CHICAGO — Maybe you forgot all the issues that cripple the Giants. Because they had not played in two weeks thanks to the bye, perhaps you were lulled into the peaceful ignorance that comes from not watching them play. You may even have been optimistic enough to think that during the time away, they might have addressed some of their shortcomings and fixed some of their foibles.
Then there was Sunday’s game against the Bears, and it all came flooding back.
The bad football. The poor execution. The turnovers.
The Giants fell to 2-9 with their seventh straight defeat, losing to the Bears, 19-14. The five-point loss was made more painful by their two missed field goals and a fumble inside their own 5 that led to a Bears touchdown. Those three plays represented a 12-point swing.
“Definitely frustrating, because it was another one of those games that we had an opportunity to win and we just didn’t figure it out,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “It’s upsetting. When you look at our team and see how much talent we have and the great coaches we have, too, you wouldn’t expect us to be 2-9. We have so much talent. But things, I don’t know why, for some reason, things just don’t go our way in games.”
For the first time in the Giants’ 95-year history, they will go through the months of October and November without a victory. Their next game is against the Packers on Dec. 1. The last time the Giants lost seven straight was in 2014.
“This is not fun for anybody,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “It’s frustrating for sure to keep losing. We’ve got five more opportunities to try and get a win. We got to look forward to that.”
With the Giants trailing 19-7 and facing a fourth-and-18, Daniel Jones hit Golden Tate for a 23-yard touchdown with 4:10 remaining to cap an 11-play, 97-yard drive. The defense posted a three-and-out and forced a punt, giving the Giants the ball at their 6 with 3:37 left and no timeouts remaining.
Jones hit Darius Slayton for a gain of 17 on fourth-and-4 from the 12 to keep the drive alive, then threw three straight incompletions after the two-minute warning to end the game.
The Giants had every right to be more in control of the game at halftime than they were with their precarious 7-3 lead. Jones hit tight end Kaden Smith for a 3-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter to give the Giants a 7-0 lead, and Aldrick Rosas then missed two makeable field goals.
The first, a 42-yard attempt preceded by an awful snap from Zak DeOssie, went wide right with 5:45 left in the half. The second, on a better snap and hold, went wide left from 43 yards out with 1:55 left.
“The reality of it is you’ve got to make them,” coach Pat Shurmur said of the missed kicks. “We’ve got to do more when we get closer. We have to be scoring touchdowns instead of kicking field goals in a close game like this.”
The Bears kicked a 26-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the half to close to 7-3 at the break and received the second-half kickoff. They should have had to punt after Markus Golden sacked Mitchell Trubisky on third-and-10 from the Giants’ 37, but a holding penalty against Janoris Jenkins gave the Bears an automatic first down. On the next play, Trubisky hit Allen Robinson for a 32-yard touchdown and a 10-7 lead.
After another field goal by the Bears, Jones was sacked from behind by Khalil Mack and coughed up his 14th fumble of the season. It was recovered by Nick Williams at the 3, and three plays later, Trubisky ran it in for a 2-yard touchdown that made it 19-7 (the Bears initially went for two, and after a pair of penalties, they missed a 48-yard extra-point kick).
That was the one that doomed them.
And so, the Giants have five games left in this inglorious season. They have one more month on the calendar to sully. Or, perhaps, salvage something.
“I think the guys we have on the team, when you look across the board, we have a lot of players that can make plays,” Jones said. “When you look at our season, this stretch, we’ve played well at times but haven’t done so consistently enough. I think that consistency is what we’re searching for, it’s what we need to achieve if we want to be better. I think we’re certainly capable. I think everyone’s mindset is just to get back on track.
“Certainly, we have the means to do it.”
So why aren’t they, you should ask?
“You have to do what you have to do to win the game,” Shurmur said.
For the longest time now, that’s the one thing the Giants have been incapable of doing.