What is the one instant of the game that Nate Solder regrets most?
Undoubtedly it would be the moment when the ball was on the turf inside the Giants’ 5 after Solder allowed Khalil Mack to sack Daniel Jones and cause a fumble. The left tackle had an opportunity to recover the loose football and retain possession for the Giants.
“I really just whiffed it,” Solder said. “That was really hard to swallow because it was just lying there and I went over it . . . I tried to cover it up because I knew they were coming. I just straight-up missed it.”
Bears defensive tackle Nick Williams ultimately recovered it at the 3, and three plays later, the Bears scored a touchdown to go ahead 19-7 in their 19-14 win. “That’s the difference in the loss,” Solder said. “I feel really bad about that . . . I’m going to see that one for years to come.”
Doesn’t Daniel Jones fumble a lot?
Yes. That was his 14th of the season and the fifth straight game in which he has lost at least one of them. It was supposed to be a focus for him during the bye week, but he got through only the first half of the first game back without one.
Why did he fumble this time?
Because Mack came down on his throwing arm just as he was about to deliver a pass to running back Saquon Barkley. “He was throwing the ball on time, it’s not like he was holding it,” Pat Shurmur said. Jones said he had room to step up in the pocket but did not sense the looming hit.
What happened to Jabrill Peppers?
He injured his hip on the kickoff return on the final play of the first half and did not come back into the game. He’ll have an MRI on Monday to assess the damage, but he appeared to be in a lot of pain after the game.
Whose idea was it to put him in there for such a meaningless kickoff return?
His. He had a 41-yard punt return earlier in the second quarter and said he was “feeling it.” After the Bears closed to within 7-3 with eight seconds left, he thought he could give the Giants a chance to score a touchdown on the kickoff, but he got to only the 24 before being tackled. “It does suck,” he said of getting injured on special teams. “But it is what it is,” he said of getting injured on special teams. “It could have happened on any play.”
Who replaced Peppers at safety?
Rookie Julian Love, who had been expected to play a little bit of a larger role in this game anyway but wound up playing most of the second half at safety. The Chicago native even had an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter. “He played a little bit more than we had planned when Peppers went down,” Shurmur said. “It looked like, for the most part, he did the right things.”
Did the Bears try to pick on the rookie in the secondary?
Yes. But not Love as much as Corey Ballentine, who was in the slot. At one point in the second half, the Bears threw four straight completions against Ballentine for a total of 117 yards and a touchdown. “Some of those routes in the third quarter, I was changing my alignments trying to play percentage routes and trying to anticipate what was coming, and they would do something else,” Ballentine said. “I kept trying to adjust and they kept running different things, and it just didn’t work. So I’ve got to be consistent and play within my game, play within our defense and let it handle itself.”
Was Saquon Barkley better than he was before the bye?
Well, he had more than one rushing yard, which was what he gained against the Jets. He finished with 59 yards on 17 carries and caught two passes . . . for one total yard. He also had a bad drop early in the game that likely would have gone for a large gain.
“Oh, man, that drop, yeah,” he said afterward. “Probably had an opportunity to do something with it if I caught it. DJ put on a great ball. I have to lock in and focus there. That’s the standard I hold myself to. At the same time, you have to move on and put it in the past.”