It was an all-around crummy afternoon for the Giants on Sunday, but after the injuries and the turnovers and the bad luck they still had a chance to win on the final snap of the ball.
"You’re standing on the 10-yard line with one play to go," Joe Judge said of the setup with four seconds to go after driving from the Bears’ 40 and in need of a touchdown to win. "That’s really what you’re working for in the two-minute drills, just give yourself an opportunity."
It was one the Giants could not take advantage of. Daniel Jones’ pass to Golden Tate at the goal line was incomplete as time expired in a 17-13 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field. A late flag on the play gave the Giants hope that they might receive an untimed down for another chance to win, but the penalty was against Tate for offensive pass interference to end the game.
The loss dropped the Giants to 0-2 for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Bears are 2-0.
That it came down to one play was fairly remarkable considering how the rest of the game played out. The Giants lost two of their top offensive playmakers to injuries in Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, Jones turned the ball over twice on an interception and a fumble, and all of that happened before they missed a desperation 57-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half and headed to the locker room trailing17-0.
That’s when things finally got interesting. A fiery halftime energized the Giants and they emerged with a renewed sense of purpose. It was almost enough to complete the comeback.
"We were all motivated," Jones said. "I think we all know what we’re capable of . . . We’re capable of much more than what we put out there in the first half. So that was the message, and I think guys heard it and responded."
The motivation came mostly in the form of Judge’s wrath. He compared it to a practice the team had before its opener when Judge laced into the players and made them restart the workout from the beginning.
"We didn’t come out here with the right kind of energy to start the game," Judge said. "We came out (in the second half) understanding there’s 30 more minutes of football and we’re going to give ourselves an opportunity to win."
It began with an interception by Julian Love that set up a field goal. Then Dion Lewis, playing in place of Barkley, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down. James Bradberry’s interception set up another field goal that made it 17-13 with 7:43 remaining.
By the time the Giants got the ball back there was 2:02 left in the game. They converted two fourth downs to set up the final play.
"We came out at halftime and said we’re going to find a lot out about the team we are," Judge said. "It’s a tough resilient group. It really is. It’s a young team that’s learning a lot about what we have to do as a team to capitalize on our opportunities."
That’s the next step.