EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It should have been enough of a defensive effort to win. And maybe with even a little help from the offense, it would have been.
After holding Eli Manning and the Giants offense to 9 points and 146 yards in the first half, the defense cracked in the second half, allowing touchdown drives on New York’s first two possessions of the second half – a tortured flashback to last week against Tampa Bay, when a missed third-down stop on the first series of the second half mushroomed into a three-score lead instead of setting up a Bears comeback.
To its credit, however, the defense put aside the failure of the offense to provide any support and managed to slow down the Giants after the initial third-quarter flurry. The Giants were unable to score over the final 22 minutes, although neither were the Bears.
“At the end of the day our end goal is to come away with the victory,” said cornerback Tracy Porter. “Although it was a close game, we didn’t pull it out in the end.”
Defensive line: C
Eli Manning was under virtually no pressure throughout, none from the down-linemen in particular. And New York, one of the NFL’s poorer rushing teams, averaged 4.7 yards on nine runs by backs in the first half. No Bears defensive lineman registered a tackle for loss and only Akiem Hicks (1) and C.J. Wilson (2) managed hits on Manning.
Hicks was credited with five tackles and Wilson had three. But rookie Jonathan Bullard did not show up on the stat sheet with any individual plays and Cornelius Washington contributed just 2 assisted tackles.
[MORE BEARS-GIANTS COVERAGE: Bears offense grades]
Leonard Floyd gave the Giants a look at what they missed out on when the Bears vaulted them in the draft to grab Floyd at No. 9. Floyd brought consistent pressure off the right edge against tackle Ereck Flowers, netting two tackles, one for loss, before he was forced out with an apparent neck injury.
Danny Trevathan had a game-high 11 tackles, but appeared to struggle in several situations in the first half, in both coverage and run support, unable to wrap up or force plays. Jerrell Freeman finished with 10 tackles and a pass deflected.
The edge rushers were generally ineffective throughout. Pernell McPhee had a hit on Eli Manning and a tackle for loss, but it was his only tackle for the game. Willie Young had three assisted tackles but was a non-factor in the pass rush.
Injuries were costly in the secondary, with deep reserves involved in a couple of notable big gainers. But coverage against Giants receivers was excellent early, against multiple New York receivers with extreme big-play capabilities. Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes at the outset of the second half, but the Bears did not let wideouts rule the game despite a lack of pressure on Manning from the front seven.
Deon Bush earned his first NFL start and performed well, bringing deep help to thwart a potential New York deep completion in the second quarter and being fast into run support. Bush forced a third-down incompletion in the fourth quarter when the Bears desperately needed a stop. The rookie finished with seven tackles, three of them solo.
Adrian Amos let his first NFL interception go through his hands in the second quarter, a missed takeaway that allowed the Giants to kick a 46-yard field goal. Bryce Callahan contributed five tackles and a pass deflection.
Special teams: D-
Connor Barth pushing a PAT wide right after a huge opening drive by the offense was a severe buzz-kill, maybe even more so with ex-Bear Robbie Gould on the Giants sideline in part because of missed PATs in the Cleveland preseason game. A 40-yard conversion later was something but after Robbie Gould missed a PAT of his own, the potential was there for Barth’s miss to be fatal.
Barth added to the second-half problems when he doink’ed a field goal try of 51 yards off the right upright, giving the Bears zero points and the Giants field position on the turnaround.
It will not show up in the stats but Josh Bellamy failed to gather in a muffed punt inside the New York end, a potential takeaway that would have positioned the Bears for a go-ahead score.
Deonte Thompson turned in a 40-yard KOR in the first quarter, the longest by or against the Bears this season. Thompson got his second return (27 yards) to the Chicago 33 for some field position. Adrian Amos delivered a KOR stop at the New York 15 in the second quarter