The Bears offense couldn't get out of its own way against the Giants in the first half, scoring just three points, but that changed fast in the second half. Bears head coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made the necessary halftime adjustments and it resulted in finding major success in the passing game after the break and a 19-14 Chicago victory.
It was a game of miscues for the Giants, who saw two botched field goals take six points off the board in the first half. The Giants finally changed their game plan -- to establish the inside-zone run game and call run plays on first down -- but it was too late. With under eight minutes to go, the Giants used an up-tempo offensive game plan that relied on Daniel Jones' dropbacks. The result? An 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive. Why did Pat Shurmur wait so long to change it up? He'll have to answer that question this week.
Still, even after all of that, the Giants came up with a huge stop on a third down on the ensuing series. Typical of the Giants' 2019 season, they were outcoached when Nagy bluffed that the Bears were going for it on fourth-and-2 from inside their own 30-yard line. The Bears shuffled in their punter fast, the Giants looked completely unprepared, and eventually allowed a punt to roll all the way inside their own 6-yard line.
Jones had one final chance to orchestrate a 94-yard touchdown drive after the 97-yarder he led the series before, but he came up short after picking up a couple of first downs.
Why the Bears won
Simply put, the Bears outcoached the Giants. This is most obvious when it comes to the halftime adjustments Nagy and Trubisky made on the offensive side of the ball after the second quarter. The Bears opened the second half with multiple chunk-yardage passing plays taking advantage of the same coverages Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher used to slow down Chicago's passing game in the first half. On the flip side, the Bears continued to take advantage of the Giants' offensive game plan -- one that relied heavily on first down rushing attempts and getting the ball to Saquon Barkley in tight spaces -- forcing the Giants' rookie quarterback into second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
Why the Giants lost
The Giants' myriad of mental errors and avoidable mistakes defined their seventh consecutive loss. In the first half, the Giants couldn't capitalize on scoring opportunities -- with two missed Aldrick Rosas field goal attempts. Rosas has gone from the 2018 All-Pro NFC kicker to one of the NFC's shakiest in 2019. The Giants finally flipped their offensive plan of attack -- using tempo, 11 personnel, spread, and getting their rookie quarterback into the shotgun -- where he's quite clearly most comfortable -- but that didn't come until midway through the final quarter. The Giants lost a game where they won the turnover battle.
The game got out of hand after the Giants botched a first and 10 situation midway through the third quarter while trailing 13-7. On the first down play, the Giants asked Jones to take a deep drop and before he could release a quick-hitting pass, Mack beat left tackle Nate Solder so cleanly that he was able to force a fumble on Jones' release. If you're looking only at the box score, it will be easy to follow the Jones-fumbling narrative, but this one is more aptly-described as an elite play by one of the NFL's elite pass rushers against one of the NFL's bottom-tier blindside pass protectors.
Play of the game
The Giants had an opportunity to grab back the momentum from the Bears after their first touchdown drive of the second half. The Giants backed the Bears back up into a second-and-long situation from inside their own 10-yard line when Trubisky lofted a perfectly-placed pass to Robinson. This play would be the first of several lapses in coverage for a Giants secondary that has given up its fair share of passing plays of 15-plus yards over the course of the 2019 season.
Quote of the game
"I just whiffed it," Giants left tackle Nate Solder said of the sack, fumble he allowed, via The Post's Ryan Dunleavy. "That one was tough to swallow."
The Bears would go on to recover the fumble inside the Giants' 10-yard line and turn their ensuing possession into a short touchdown. Giants fans have seen Solder whiff far too often over the last two seasons for one of the NFL's highest-paid offensive tackle.
The Bears have a short turnaround as they travel to Detroit for the first Thanksgiving game this Thursday. The Giants will host the AFC North-leading Green Bay Packers during the early slate of Sunday games.
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