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Giants Q&A: Robbie Gould had rough day vs. former team

New York Giants kicker Robbie Gould (5) kicks

New York Giants kicker Robbie Gould (5) kicks an extra point against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

How did Robbie Gould’s first game against his former team go?

Not according to plan. The kicker, who spent 11 seasons with the Bears before his release at the end of this preseason, missed two extra points for the Giants yesterday in their 22-16 win. Gould had missed only four extra points in his career before his wind-addled performance at MetLife Stadium.

“It was tough conditions, obviously, but I have to go out there and do a little bit better job,” he said of kicking in the notorious Meadowlands winds that gusted up to 40 mph yesterday. “I put the defense in a tough position at the end of the game and luckily those guys came through, but I have to step up and do my job.”

Did Gould at least enjoy facing the Bears?

Nope. “It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “Just seeing everybody, saying hello and everybody coming up, I didn’t think it would be as difficult . . . I think I talked to every single person on the team, which made it special.”

So the Bears were vindicated for cutting Gould?

Not quite. His replacement, Connor Barth, missed an extra point and a 51-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter. There were no winners.

How many sacks did the Giants allow?

Not as many as Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee thought they would. McPhee taunted the Giants early in the week, stating that he and the defense would “tear their [butt] up.” Eli Manning was hit four times — once by McPhee — but the offensive line did not allow a sack.

“I think we were supposed to give up a lot of sacks, but we didn’t,” center Weston Richburg said.

“We just did what we came in to do,” tackle Bobby Hart said. “You can’t blame him. He’s trying to give his team something to play for. It was a great effort.”

What did McPhee say after the game?

“I think [Manning] did a great job of getting the ball out fast, he did a great job of mixing it up,” he said. “I think we came in prepared and ready to rush. We just never got him behind the chains.”

As for his remarks during the week, McPhee said: “I’m always trying to fire up my teammates, but I was saying what I felt at the time. Obviously, we didn’t do it, and it is what it is.”

How did the threat of a running quarterback help the Giants’ offense?

Wait. Ask that again. How did the threat of a running quarterback help the Giants’ offense?

With the score tied at 16 in the third quarter, Manning scrambled for 4 yards to convert a third-and-4. He slid so awkwardly that cornerback Tracy Porter injured himself trying to tackle/avoid him.

On the next play, Manning rolled to his right and looked as if he were going to scramble again. When the defense came up to face that possibility, Victor Cruz slipped behind them and Manning lofted a pass that went for 48 yards and set up the winning touchdown.

“Eli Vick,” Richburg said of Manning. “That was a huge play.”

“You want to keep the defense honest however we can get it,” Cruz said of the big play. He chuckled when it was noted that Manning’s running set up the play. “Which is rare,” he said.

Ben McAdoo likes going for it on fourth down, huh?

The Giants did it twice, successfully, a week after doing so on the game-winning touchdown play against the Bengals. This time McAdoo eschewed a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Bears’ 17 on the opening drive and Manning hit Sterling Shepard for a 15-yard gain to set up a touchdown. In the second quarter, he went for it on fourth-and-2 from the 33 and Manning hit Rashad Jennings to convert the first down on the way to a field goal.

“We have confidence in our guys to punch it in there,” McAdoo said.

“Going for it on fourth down seemed pretty natural,” Manning said.

McAdoo told him that they will continue to be aggressive in those scenarios.

Who was injured for the Bears?

Who wasn’t? By the end of the game, the Bears were without tight end Zach Miller (broken foot), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Cre’Von LeBlanc (concussion). They also lost rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd to a scary neck injury in the fourth quarter that required him to be carted off the field. He later was released from the hospital and returned to Chicago with the team.

How did Cruz come out of the game?

“Feels fantastic,” he said of his ankle, which caused him to miss last week’s game. Cruz played a bit more than he probably expected after rookie wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr. left the game in the second quarter with a concussion. Other Giants injuries included receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris (wrist) and guard Marshall Newhouse (knee), but both returned to finish the game.

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