COMMENTARY | With the aftertaste of back-to-back losses still lingering like bile in the Chicago Bears’ collective throat, the New York Giants’ arrival at Soldier Field looked like a tall glass of cool water. And while it looked for a moment like the Bears had gotten some down the wrong pipe, they managed to finish the drink.
After shuffling and stumbling through their first five games, the Giants could have been mistaken for a group of extras from The Walking Dead. And considering that the most exciting moment of their season came when running back David Wilson turned a double-backflip following his first TD, theirs is a series in danger of being cancelled.
The short break afforded neither team much time to lick their wounds, but the Bears came out sharp and relaxed while the Giants looked like, well, zombies.
Even though both teams might be who Denny Green thought they were, let’s go ahead and look at a few takeaways from the game anyway, shall we?
Eli is not Peyton
Upon hoisting his second Lombardi Trophy, in his brother’s then-backyard no less, it appeared that Eli had effectively removed himself from Peyton’s shadow. But while the elder Manning is shattering records for the Mile High Club, little brother’s record is 0-6.
Eli Manning is an anagram for lame inning, which is exactly what he pitched to open Thursday’s contest. But even though he settled down after chucking two interceptions in his first five throws, Manning’s INT on the Giants’ final drive sealed the game for the Bears.
Frivolous wordplay aside, the Giants QB has gone from toast of the town to just plain toast.
Rumors of the demise of the Bears’ pass rush have been greatly accurate
After tallying only one sack on Thursday, Chicago now has a whopping total of nine and is tied for 29th in the NFL in that category. This conspicuous absence of pressure has allowed opposing signal-callers to average just over 270 yards per game, which puts the Bears pass D at 23rd in the league.
Eli Manning was just as effective as the Bears front four in disrupting the Giants’ passing game. His timing and accuracy were lacking, as evidenced by the 3 picks and 58.5 QB rating.
The Bears’ remaining schedule features another matchup with Matthew Stafford, two with Aaron Rodgers, and tilts with RGIII, Tony Romo, and Brandon Weeden. Okay, that last one’s just in there to see if you’re paying attention. But they must get more pressure on the QB if they expect to keep winning.
Brandon Marshall is still the #1
After showing flashes of potential in the first four games, Alshon Jeffery broke out against the New Orleans Saints with franchise-record 218 yards, scoring a touchdown to boot. This left some wondering if perhaps he should be the Bears’ go-to WR.
Showing that he’s not the same player who pouted his way out of Denver, B-Marsh congratulated his protégé before lamenting his own decreased role. Then he went out and snagged two TD catches in the 2nd frame on Thursday.
As if his stature and reputation didn’t draw enough attention, from fans and DBs alike, Marshall donned fluorescent-green cleats for the game. It wasn’t an act of self-aggrandizement, but rather, this was an attempt to raise money and awareness for his foundation in support of those afflicted by mental illness.
Marshall pledged to match the NFL’s uniform-violation fine in the form of a donation to said charity.
The Bears still suck…in the 3rd quarter
It’s doubtful that the NFL’s Competition Committee would be willing to consider a special exemption, but the Bears need to find a way to cut out 15 minutes of each game. While they start and finish games at full throttle they’ve left the emergency brake engaged in the 3rd.
Through 5 games, the Bears were 2nd in the NFL in 1st-quarter scoring, averaging 8.2 points. They were 2nd in the 4th, where they put up a robust 10.2 points. But the 3rd quarter has been an abject disaster for the Bears, as they have managed only 3.2 points per, 25th in the league.
Despite hanging 17 on the Giants in the 2nd quarter, Chicago settled for a mere field goal in the 3rd and was uncharacteristically blanked in the 4th. While they played nearly mistake-free, the lack of scoring is a concern moving forward.
Maybe Coach Trestman’s halftime speeches have focused more on bond trading than bracing motivation. Whatever the reason, the Bears will need to solve the riddle of the 3rd quarter if they expect to make the playoffs.
Jay Cutler is going to get paid
The Debacle in Detroit aside, Jay Cutler has flourished in Marc Trestman’s quasi-West Coast offense. Through 6 games, Cutler’s passer rating of 95.2 is over 7 points higher than his career-best mark, set in 2007 with the Denver Broncos.
While it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the last of Bad Jay, his appearances are growing fewer and farther between.
Brandon Jacobs became a hot fantasy football commodity
Kudos to you if you had picked up Jacobs prior to the game, but his 106-yard, 2-TD performance Thursday Night took most of us by surprise. Chicago hadn’t seen a runner with his unique mix of raw power and balletic agility since Ron Karkovice.
Tom Coughlin is not long for New York
With their first 0-6 start since 1976, it’s time to renew the domain registration on fireTomCoughlin.com. In the past, he’s silenced doubters with a Super Bowl win, but now it looks like the Giants are in line for the Jadeveon Clowney lottery. And if Clowney is in New York next year, Coughlin won’t be.
They will now have a 10-day layoff before squaring off with the Washington Redskins (if that’s still their name by then). But the Bears proved that you don’t need rest to win; you can sleep when you’re dead. Or undead.