The Giants did many things right in their Thursday night matchup against the Bears and it still wasn’t enough, as they dropped their sixth straight, 27-21, to start the season.
The 0-6 start by Big Blue is the worst start since they opened the 1976 season with the same mark. Initially, it looked as if it would be easy pickings for the Bears (4-2) as they picked off Eli Manning on New York’s first two possessions. Manning, who went 14-of-26 for 239 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, now has a league-leading 15 turnovers – including two interceptions to Tim Jennings, who had a 48-yard pick-six on the Giants’ second series and a game-ending interception with 1:54 remaining in the game as the Giants were driving for the go-ahead points.
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Jennings’s first pick came off an apparent miscommunication, as Manning threw a sideline-out pattern, while Rueben Randle ran a deep go route. His second pick came after Manning’s pass to tight end Brandon Myers sailed just inches over his head and into the hands of the cornerback.
All wasn’t initially lost for the Giants, however, as Manning and Co. regrouped nicely from the first two picks as they executed two long touchdown drives. The first was a seven-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a Brandon Jacobs’s 4-yard score. The second touchdown drive of the first half was a 10-play, 80-yard march that was capped by Randle’s 37-yard score. It was a great response to Brandon Marshall’s 10-yard touchdown that capped an eight-play, 86-yard drive by Chicago on the previous possession.
The loss was the fifth time in six defeats in which the Giants were within striking distance as late as the final quarter, only to have not enough gas in the tank to close the deal.
The Bears, meanwhile, continued their fourth-quarter defensive excellence. They have yet to allow a touchdown in the final stanza.
What we saw ...
1. More turnovers
Turnovers continued to plague a team that had zero margin for error. The Giants padded their stats in the wrong direction, as they now have a league-high 23 turnovers on the season. Jennings’s first interception was the second straight possession that Manning threw one as he was also picked off by Zack Bowman on Big Blue’s very first series.
2. Hit the ground running
The Giants came into the game as the worst rushing team in the league, but acquitted themselves nicely for the first time all season. Jacobs had a flashback performance as he dominated the Bears’ undermanned front seven for a game-high 106 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Jacobs was the featured back for the Giants as starter David Wilson (neck) sat out the game, while newly resigned running back Da’Rel Scott had little impact. Jacobs ran as hard as he has in years, plowing through arm tackles and gaining more yards in the first half (58) than any Giants running back had in a complete game this year. His bullish 1-yard plunge capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive that got the Giants back into the game late in the third quarter.
3. MASH unit secondary
The Giants had three cornerbacks on the injury list - Jayron Hosley, Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster. The lack of able bodies doomed Big Blue, as Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a very efficient performance. Cutler went 24-of-36 for 262 yards and had two scoring strikes, including both touchdowns to his favorite target, Marshall, who had nine catches for 87 yards. Both Cutler and Marshall did most of their damage in the first half when Cutler went 13-of-18 for 179 yards and two scores, while Marshall tallied six catches for 65 yards and his two scores. The Giants picked their poison by stymieing Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte (67 yards on 19 carries), but had no answer for the Bears’ dynamic passing duo.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.