giants had for a comeback.
The high throw to Brandon Myers just grazed the tight end’s hands, deflecting to cornerback Tim Jennings and ending what looked to be a promising scoring drive.
That Manning fought to bring his team within a touchdown of a win says something about his resolve and saves him from a failing grade this week.
However, the bottom line is that he has to stop talking about playing better and start doing it.
The Giants running game finally got its first 100-yard performance of the season, and it was 31-year-old Brandon Jacobs, and not budding star David Wilson (inactive due to a neck injury) who got it done.
Jacobs turned back the clock and ran as he did when he was the starter in 2007 and 2008, the seasons in which he recorded 1,000-plus yards on the ground.
Given 22 of the team’s 26 carries, Jacobs finished with 106 yards and two touchdowns, the first 100-yard rushing performance by a Giants running back since Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 107 yards in last year’s regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jacobs’ runs were aided by some solid lead blocking by new fullback John Conner, who made his debut on offense.
While all of Conner’s blocks weren't of the knockdown variety, he often got just enough of his man to be effective in creating space for the running back.
The rushing attack was rounded out by Da’Rel Scott, who re-joined the team last week amid concerns about Wilson’s status.
Scott finished with 17 yards on four carries, but suffered a hamstring strain late in the game. Per a report by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport quoting Scott’s agent, Chitta Mallik, Scott “should be out a few weeks” with his injury.
Toughing out a sore ankle, Myers had one of his best blocking games as a Giant, as he both executed and sustained numerous solid edge blocks.
All the good Myers did as a blocker, though, was washed away on a high, fourth-quarter pass on the Giants' final drive of the game.
Myers leapt as high as he could, but he tipped the ball right to the waiting arms of cornerback Tim Jennings, ending any chance for the Giants to drive for the winning score.
Pascoe, who returned to his more natural position at tight end, also had his best game of the season.
His seal blocks were efficient, and he controlled the edge with such aplomb that didn’t allow any pressure.
Pascoe was also as effective as he's been in the running game, squaring up against his man and driving him well out of the way to help create running lanes for the backs to exploit.
Pascoe also had one catch for an impressive 14 yards,
Donnell’s blocking is coming along, as he not only got his man, he sustained the block.
As a receiver, he doesn't get his hands up quickly enough and ends up fighting the ball, as he did on the lone pass sent his way that fell incomplete.
Nicks finished as the Giants’ receiving leader with four receptions for 70 yards, which was two yards better than Victor Cruz's total.
However, what continues to be a concern in Nicks’ game is that he’s caught an average of 58.1 percent of the balls that are thrown his way, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
That trend continued this week, as Nicks caught four of eight balls thrown his way.
While not all of the missed opportunities are his fault, per Pro Football Focus, Nicks has at least one drop in each of his last two games.
Cruz might not have recorded a 100-yard performance this week—he finished with 68 yards—but unlike Nicks, he’s been more reliable in catching passes thrown his way.
This week, he caught four out of five balls, and has caught 61.4 of the passes targeted his way.
He has also gone three straight games without dropping a pass, per Pro Football Focus.
Randle, who finished with three receptions for a team-leading 75 yards and the lone receiving touchdown for his team, seems to have become one of Manning’s preferred targets.
The problem is the two players are still not on the same page. Per Pro Football Focus, Randle has been the receiving target on six of Manning’s 15 interceptions this season.
That total included two of Manning’s three interceptions in Week 6, the Pick-6 by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings being the most glaring of the communication breakdowns.
RT Justin Pugh
RG David Diehl
C Jim Cordle
LG Kevin Boothe
LT Will Beatty
OL James Brewer
Working against a patchwork Bears defensive line, the Giants allowed just one sack that came through the gap manned by Cordle and Diehl, and one quarterback hit.
Pugh continued to be solid, his balance being one of his best assets. Against the run, he did a nice job of squaring up against his man and staying with him until the back was safely past the melee.
Beatty appeared to have cleaned up the technique issues that were resulting in him being beaten by edge rushers earlier in the year. He shut down defensive end Julius Peppers in both the pass rush and in run defense.
Beatty also managed to throw some nice blocks in the running game. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Giants ran the ball seven times to the left tackle/left edge, and picked up 41 of their 123 rushing yards on that side.
Brewer received one snap as the jumbo tight end on Brandon Jacobs’ second rushing touchdown.
The Giants defensive ends continue to be one of the weakest links on the team, as their pass rush has completely been replaced by a contain game that lets opposing quarterbacks have all the time they need to make a play.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was pressured on just 15 drop-backs, completing six of 12 for 55 of his 262 yards. Per the official NFL game book, Cutler was hit only twice in his 39 dropbacks, those two hits coming from Kiwanuka.
Tuck, the team’s co-captain, did provide his defensive teammates with a chance to make something happen by batting a pass into the air. However, safety Ryan Mundy, who was the closest Giant to the play, couldn’t come up with the interception.
Tuck, who finished with two tackles, also came close to getting his hands on another ball, this one in the fourth quarter on a wide incomplete pass intended for running back Matt Forte. That play also ended as an incomplete pass.
Pierre-Paul finished with two tackles (one solo) and one tackle for a loss, but what is most alarming about his play is his missing agility and explosion in his first steps.
Certainly his continued recovery from offseason back surgery is a factor when evaluating his weekly performance. However, if he’s healthy enough to be out on the field, he has to find a way to do something to stop opponents from moving the ball at will.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants defensive tackle unit is a big reason why Bears running back Matt Forte became the latest in a string of top NFL rushers to be held to under 100 yards.
The defensive interior’s play was so stout that the Bears ultimately shifted the strategy to attack the Giants’ defensive ends.
Jenkins won most of his one-on-one battles in the trenches and took away any inside space on his side of the formation.
While not as effective when lining up for a few snaps at defensive end, Jenkins did help blow up the Bears’ 3rd-and-3 attempt at the Giants’ 5-yard line by stopping running back Matt Forte for a one-yard gain.
Joseph, who was back from a one-week absence caused by an ankle injury, looked as fresh as ever. He not only managed to collapse the pocket early on against Cutler, he made a mark by clogging up the inside run lanes. Although he finished with two tackles (one solo), he was a load to handle.
Other than an offside penalty, Rogers played a solid game. He drew a third-quarter holding penalty that wiped out a 19-yard gain by the Bears and that moved them out of field goal range.
He also pushed the pocket and did a good job in the run defense by containing his assigned gap.
Patterson was not much of a factor after running himself out of far too many plays.
Beason’s debut saw the middle linebacker spot generate some of its best production in well over a year.
Beason showed no signs of his prior knee issues, moving from sideline-to-sideline with ease, attacking the correct gaps, and finishing with a team-leading 12 tackles, many of which never made it past the second level.
In coverage, Beason had a few bumps. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), four out of four passes were completed against him for 33 yards (27 after the catch), including one in which Beason dove and missed a tackle opportunity against the receiver.
Rivers had perhaps his worst game this season thanks to numerous poor decisions that took him out of a number of plays.
His biggest gaffe was allowing the 30-yard completion from Jay Cutler to fullback Tony Fiammetta on a check down. The play was made possible when Rivers gave up the strong-side contain to sneak into the flat.
To make matter worse, when he tried to chase Fiammetta down, he ended up colliding with a teammate and fell down, taking himself and his teammate completely out of the play.
Paysinger didn't have much in the way of success with his blitzes, but the good news is that he did a nice job minimizing any yards by receivers who came into his zone.
Williams’ snaps continued to be limited, as he seems to have lost some of his speed perhaps due to a knee injury. He did, however, produce an effective blitz that forced an incomplete pass.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The jumbo-sized Bears receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, who combined for 10 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, were too much for the Giants defensive secondary to handle.
The 6’4” Marshall in particular used his height advantage to snatch balls out of the air despite decent coverage Rolle offered as the deep safety.
Rolle had better success against tight end Martellus Bennett in the third quarter when he stopped the tight end on third down to force the Bears to settle for a 52-yard field goal.
Mundy didn’t get much action in coverage, as the Bears really didn’t try many deep passes. When they did, they typically went to the opposite side of the field.
Hill, who is fast developing a reputation as an enforcer in the Giants’ defensive backfield, had some errors that hurt his team.
The first was on Marshall’s 10-yard touchdown reception, a play in which Hill stood in the end zone like his feet were stuck in cement as Marshall crossed in front of him and separated to make the catch.
The second came in the third quarter on a 3rd-and-3 in which Hill drew an unsportsmanlike penalty after making the tackle on Jay Cutler, who had picked up nine yards and the first down.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Amukamara allowed eight passes to be completed against him for 86 yards. Four of those receptions were by Brandon Marshall, who had 40 of his 87 total receiving yards against the third-year player.
Marshall also gave Terrell Thomas fits, catching two passes for 18 yards and one touchdown.
Marshall caught all six of the passes that were covered by the Giants starting cornerbacks for 58 of his 87 yards, and one of his two touchdowns.
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
K Josh Brown
P Steve Weatherford
PR Rueben Randle
KR Jerrel Jernigan
Brown, didn’t have any field goal attempts, but made all three of his extra point tries.
It was a bit surprising, though, that of his four kickoffs, three ended up being returned by Devin Hester, whose longest was 28 yards.
Speaking of Hester, Weatherford picked a good week to rebound from a stretch of ineffective punting.
His punts and his coverage team held Hester to zero return yards, the third such time this season that Hester has been shut out as a punt returner as per Pro Football Reference.
In the return game, Randle called for three fair catches, fielding each one cleanly.
Jernigan, meanwhile, had a 46-yard return in which he did a nice job of following his blocking. Still, his decision making is somewhat tentative, as on his other return, he missed an opportunity to cut inside for more yards.
Patricia Traina is the senior editor at Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Patricia on Twitter @Patricia_Traina for all the latest Giants news, updates, and reader Q&As.