New York Giants' Week 4 Takeaways vs Bears

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The New York Giants did enough to run their record to 3-1 on Sunday with a hard fought 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears (2-2). The Giants relied on a rushing attack and solid redzone defense to get the win in MetLife. The Giants wore their 1980s Legends jerseys and it looked like an old school game. With both quarterbacks going down, it looked even older school, like the 1920s. Let’s break it down!

Rushing attack was the key to victory

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The Giants were able to find running Lanes with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones to the tune of 262 yards rushing. It was the most rushing yards in a game since December 21, 2008. The ground game averaged 6.0 yards per carry against the Bears defense. Saquon Barkley continues his resurgence this season as a rush for 146 yards at 4.7 yards per carry. Saquon came into the game leading the NFL in total yards with over 400, and added to his total with a dominant performance against the Bears. Saquon continues to look elusive and decisive with his cuts. On a 3rd play in particular where he caught a pass in the backfield and should have been dropped for a long loss. But he escaped the tackle, reverse field and scampered for the first down.

With the Giants unable to throw the ball in the 4th quarter due to injuries, the running game was critical to get out of MetLife Stadium with the win. Saquon Barkley tallied career high 31 rushes and grind it out with some tough runs with under 2 minutes to go to ice the game for the Giants. It wasn't the shifty game breaking runs, but rather the tough yards up the middle that he got to put this game away

That play led to a Daniel Jones rushing touchdown. Daniel Jones before he injured his ankle was effective running the ball on bootlegs and design rollouts. Jones and the Giants offense use the bears undisciplined ends and linebackers to repeatedly find open space on bootlegs in the first half. The Bears adjusted in the second half and sure it up the outside. But the Giants were still effective in play action and by keying on Saquon all game left players like Matt Breida, Tyrod Taylor and Daniel Jones open for runs in the secondary.

Offense relied on Jones' legs not his arm

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The Giants offense last week against the Cowboys was held down most of the game. The offense was under heavy pressure all game, but it was only when Jones scrambled for positive yards when the offense started to move. Against the bears, the Giants were able to get big chunk plays off play action bootlegs.

Jones was able to gain 68 yards rushing and scored both of the Giants touchdowns on rushing plays. The Giants found a weakness with the Bears undisciplined rush defense and continued to exploit it all first half. The Bears linebackers and safeties were keying on Saquon Barkley all game and had lost wrestling integrity by syncing into the play fake. Jones was able to pull the ball and rush to the outside with no one in sight for at least 10 to 15 yards. These plays were designed as passing plays to move the pocket but quickly turned into rushing plays as Daniel Jones had no choice but to run down field to steal 10 yards a pop. The offensive line have struggled to keep Daniel Jones from running for his life in the first 3 games, so getting Jones out of the pocket is what the Giants have traditionally done. The Bears showed up that defensive flaw in the second half but the Giants we're still able to exploit their keying on Barkley all game play action and misdirection.

Jones' ability to be a running threat in the second half was limited due to the Bears halftime adjustment and his ankle injury. Daniel Jones was unable to even manage the offense as he lined up at the receiver position and the Giants move to a wildcat look. Jones had to come back in the game because of Tyrod Taylor's unfortunate head injury that knocked him out of the game. Now questions need to be addressed as the Giants may head to England against the Packers with no quarterback.

Giants making small mistakes that can come back to bite them

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The Giants defense needs to do better with their secondary as the Bears receivers were able to find open spots downfield. Darnell Mooney was able to find areas downfield to gain 94 yards receiving, but could have had much more if not for some drops and pressure on the quarterback. Receivers and tight ends were able to find open spots due to coverage mistakes. The Giants secondary is young and has to overcome injuries to S Julian Love and CB Aaron Robinson. Coming forward we can't have open receivers running free, as this is the fourth game that we've seen blown coverages and mental mistakes.

In spite of moving the ball and getting into the end zone, the Giants were only up by one possession due to some miscues on special teams and offense. The Giants need to take better care of the football as they head into potentially important games. In the first half the Giants had all the momentum with the 14 to 6 lead. But a special teams fumble on a punt return gave the Bears possession deep in their territory which led to a field goal. Also when Tyrod and Taylor came in at quarterback for the injured Daniel Jones, instead of taking care of the ball he threw a deep pass to Darius Slayton that was intercepted. At that point in the game, the deep ball was not needed. Tyrod Taylor needed to take care of the football, milk the clock and get out of New York with the win. Fortunately these turnovers only yielded three points by the Bears but a better team will put more points on the board.

But with the Giants unable to throw the ball due to injuries to both quarterbacks, a key fourth quarter drive with 3 minutes left turned into a 3 and out. This forced the Giants to punt in the shadow of their own endzone. Special teams needed to come up with a big play as the Bears would get the ball back with around 2 minutes left in the game and one timeout remaining. The special teams came up with an even bigger play as they forced the fumble that was recovered by RB Gary Brightwell.

Early in the game the Giants were unable to keep Justin Fields in the pocket and allowed him to get into the secondary. Fields wasn't effective in the pocket (11 of 22 for 174 passing yards), but when he was able to run the ball he was finding open space. Field rushed for 52 yards on mostly out of the pocket scrambles. Spies weren't able to keep up with Fields as he was extending drives with runs, especially on third down. But the defense was able to get pressure on fields and generate 6 sacks on the game. The Giants came into the game only forcing 4 sacks through the first three games. The Giants also did a good job of containing the Bears run game as Khalil Herbert only managed 77 yards rushing. Herbert came off of a monster 152 yard game last week and was clearly a focus for the defense.

One frustrating play on defense could have killed the momentum for the Giants. The Giants forced the Bears to a third and 20 in the first half. But instead of sitting back, playing coverage and coming up to make a tackle, the Giants were aggressive with a blitz. The Bears called the screen pass against a blitz and Herbert was able to run down the sidelines to get a first down. It was the perfect call against the blitz and not the small defensive play at that down/distance.

Defense stiffened in the red zone

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The Bears were able to move the ball for most of the first half and parts of the second half due to coverage breakdown and contain breakdown in rush defense. The Giants still have trouble setting the edge with their defensive ends and running backs are able to get free into the secondary. But in spite of that the Giants were able to hold the Bears to four field goals in the game. Good Giants were pushed down the field and the bears were set up in the red zone 4 times. But they only came away with 12 points and that's a win for the defense. The defense needs to fix the rush defense on the outside but you have to love the defense getting wins in the redzone to limit the damage.

It was one drive in particular that last season would have spelled doom for the Giants. The Giants forced the Bears offense to punt. But Richie James, who has been playing solid football so far, fumbled they punt and the Bears special teams recovered the ball. However, the Giants defense kept the Bears offense out of the end zone and held them to a field goal to keep the score 14-9. Giving up a touchdown could have been a huge momentum swing as the Giants dominated but potentially could've given up the lead.

Kudos to linebacker Tae Crowder as he played a brilliant game. In a game where the Giants use their '80s version logo and jersey, Crowder looked like a throwback of Carl Banks or Harry Carson. Tae Crowder finished the game with 11 tackles as he was all over the field making plays and in the backfield getting pressure on Justin Fields. Crowder was used as a spy for part of the game to make sure Justin Fields wouldn't rip off the long runs that he had on the first couple of drives. He responded with your tackles and found himself in position on every play. The linebacker was the last pick in the 2021 draft but looks like a steal.

Injuries piling up for Big Blue

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The Giants won the battle on Sunday, but injuries took a toll on them. The Giants already came into the game without Leonard Williams and Sterling Shepard due to injury. But during Sunday’s clash, the Giants lost both Daniel Jones (ankle) and Tyrod Taylor (concussion) to injury. The Giants also were hit with injuries to OT Evan Neal (neck), OG Mark Glowinski (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), S Julian Love (concussion), CB Aaron Robinson (knee), DL Henry Mondeaux (ankle) and DL Jihad Ward. But head coach Brian Daboll said it’s the next man up and the Giants found a way to get the win. Eventually Jones, Glowinski and Ward came back into the game but Jones was more of a stand in. The Giants will need to get healthy fast as they travel to London to face the Green Bay Packers.

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