I'll spare you all the usual platitudes of this game as yet another one that was in reach but the opponent just pulled away, because by the end of the game the Bears just had nothing left. Mathematically, unlike the Browns, the Bears can still say they're in the playoff hunt, except not at all.
They're injured. They're beat down. Jay Cutler would have needed to be nothing short of MacGuyver to piece together any kind of offense by the time Zach Miller left with a foot injury and the Bears had their third backup offensive lineman inserted when Josh Sitton left the field. They were left with an offensive line and skill positions reminiscent of the 2008 through 2011 teams that cued the "Offensive line and receivers!" refrain.
Yet none of that matters because this is a bad football team in a bad, even worse place than you would think they could ever be, especially with the loss of Leonard Floyd to a head and neck injury (though at last report, he did fly home with the team).
- It's disappointing because even when the Bears have about as solid of a start as we have seen from them, they continue their trend of bad second halves demonstrating their ever-increasing likelihood of ending the season with a top-5 draft pick. This football team is occasionally able to show good flashes of football. Unfortunately, the team just doesn't have the capability to play 20 minutes of good football, much less 60.
- Between Connor Barth and Robbie Gould, they contributed three missed extra points to a combined league record of 11 missed extra points on the day. Which, I mean, it at least adds a little more tension to was was nothing short of a gimme, but that display was ridiculous. Then again, there was a lot of wind pretty much everywhere messing with everything, especially with a kicker who was at home until a couple weeks ago and, well, with Connor Barth. The wind was definitely a factor in Eli Manning missing several throws over the top heading from left to right on your TV screen, as well as aiding Pat O'Donnell with a booming punt.
- As an aside - Pat O'Donnell hasn't been having an awful year. Not quite what the Bears were looking for when they drafted a punter, but also not awful.
- Jordan Howard had another game where he started out hot on the ground (finishing with 17 carries for 77 yards), but then in the second half vanished like a prop in a magic trick. Maybe his three drops in the passing game contributed to that. Hopefully it was just a bad game, but they were really pretty terrible drops. Howard had eight targets in the passing game. He caught just one.
- Even when Dowell Loggains occasionally finds a good playcalling rhythm, he still does things that just boggle the mind. Take, for instance, third and 8 at the Giants' 24 in the first quarter in the shotgun; Eddie Royal charges back deep into the backfield, has to come to a complete stop, then rush forward for two yards. A stop and start usually isn't going to go ten yards before meeting a tackler. Just saying.
- Okay, Jay Cutler's game. Cutler, for all things considered, played a solid game, having a triple-digit passer rating right to the final minutes. Going with a backup right tackle and backup right guard in Ted Larsen and Mike Adams in place of Kyle Long and Bobbie massie, Cutler faced a fair amount of pressure from the right side (in fact, most of the runs went up the left side, away from the backup side of the ball). Once Sitton went down, all bets were off, and Cutler ate four sacks in the second half. He ran out of weapons after Miller left and Howard effectively vanished, and again, the offense contributed to giving the Giants' many more opportunities to salt the game away. Fortunately, after taking the lead, the Giants' offense couldn't find additional ways to score either, or this could have been a lot worse; unfortunately, the Bears' offense ran out of gas after the second quarter.
- Zach Miller looked really good before he left the game, both in his receiving game as well as his ability to chip against the pass rush. Speaking of working against the pass rush, I think I can do without Mike Adams, and Charles Leno despite looking competent throughout the year does still have flaws in his game and lapses in technique. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon (combined 3.5 sacks) were problems for the entire game.
- So, the Bears' pass rush that was looking really fierce as of late stalled out completely against really good enough Giants' pass protection and the elusiveness and quick trigger of Eli Manning. Pernell McPhee's guarantee the Bears would sack Manning went completely unfulfilled; McPhee himself only added one tackle and one quarterback hit (of four) to the stat sheet. CJ Wilson, signed on Tuesday and pressed into duty right away, played on a mission, adding two quarterback hits of his own.
- Deon Bush got his first career start, and I think I'm a little encouraged, but I think I need to see more from him. Both he and Adrian Amos had good chances for interceptions but neither could reel their chances in. Amos' was right into both of his hands before falling to the ground.
- Remember last year when Jeremy Langford looked confident, hit holes with authority and looked like the latest greatest rookie sensation? Yeah, me neither. Least he catches the ball out of the backfield somewhat well?
- The Giants had a punt return clank off their returner's facemask. Josh Bellamy had it bounce up and off his own chest before the Giants recovered it. That would have given the Bears prime field position to where even they would have had a chance to score a touchdown. (Note: I did say a chance, don't get too crazy...)
- Cre'Von LeBlanc could well be a player as his career goes on, but he was part of the "no tackling" crew on the Giants' converted 4th and 2, then burned by O'Dell Beckham to push to first and goal on the Giants' game-tying touchdown. Then he left hurt. The Bears have had a lot of young defensive backs come in and flash - which is a problem, because they've had to have a lot of guys come in.
- Neither team was effective on third down, especially in the second half, finishing a collective 9 of 26 on third down (the Giants did convert both their opportunities on fourth down, and both of which were calls I agree with, even if I think Bob MacAdoo looks like Billy Bob Thornton thirty years younger).
Oddly enough, I think that's all I have today. There's a lot to unpack from this game, but ultimately, the consequences on this team and this season are nil at this point. Playoffs? No. Seeing young developmental guys that matter? That's Leonard Floyd, maybe the safeties, maybe Cameron Meredith, and... Cody Whitehair? This team is on a death march and we're all along for the ride.
If the Bears had a season made of their first-half pushes, they may be knocking on the door of contention for a playoff berth. If the Bears had a season made of their second halves, they'd be in contention for the #1 overall pick. They're 2-8 on the season; draw your own conclusions.
What did you notice from yesterday's game?