Monday, October 4, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Giants 17, Bears 3
By Ohm Youngmisuk
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few observations from the New York Giants 17-3 win over the Chicago Bears.
What it means: It means much more than just your average Week 4 win. The Giants were facing what felt like a must-win. This was far from a perfect game and there is plenty to improve on, but the Giants got what they needed and upset the previously undefeated Bears. With all the controversy surrounding Tiki Barber's comments about Tom Coughlin in a crisis and the questions about the team's leadership, the Giants stopped a two-game losing streak and did it with terrific defense.
For one week, at least, the Giants can stop answering questions about what's wrong with their team.
Rock-a-bye-baby: The Giants gave Jay Cutler nightmares and a concussion. The Bears wanted to hire defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Fewell showed why. Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half and he was knocked out with a concussion, possibly when Aaron Ross hit him from behind on a corner blitz from the blind side. Cutler hit the turf hard. Todd Collins replaced Cutler and he was knocked out of the game with 4:20 left.
The Giants defense came back with a vengeance as the Bears were forced to finish the game with third-stringer Caleb Hanie. Fewell mixed things up, largely using two linebackers and three safeties in a 4-2-5. He rotated in rookie Jason Pierre-Paul at defensive end and moved Justin Tuck inside often. Cutler looked completely confused at times, holding on to the ball way too long until his night ended prematurely.
Nothing special: As advertised, the special teams was a disaster again at times. Rookie punter Matt Dodge mishandled his first punt attempt, picked up his drop, ran to the side and instead of trying to gain one yard for the first down, he punted on the run. He got it off but could have possibly gained the first down. Lawrence Tynes missed a 38-yard field goal after a Terrell Thomas interception set the Giants up at the Bears' 28 late in the first quarter. Then, from the Bears' 34, Dodge booted a punt into the end zone and was unable to pin Chicago deep in its territory as he was booed again.
The only person booed louder than Dodge was Barber during the halftime Ring of Honor ceremony. Any punt that Dodge was able to kick out of bounds with no return was considered a success. But they still survived and Devin Hester didn't get a touchdown return. Mission accomplished, no matter how it was done.
Welcome back, Osi: Osi Umenyiora's knee swelled up on Friday and he was listed as questionable for the game. He played and terrorized Cutler. With Mathias Kiwanuka out with a bulging disc in his neck, Umenyiora had three sacks and two forced fumbles in the first half alone. He looked like vintage Osi coming off the edge.
Just run it: The Bears came in with the top-ranked defense against the run, surrendering a total of 119 yards in the first three games. Ahmad Bradshaw, though, found seams in the Bears defense. Often cutting back against the grain and eluding defenders, Bradshaw rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time this season and scored a touchdown. He did fumble again inside the red zone for the second straight week when he was on his way toward a long touchdown run, only to have the ball poked out of his hands.
Composure: After the previous Sunday's meltdown, in which they committed 11 penalties including five personal fouls after the whistle, the Giants kept their cool.
Offensive line: The Giants offensive line is not what it was two seasons ago. But at least Coughlin had the better front five than the Bears' line, which was under siege all night long. Also, Bradshaw gained more 100 yards against a stingy Bears defense and Eli Manning had decent time to pass. Even Brandon Jacobs finally scored a touchdown late in the fourth to seal the win.
What's next: Houston, we may have a problem. It won't get any easier for the Giants, who head to Houston to take on an explosive Texans offense. Expect Andre Johnson to be back after being a scratch on Sunday. The Texans can run with Arian Foster and their passing game is electric. This will not be an easy task.