The Bears brought their record to 5-6 following a 19-14 victory over the New York Giants at Soldier Field on Sunday. The game had a similar feeling to many others the Bears have lost this season. But this time, the Bears came away with the ‘W’.
As in most games, the Bears’ offense struggled right out of the gate. A 12-play, 77-yard drive notwithstanding, the Bears punted on four of their first five possessions. And even that long drive stalled when Mitch Trubisky was picked off in the end zone. The Bears salvaged their first half with an Eddy Pineiro field goal to close the second quarter.
Also like most other games, the Bears faced an early deficit. The Giants capitalized on advantageous field position, punching the ball into the end zone midway through the second quarter. Fortunately for the Bears, Aldrick Rosas — a Pro Bowl kicker last year — missed two field goals on consecutive drives after the touchdown.
The Giants could have entered halftime with a 13-3 lead. Instead, the Bears were fortunate to keep it within one possession.
Bears open second half with another touchdown drive
In keeping with recent tradition, the Bears played much better to open the second half. For the fifth consecutive game, the Bears’ first possession in the third quarter concluded with a touchdown.
After Rosas sent the opening kickoff out of bounds, Trubisky led the Bears on a 5-play, 60-yard drive. Trubisky found Robinson for a 32-yard strike that put the Bears in the lead, 10-7.
On their next offensive series, Trubisky again went to work dissecting the Giants’ woeful secondary. He hit Robinson for a 49-yard catch-and-run. He then connected with Anthony Miller on consecutive plays for 22 and 13 yards, respectively. The Bears capped off that 88-yard drive with a field goal to push their lead to 13-7.
The Bears weren’t done yet. For the third consecutive series of the half, the Bears put up points. Khalil Mack gifted them field position inside the red zone when he strip-sacked Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Head coach Matt Nagy called a designed quarterback run and Trubisky banged his way into the end zone for six.
The Bears led 19-7 at that point.
Bears’ defense bends but doesn’t break as Giants mount comeback
Looking for one more similar game script? How about this: the Bears just couldn’t close out the game in convincing fashion, allowing the Giants to keep things close.
Trubisky threw an underthrown, ill-advised pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, which was picked off by the Giants. Two possessions later, the Giants engineered an 11-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Giants receiver Golden Tate slipped between multiple Bears defenders and caught a nice throw in the back of the end zone for the score.
That score brought the Giants to within a touchdown, 19-14. After a three-and-out — again, something we’ve seen all too much this season as the Bears’ offense hasn’t been able to close out games — the Giants got one more opportunity.
Pat O’Donnell made a terrific punt which was saved from going into the end zone by Cordarrelle Patterson, and downed at the 6-yard-line by Deon Bush. The Giants made one more last-ditch effort to take the lead, but the Bears’ defense rose to the occasion and stopped them from even crossing midfield.
Incremental improvement from Trubisky
Due to his two interceptions, Trubisky had a passer rating of 69. And let’s not gloss over that fact. Turning the ball over is never acceptable, especially not in the red zone.
But aside from those errors, Trubisky slung the ball pretty well on Sunday. He actually led his receivers on several throws, allowing them to pick up yards after the catch. He connected with Robinson six times for 131 yards and with Miller 6 times for 77 yards.
Perhaps most encouraging of all was that Trubisky made some plays with his legs. His designed touchdown run aside, Trubisky sustained drives by feeling the pressure and escaping the pocket.
There still is much to be wary about when it comes to Trubisky as Bears quarterback. And skeptics will immediately point to the caliber of defense that Trubisky dissected. That’s a fair point. But it’s hard to argue against the throws he made, especially when compared to similar ones he has missed earlier in the season.
Turkey Day rematch
The Bears once again will be playing against the division rival Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving afternoon. It will be a quick turnaround for the Bears, who are looking to even their record at 6-6.
The Bears beat the Lions three weeks ago. Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was a late scratch with fractured bones in his back. Backup Jeff Driskel proved to be a bit of a surprise for the Bears’ defense due to his ability to run.
Driskel is likely to start again for the Lions this week and the Bears will be better prepared for him. The defense should be able to shut down what little run game the Lions possess, and the offense has an opportunity to exploit one of the league’s worst pass defenses.
One way or another, you can stuff yourself with turkey and fill up on wine. Then, you either bask in the fact that the Bears have pulled their record to .500, or you pass out on the couch and let your sorrows fade away.Topics: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Mitch Trubisky, New York Giants