OFFENSE: For the first time in his career, Daniel Jones started a game and did not throw a TD pass. It ended a streak of 13 straight for him, two shy of the franchise record to start a Giants career (Y.A. Tittle had 15 in a row). What did not stop were his turnovers. The interception may have been a bit unlucky with Evan Engram slipping in his route, but getting stripped of the ball by Robert Quinn followed a fairly familiar form. It gives Jones four turnovers in the first two games. Engram came on late with six catches for 65 yards, both team highs. The Giants were 3-for-13 on third downs, but 3-for-3 on fourth downs, including Dion Lewis’ 1-yard touchdown run. That Saquon Barkley left after the first play of the second quarter with a knee injury but still managed to be the team’s leading rusher (28 yards on four carries) does not bode well for the team’s ability to overcome his absence.
DEFENSE: The Giants didn’t allow any points in the second half, but that does not mean they played flawlessly. Their last series on the field was, in fact, one of the main reasons the team was unable to complete its comeback. The Giants had all of the momentum and the Bears put together a 12-play, 59-yard drive that ate up 5:41 of the final 7:43 that remained when they received the kickoff. It was utterly unlucky that the drive continued when right tackle Bobby Massie caught a deflected pass on fourth-and-2 for a first down, but there were plenty of other opportunities to stop the Bears before that. Couple that with the first possession in which the Bears drove 77 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown, with David Montgomery scooting through the secondary for a 28-yard touchdown reception as the capper and the Giants’ defense had some pretty poor bookends to their day. In between there were some highlights, including four sacks and two interceptions.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Graham Gano missed a 57-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the half that would have given the team more of a boost heading into the third quarter. It also would have allowed them to play for a field goal rather than a touchdown at the end if all else played out the same. Some bad breaks included a punt that looked to be downed at the 1 by Brandon Williams but wound up flagged for an illegal touch since he had gone out of bounds, and a returnable punt that Jabrill Peppers could not see in the sun, so he had to duck away from it and it was downed at the 14. C.J. Board had a 34-yard kickoff return that gave the Giants a little bit of spark.
COACHING: Any defensive scheme that has Nate Ebner on the field is a bad one, and the Giants got burned on it for the first touchdown of the game when he missed a tackle. Ebner was signed as a special teams ace from New England, and while Joe Judge said he trusts him to know the defense, he had played just one defensive snap in the past three seasons for the Patriots. The Giants also had a defensive philosophy that included rushing three players and dropping the rest into coverage. That requires defensive backs to stick to their men, and Corey Ballentine was unable to do so on the touchdown he allowed to Darnell Mooney. Offensively, there was not much the Giants could do once Barkley and then Sterling Shepard left the field. Not that he could have foreseen Barkley’s injury but Judge did leave the team shorthanded by having running back Wayne Gallman on the inactive list. That left 29-year-old Dion Lewis as the only true running back available once Barkley was carted off. Lewis had 20 yards on 10 carries, more carries than 20 of his past 21 games (he started once for the Titans last year when Derrick Henry was rested prior to the postseason).