I’m glad my four-year-old son went to bed early Sunday night. Because I don’t know how I would’ve explained what happened to the Bears offense…or the bad words that came out of my mouth after watching that unit play.
In one of the worst offensive performances by one team you’ll ever see, the Giants manhandled the Bears during a 17-3 win in the new Meadowlands Stadium. How bad was it? Consider the Bears…
- Gave up 9 sacks in the first half; the last of which by Giants DB Aaron Ross knocked Jay Cutler out of the game just before halftime with a concussion.
- Managed -1 yard of total offense in the second quarter.
- Were 0 for 13 on 3rd downs.
- Netted only 6 first downs, 110 total yards, 3 INTs and 1 fumble over the entire game.
Running for his life in his only half of action, Cutler finished the game 8-11 for 42 yards and a bad INT he threw into double coverage on the Bears side of the field. Nearly half of the Giants sacks on Cutler could be attributed to #6 holding onto the ball too long. But not helping matters was the fact that the Bears dysfunctional offensive line play took a blow when guard Lance Louis left the game with a leg injury in the second quarter. He was replaced by Edwin Williams. Rookie 7throunder Jamarcus Webb also saw significant time at right tackle.
Despite the 9 first-half sacks, the Bears trailed only 3-0 at halftime after their defense – again led by Julius Peppers – held the Giants’ offense to 98 total yards.
Entering the game, those on the Chicago side had to be encouraged about the prospects of facing a banged up Giants line who was playing without leading sackman Mathias Kiwanuka and DT Rocky Bernard.
But like previous games against the Cowboys and Packers, the Bears offense gave up sacks early and often. Only this time, Cutler wouldn’t finish the game.
With Cutler out, Todd Collins started the second half, but like Cutler, 1) he couldn’t direct the Bears offense anywhere near the Giants endzone and 2) he wouldn’t finish the game thanks to a ferocious hit by a blitzing Giants LB.
With the score 3-0 in late in the 3rdquarter, the Giants went on an impressive 8-play, 90-yard drive that ended in a tough Ahmad Bradshaw 3-yard TD run to give the Giants a 10-0 lead. After Giants RB Brandon Jacobs fumbled a handoff, the Bears recovered and ‘managed’ a 4-play, 7-yard drive that ended in a 40-yard Robbie Gould field goal.
That would be the Bears’ best drive all night.
Late in the fourth quarter, Zack Bowman made a great hustle play to force a Bradshaw fumble at the Bears 1 when it looked like he’d score on a long touchdown run. The Bears recovered, but to the surprise of no one, could not manage a single first down. A short punt was returned to the Bears 32 and the Giants punched the ball in the end zone two plays later, taking a 17-3 lead that all but sealed the deal for the G-men.
After Collins was injured in the 4thquarter, Caleb Hanie mopped up the mess that was the Bear offense. And not to be left out, Hanie was also the recipient of one of the Giants 10 sacks.
It’ll be an interesting week at Halas Hall, with most questions focusing on the Bears putrid offensive play. Will Cutler recover in time to play next week against Carolina? If he doesn’t, which backup will the Bears turn the keys over to – Collins or Hanie? What can the Bears’ offensive Mikes (Martz and Tice) do to get consistent line play out of a unit that’s proven they can’t pass or run block to save their you-know-whats?
Regardless, the Bears stand 3-1 at the completion of the first quarter of the season, tied for first place in their division. But going into Sunday, everyone in the league knew the Bears were a flawed 3-0. How flawed? We should know in the next few weeks…