Zac’s note: This piece was first published on my Examiner page
The Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants 17-3 on Saturday night. A full recap and box score can be found here.
Before I begin, I must remind readers that the Giants were missing plenty of starters. That does not at all excuse the team’s performance this evening. I’m just sayin’. Similar to last week and the rest of the preseason, my “Good, Bad and Ugly” post-game recaps will not occur during the preseason as the final score of these games don’t matter. Instead, here is a slight breakdown of the Giants performance on all sides of the football.
Offense: Missing a couple of starters, the New York Giants offensive line was atrocious. Quarterbacks Eli Manning, David Carr and Andre Woodson had hardly anytime in the pocket. Regardless of the talent of the defense of the Chicago Bears, the Giants have a very good offensive line. That unit must play better than what we saw this evening.
Giants running back Brandon Jacobs is more than beastly. The highlight of the game for the Giants may be when Jacobs ran over Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. Jacobs also caught a pass en route to a 16 yard reception. I can’t say it enough; the thought of Brandon Jacobs catching a screen pass and having a three yard head start has to be a nightmare for any NFL defensive player.
The other big play for the Giants offense came at the very end of the game when wide receiver Hakeem Nicks caught a 55 yard pass from third string quarterback Andre Woodson. There’s something to help you Giants fans sleep tonight.
Danny Ware could end up being better than Derrick Ward. That’s right, I said it. Ware finished the game with eight carries for 34 yards (not running behind the Giants starting offensive line). He also caught four passes and had a 34 yard kickoff return. This young man is showing that he can do it all, thus far.
Don’t forget about running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who finished with a very quiet 54 yards on just six carries.
Unfortunately, the Giants just couldn’t get into any offensive rhythm as the Bears lived in the New York backfield for most of the game. You just can’t evaluate the wide receivers when the quarterbacks don’t have time to throw them any decent passes. The Bears simply out-muscled the Giants offensive line for four quarters. Not good.
The offense can actually be summed up on the final play of the first drive. Mario Manningham ran a great route but Eli Manning just missed him and the Giants had to punt. In the end, execution just wasn’t there.
Defense: Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is extremely good. There’s no denying it. With that said, he’s even better when he is running through a six foot gap in the offensive line. Tonight was a reminder that the Giants are weakest at linebacker. Just as on the other side of the football, the Bears beat up the Giants defensive line/linebackers as Forte as well as quarterback Jay Cutler and company made New York look downright silly. Cuter completed 8 of 13 pass attempts, including one touchdown. Forte ended the game with 58 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Not a good game for Giants safety Michael Johnson, who was beat a handful of times. That will happen in the preseason, though. For what it’s worth, Johnson did somewhat redeem himself by recovering a fumble for the Giants.
Things got even worse for the Giants on defense when defensive tackle Jay Alford was carted off the field in the second half. The initial report is that Alford sprained his knee. After the Giants-Bears game, WFAN in New York reported that Alford was “laughing” with teammates while on the bench. I guess that’s a good sign?
Want a Giants defensive MVP for the game? Linebacker Jonathan Goff was all over the field, finishing with four tackles. That’s about does it. Just not a lot to look back on with a smile, tonight.
Special Teams: Does Jeff Feagles really need eight punts in a preseason game? Also, I don’t think I want to see Sinorice Moss taking punts ever again. Ever. Again. Lawrence Tynes drained a 42 yard field goal attempt, the only points scored by the Giants in this game.
Overall: Perhaps the Giants got a little overconfident after their performance against the Carolina Panthers on Monday night? Regardless, this is why you play 16 preseason quarters. The Super Bowl is neither won nor lost in the preseason. Obviously, head coach Tom Coughlin will let the fellas know that this type of effort is unacceptable. Tonight was undeniably bad but there is absolutely no reason for Giants fans to even consider panicking. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do more than speculate on Jay Alford’s status before Monday.