EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Chicago fell from its undefeated perch in humiliating fashion Sunday, when the supposed high-powered offense short circuited against a dominating Giants defense that produced nine sacks in the first half on the way to a 17-3 win.
More concerning than the defeat was the nine-sack first half that put quarterback Jay Cutler out of the game with a concussion, and the fact the offensive line -- already depleted by injury -- lost another starter when right guard Lance Louis left the game with a left knee injury.
The severity of Louis' injury wasn't immediately known. But we’ll get into that and more in discussing this tough loss for the Bears, who played their second game in seven nights when they met the Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium:
What it means: The Bears no longer own the designation of being the NFC’s lone remaining undefeated team after their 17-3 loss at the New York Giants. Still, the club at 3-1 leads the NFC North (by virtue of head-to-head win over Packers).
OL health concerning: Don’t be surprised if the Bears make a move in the coming days to add depth along the offensive line. Left tackle Chris Williams (hamstring) missed Sunday’s game, leaving backups Frank Omiyale and Kevin Shaffer at the tackle positions. Inside at guard, the situation looks just as bad.
Right guard Louis left the game with a left knee injury and wasn’t able to return. Left guard Roberto Garza missed practice time throughout the week with a knee injury, which appeared to force him to miss some snaps against the Giants. Edwin Williams filled in for Louis when he left the game. Earlier in the night, Williams had filled in for Garza.
Rookie offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb could be a candidate for a possible move inside, but the Bears may also explore -- depending on the severity of Louis’ injury -- activating Johan Asiata off the practice squad. At one point in the offseason, Asiata was working the starters at guard.
Run defense penetrated: So much for the Bears’ tough run defense. Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for 191 yards and a touchdown apiece on 29 attempts. Prior to Sunday’s contest, the Bears had allowed 119 through the first three games combined.
Active… but not really: Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu finally made the Bears' active 45-man roster, but it’s as if the Bears actually wasted the spot since they didn’t use him.
Cutler targeted Aromashodu 10 times in the opener. Then he played one snap Week 2 in Dallas, before earning the sideline sweatsuit for the Bears' win over Green Bay. Aromashodu commented (unwisely) on his disappearance from the offense in the week leading up to Sunday night’s game, saying he didn’t know exactly what he did wrong to get on the staff’s bad side.
Some within the organization wonder whether the receiver is talking himself out of town.
“We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves because when you’re walking on eggshells, you really can’t play well,” Aromashodu said last week. “You’ve still got to go out there, let it loose and do your best. You’re not going to be perfect every play.”
Aromashodu dropped a few passes in the opener and missed some downfield blocks. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz indicated that Aromashodu didn’t fully understand his assignments from the slot receiver spot, which is where the Bears planned to use the receiver. Besides that, Earl Bennett has performed well in that slot role the club originally envisioned for Aromashodu.
Although Aromashodu seems to have a good rapport with Cutler, the receiver could find a hard time getting back into the good graces of Martz.
Lucky Lovie: Chicago escaped a possible 10-point deficit in the first quarter when the Giants squandered opportunities in the red zone on drives ending at the Bears’ 4 and the 20.
Instead of scoring a touchdown on their second drive, the Giants settled for a 22-yard field goal on fourth-and-2 from the 4. Terrell Thomas intercepted Cutler on Chicago’s next possession, giving the Giants the ball at the Bears' 28. Four plays later, Lawrence Tynes missed a 38-yard field goal wide right.
Corner shuffle: The Bears benched starting left cornerback Zack Bowman last week against the Packers in favor of Tim Jennings. The club started Jennings against the Giants, only to pull him with 1:06 left in the opening quarter to insert Bowman.
The team shuffled the corners throughout the first half, but Bowman took most of the snaps and appears to have regained his starting job.
What’s next: The Bears travel to Carolina to face a winless Panthers squad that on Sunday nearly upset the New Orleans Saints on the road.