After the Chicago Bears’ offense put up two touchdowns–courtesy of Brandon Marshall–against the New York Giants’ defense with relative ease in the first half , the team continued their offensive success to begin the third quarter.
The Bears received the ball first in the second half and the offense drove the ball to the Giants’ 28-yard line before a holding penalty on center Roberto Garza pushed the team back to the Giants’ 38-yard line. A 4 yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett from Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler set up a 52-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
A trend that continued on the Bears’ first possession of the second half is the offensive line play. Cutler, throughout the game, had time to make plays with his arm and his feet. That is what enabled “Good Jay” to once again emerge for the Bears’ offense.
The Bears’ defense finally showed some signs of life to begin the third quarter. On the Giants’ first offensive drive of the second half, the Bears forced Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense to go three-and-out. On third down of that drive, Lance Briggs recorded the first sack of the game for the Bears’ defense.
It was important that the Chicago Bears did not let up to begin the third quarter. The Bears were successful in doing so as a field goal by the offense and a three-and-out by the defense to begin the quarter thwarted any potential surge from the Giants. To speak to the offensive success for the Bears on Thursday, it was not until the team’s second possession of the third quarter that they recorded their first punt of the game.
The punt, though, seemed to ignite a switch for the Giants’ offense. The drive was almost thwarted for the Giants when wide receiver Rueben Randle almost threw away the possession for the Giants’ offense.
On a third down play for the Giants offense, Randle proceeded to make a catch for a first down. After the catch, Randle slipped to the ground, once recovered, the receiver threw the ball onto the ground in frustration. After the Bears pleaded that it was a fumble, the referees clarified that Randle gave himself up on the play.
A pass interference penalty on Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings on the next play set the Giants’ up in a goal-line situation. That is when Giants’ running back Brandon Jacobs ran into the end-zone for his second touchdown of the game and brought the Giants to within 6 points of the Bears.
The defensive play of the Bears remained a concern. As evident on the drive that resulted in Jacobs’ second touchdown of the game, the Bears’ defense simply struggled in keeping the Giants’ offense off the scoreboard. Once again on the late third quarter drive by the Giants’ offense, the Bears run defense was exposed. The Giants, on the season, have struggled in running the ball; their success against the Bears certainly presents a concern for Chicago’s decimated defensive line.
The Bears defense was set to be tested after the Bears’ offense was able to take the first five minutes of the fourth quarter off the game-clock but was unable to come away with any points on the drive. In what was a rarity on Thursday, the Bears’ defense was successful as they forced a three-and-out by the Giants’ offense.
Once again, the Bears’ offense was able to take some time off the game-clock but after the drive faltered once again without any points, the Bears’ defense was set to be put in a position to secure the victory for the team as the Giants would have the ball on offense once more with 5:21 left in the game.
After the Giants spent the next three minutes and change driving down the field and seemingly getting closer to scoring a touchdown, their drive was quickly halted when Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning threw his third interception of the game marking the second interception of the game for Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings.
The difference in this game was the Bears’ offense and the turnovers. As was the case in the Bears’ last victory this season that came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bears’ needed all three Giants’ turnovers to secure the victory on Thursday. With the exception of those three takeaways, the Bears’ defense and their inability to contain Jacobs is what almost sent the team to a three game losing streak. Though, Cutler and Marshall were in sync on Thursday as the Giants’ defense had no answer for the quarterback-wide receiver combination. Cutler finished the game with 262 passing yards and two touchdowns while Marshall was the recipient of those two touchdowns in addition to having 87 receiving yards on 9 receptions.
For the Bears, the team now has 10 days until they play next this season against the Washington Redskins. Though, during that span, questions over the team’s defense will grow louder.