It was almost unfathomable that coming into the game, both teams were among the elite offenses in the league because what the nation was forced to watch last night set offenses back 40 years. The Giants [2-2] held on for the 17-3 win in spite of its anemic offense and knocked off the previously-unbeaten Bears [3-1], behind a suffocating defense and timely running from Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half and didn’t see action in the second half, thanks to a concussion. His counterpart, Eli Manning, wasn’t much better but unlike Cutler, Manning had a strong running game to bail him out. Manning went for 18-of-30 for 195 yards passing and if not for Bradshaw’s heroics, would’ve had a fate as unseemly as Cutler’s.
"We just came out tonight and forgot about what all the people were saying about us and got back to having fun on the football field," Justin Tuck said.
Bradshaw, who fumbled inside the Bears' 10-yard line with 6:50 remaining, almost became the goat but his solid all-around performance overshadowed the muff. The diminutive sparkplug finished with a game-high 129 yards. The fumble was recovered at the 1-yard line, following a 35-yard jaunt, but thankfully for New York, no harm was done, as the Bears were forced to punt. New York put the game away for good on the ensuing possession as Brandon Jacobs plunged in from the 1 with 4:31 left, making it 17-3.
What went right:
1. Mathias Kiwanuka was held out last night with a bulging disk in his neck, but Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck more than picked up the slack. Umenyiora, who had been platooning with Kiwanuka at defensive end, registered three sacks – all in the first half. Tuck added three sacks himself – including two in first half. Each also recorded a forced fumble. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked nine times – all in the first half – as New York registered 10 sacks overall. Cutler was ruled out for game with a concussion to start the second half, no doubt saving him from anymore brutality. He finished 8-of-11 for 42 yards and an interception.
2. New York forced three turnovers, including two in the first half, and knocked out two quarterbacks [Cutler and Todd Collins]. Cutler was picked once and fumbled twice in the first half, before heading to the showers. Overall, the Bears fumbled four times, losing two, as Perry Fewell’s defensive unit finally did what he’s been preaching since he was hired -- attack the ball as well as the ball-carrier. New York also kept the potent Chicago offense out of the end zone.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw bailed out Eli Manning all night, as he netted a game-high 129 yards on 23 carries and was the focal-point of the offense. Chicago came into the game yielding a league-best 40 yards rushing a game; Bradshaw had 44 by halftime and punished the Bears inside and outside. It was Bradshaw’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
What went wrong:
1. Eli Manning’s erratic play almost undid a rare solid rushing performance by New York’s rushing game. Manning, who went 18-of-30 for 195 yards passing, was 7-of-14 for 63 yards in the first half and almost sabotaged Bradshaw’s solid night. Bradshaw finished with 129 yards rushing but was largely ignored in the first half, despite the quarterback’s struggles and a driving rain.
2. The kicking unit is going to lose a game for New York this season, book it. Lawrence Tynes missed a chip-shot 38-yard field goal in the first quarter and Matt Dodge was inconsistent again, as he shanked a punt out of bounds and connected on a terrible touchback – instead of pooching one into the corner – all in the name to avoid Devin Hester. Although his 39-yard net was up from his 33-yard net, Dodge is quickly becoming a liability in the kicking game.
3. Fourth quarter ball control almost became an issue for New York, as Manning nearly had two balls picked – off the obligatory tipped pass – and Brandon Jacobs fumbled deep in Giants territory, at its own 29-yard line, as New York was nursing a 10-0 lead and trying to run out the clock. The fumble allowed Chicago to claw back in the game, as Bears kicker Robbie Gould nailed a 40-yard field goal.