Chicago Bears vs. the New York Giants: What Went Wrong

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Chicago Bears vs. the New York Giants: What Went Wrong
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The Chicago Bears, coming into this game with a 3-0 record, met the Giants in New York and with the Giants “wounded” and desperately needing a victory they ended up besting the Bears in a big way 17-3.  This game featured a Chicago offense that could do virtually nothing on the ground or the air lead by an offensive line that couldn’t do a thing to protect their quarterback.  In fact, quarterback Jay Cutler was knocked out by halftime with a concussion and was replaced by backup Todd Collins. Collins was knocked out of the game later on in the second half and was replaced by Caleb Hanie.

So why did the Bears lose this game?  Why did they allow Cutler and Collins to be sacked so many times?  Why can’t they run the football?  Let’s find out in this in-depth analysis of the Bears game this Sunday night against the New York Giants.

Scoring Summary

The Giants managed to get the first score and the only score of the first half thanks to a 22 yard field goal by kicker Lawrence Tynes.

In the third quarter, the Giants went up 10-3 after running back Ahmad Bradshaw capped off a 90 yard drive on a three yard touchdown run. 

The Bears finally got on the board in the fourth quarter after kicker Robbie Gould booted a 40 yard field goal to bring the Bears within seven and put the score at 10-3.

The Giants would “take it out of reach” of the Bears after running back Brandon Jacobs blasted into the end zone from two yards out to put the score at 17-3.  That would be the final score.

Stud of the Game

The guy who really sticks out in this game as having a great game is defensive end Julius Peppers.  The defense as a whole really kept the Bears in the game but Peppers play gave the Bears several opportunities (which unfortunately they couldn’t capitalize on) and helped them out immensely.  His strip and sack of Giant’s quarterback Eli Manning is a classic example of this.  Couple that with some of the moves that he was making to beat the Giant’s offensive tackles and you have one of the best players not only on the Bears but also in the NFL.  He’s definitely earning his money.

Dud of the Game

We have to give this one to the Bear’s offensive line.  They did horrible against what was supposed to be a depleted Giant’s pass rush (New York’s leading sack specialist Mathias Kiwanuka was out of the game) and allowed the Bear’s quarterbacks to be sacked a total of ten times in this game and they allowed both Cutler and Collins to get knocked out of the game.  They also struggled in run blocking leaving the Bears quarterbacks open to get pummeled.  This unit had to do a better job in this game but they couldn’t and their quarterbacks paid the price.

Analysis

What a game!  Many people had felt that this would be a near easy win for the Bears because a fair number of the Giants key players (including Kiwanuka, center Shaun O’Hara and an injured Osi Umenyiora) were either not available or hurt.  Many prognosticators felt that while it wouldn’t be a cake walk, it would be a win for the Bears and an extension of their undefeated record.

That was not meant to be.  Right from the start, the Bears offense was under the gun.  They tried to run and couldn’t get anywhere.  They tried to pass and Cutler just got driven into the ground.  What was the problem with the inability to pass the football?  It could be twofold.  The first is that the Bears offensive line was clearly getting outdone from the start and couldn’t seem to find a way to stop the Giants pass rush.  There were even times when it appeared as if the line and some of the other blockers, like the tight ends, were just standing there allowing the rushers to move on by and get to Cutler.

Everyone who had a blocking assignment in this game did a poor job.  We saw tight end Greg Olsen’s poor attempt at a block at one point in the game while tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, a free agent bust at this point, just let blockers speed on by and didn’t do much to stand in their way.

Second, some of the problems with Cutler getting sacked could be attributed to his wanting to hold onto the ball too long.  Perhaps this was a product of knowing the rush was coming and that he might get hit while he throws (thus causing a fumble) or may throw an interception.  Perhaps it was because he was afraid to make a mistake and thought that he could keep the play alive by holding onto the ball.

Another likely scenario is that Cutler was concussed in one of the first few hits (before the one he was thought to have suffered the concussion on) and that he was confused and disoriented.  Anyone who watched the game will see that even by looking at Cutler (in his actions, motions and facial expressions) something was wrong before he hit his head on the turf.  Perhaps he was in there, injured, for too long.

Collins was the next quarterback to go in and get hurt (he hurt his neck) and so the Bears went with Hanie in the waning moments of the game and just like any other third string quarterback, he had a rough outing.

Watching other coverage of the game you can see that the receivers down the field for the most part ran their routes properly and had windows in which Cutler could have thrown the ball to them.  Remember that this is an offense where the quarterback throws to an area where the receiver is supposed to be.  The receivers were in the area but the throw wasn’t. 

Another problem that the offensive line had was the constant state of change that they underwent during the game shuffling players in and out of the lineup.  One moment you would see J’Marcus Webb in the lineup and then you would see Eddie Williams come in.  The Bears couldn’t get any kind of continuity with that going on.  Yes, they were trying to find the right combination that would work against the Giants but they should have just kept the same group in and allowed them to develop.
Note: Guard Lance Louis was injured (knee) during this game.

The issues with the running game continue and the Bears just can’t seem to get anything going on the ground.  Once again, this is a problem that the offensive line has and they just don’t get any push or open up too many holes for the runner to get to into and run the ball.  It’s not that the Bears don’t want to run the ball it’s just that they can’t, not with the offensive line that they have right now.

You have to give a lot of credit to the Bears defense for allowing them to stay in the game for most of it and not allowing too many passing yards.  However, this group, which was number one against the run coming into this game, allowed Giants rushers to rush for a total of 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns.  It’s too bad that the Bears rushing defense slipped on Sunday night.  They can get themselves back together though and play much better in the future.

The pass rush did get something going and the Bears got two sacks, the strip and sack previously mentioned by Peppers and a sack from defensive end Israel Idonije and did get some other moments of pass pressure against Manning.  This was encouraging.  Anthony Adams even made an “almost” good play in helping to distract Jacobs enough that he dropped the ball and lost the fumble. 

The defensive lineman that we don’t have a lot to say about is Tommie Harris.  Harris did help get some pressure but he didn’t get in and play a lot and oftentimes we would see him on the ground.  We may see Harris back to being inactive next week.

The secondary did a pretty decent job of covering the Giants wide receivers and not allowing the big play.  There was the one big pass that got the Giants close to the end zone but other than that, the secondary sealed things up and didn’t allow New York receivers to gain a ton of yards.

The special teams units did do pretty well especially punter Brad Maynard who was forced to punt nine times in this game.  With all of the punts it was nice to see that no one on the Giants returned a punt for a touchdown.  Punt return specialist Devin Hester would have had a nice return on one punt but it was called back due to a holding call.  

Next Up

The Bears will scrape themselves up and travel to Carolina to take on the winless Panthers. 

A full preview of this game will be coming at the end of the week.

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