It was far from pretty and rarely is for the New York Giants, who outlasted a resilient and surprising Chicago Bears team in a 22-16 win. The Giants posted a shutout in the second half to spur their fifth straight win.
With the win, the Giants are now 7-3. All five of their wins in this streak have been by a touchdown or less. But for a good part of the game, the Giants looked like they had no business winning this one.
With the game tied at 16-16 in the third quarter, the Giants cobbled together a 79-yard drive that included a 48-yard run by quarterback Eli Manning, who then found rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a 15-yard touchdown pass and a 22-16 lead. After a rocky first half, the Giants responded well on both sides of the ball in the second half.
The Bears staked themselves to the early lead: a game-opening, nine-play, 76-yard touchdown drive where Jay Cutler threw a bullet through a sea of Giants jerseys to tight end Zach Miller for a 19-yard touchdown.
Manning, he of the 48-yard scramble in the third quarter, had a solid and effective day despite the windy conditions. He completed 21-of-36 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
Three things we learned from the Giants in Week 11:
The Windy City … in Jersey
The Bears infamously hail from the Windy City but it was North Jersey that provided the gusts on Sunday afternoon. Both kickers missed their first point-after attempts of the game (Robbie Gould of the Giants would miss another extra-point in the third quarter) and Bears kicker Connor Barth doinked a long field goal attempt off the uprights early in the quarter. The wind affected the passing game a bit with both quarterbacks seeing a couple passes sail on them a bit, not a shock given that the gusts topped 50 mph. The windy conditions not only affected football at the Meadowlands but canceled live racing at Aqueduct in Queens.
Defenseless Giants turn it up
Poor coverage down the field, missed tackles, penalties (roughing the passer by Olivier Vernon, 12 men on the field in the second quarter on a goal line situation) typified the Giants' defensive efforts for the first half. But in the second half, they forced a three-and-out on the Bears opening two possessions and generally frustrated an offense that appeared to be clicking. Then they did enough to bend but not break to preserve the lead.
Going for it on fourth down
Last week, a call to go for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter set the Giants up for their Monday night win, a gutsy move from head coach Ben McAdoo. On Sunday against the Bears, the Giants went for it twice on fourth down in the first half with equal success. The first time came on a fourth-and-2 that ended in Manning connecting with Shepard for 15 yards; on the next play Rashad Jennings ran 2 yards for the touchdown. Then in the second quarter, the Giants again went for it on fourth down, a Manning connection to Rashad Jennings sustaining a drive that resulted in a field goal. Bold calls from McAdoo again and moves that helped the Giants to a fifth straight win.