Bears @ Giants
Final Score: Giants 20, Bears 12
Writer: Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)
We came into this game expecting lots of running, a low score, and subpar quarterback play; it didn’t disappoint. After a Giants punt to start, the Bears struck first with a field goal–one of three they would kick in the first half. Daniel Jones ran in a pair of scores to give the Giants a 14-9 lead, one which they would never give up. The two teams traded a pair of field goals in the third and the Giants added one final field goal in the fourth, giving us a final score of 20-12 and a Giants win. The Bears (2-2) travel to Minnesota next week while the 3-1 Giants head to Green Bay. Here’s what I saw today.
Justin Fields: 11/22, 174 Yards | 7 Carries, 52 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost), 1 Fumble (Recovered)
This was Justin Fields’ best start of the year, granted the bar was pretty low with him averaging 99 passing yards per game in his first three contests. Fields made a nice pass to a wide-open Darnell Mooney on the first drive and picked up a pair of first downs with his legs later on the drive. Fields made his best throw of the day to start the team’s second drive, hitting Mooney again for a 51-yard bomb set up by play action. I loved this play call and want to see the Bears putting Fields in more situations like this: use the run and play action to set up plays early for Fields to build his confidence. This was the ideal start, save for the team settling for two field goals. The third drive was going well but ended with a Fields fumble. He was hit right as he was about to start throwing, and the Giants recovered the ball. I can’t blame Fields too much, aside from not feeling the pressure closing in.
Fields’ best plays came whenever he ran the ball and he mostly struggled to pass–outside of a few nice throws early. Some of this comes down to pressure (six sacks) while some of it was the coaches not trusting their quarterback in big moments. The Bears punted the ball away with three minutes left, and I said “game over” as I watched it happen. There were also a couple of drops that cost Fields as well, which gives credence to the Fields-just-needs-weapons argument. This is still a bad passing offense–blame whoever you want–and Fields’ upside depends completely on his legs. I can’t start him based on what I’ve seen, and my gut tells me it’s unlikely he is the future for this team. Let’s hope the rest of the season proves me wrong.
Khalil Herbert: 19 Carries, 77 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 24 Yards
Trestan Ebner: 6 Carries, 20 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 8 Yards | 1 Fumble (Lost), 1 Fumble (Recovered)
Khalil Herbert ran into lots of contact today, facing a defense that was well prepared for him. The Giants knew the Bears would be running and they took appropriate steps to slow them down. Herbert picked up mostly short gains early, but he did break a nice 9-yd gain on the second drive–fighting hard through multiple tacklers. Herbert’s best play of the day came on the third drive. On third-and-20, the team dialed up a short screen to Herbert. Again, we can tell what this coaching staff currently thinks of its quarterback. Herbert made some great moves and turned it into a 24-yard gain for the first. Herbert is a great option as long as Montgomery is out, but I don’t see him having stolen the team’s lead role.
Trestan Ebner saw a series or two but hasn’t shown enough to challenge Montgomery or Herbert in their roles.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Darnell Mooney: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 94 Yards
Trevon Wesco: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 23 Yards
Cole Kmet: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 16 Yards
Equanimeous St. Brown: 2 Targets, 9 Yards
Dante Pettis: 3 Targets
Ihmir Smith-Marsette: 1 Target
Darnell Mooney, welcome to the 2022 season! Mooney was clearly a priority early, and it paid off. He caught an 18-yard pass after finding a hole in the Giants’ zone coverage. He started the second drive with an excellent catch deep for 56 yards. Mooney was lined up on the left and ran past off coverage. The safeties bit in on the play-action run fake, and Mooney won his one-on-one battle. He made a great adjustment to make the catch and this highlights what we thought we’d see from Mooney this season. All this being said, the Bears were playing a bad run defense and we can’t count on this output week to week. Still, keep an eye on Mooney.
Cole Kmet is probably the next closest name to relevance here, but he should be considered anything but. Kmet struggles at his position, highlighted by a play where he held a defender at the line, was called for the hold, and still gave up the tackle for loss on the play to that held defender. Kmet had a nice catch-and-run, but he is clearly not the breakout player I expected before the season started.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones: 8/13, 71 Yards | 6 Carries, 68 Yards, 2 TD
Tyrod Taylor: 1/3, 11 Yards, INT | 3 Carries, 30 Yards
Daniel Jones was in a nice rhythm early, thanks in large part to a Bears defense that was completely dumb-founded by the QB bootleg. The Giants keep rolling Jones out, and he kept running for large chunks at a time. On the first drive, Jones threw a nice pass on the run to Richie James who couldn’t haul it in. To start the second drive, Jones rolled out and waited for a defender to bite. The moment it happened, Jones threw over him for an easy first. Jones later found Daniel Bellinger on a similar play and ended the drive with a rushing touchdown on yet another play-action rollout. Jones did this again on the team’s fourth drive for yet another touchdown rush. Jones was knocked out of the game but came back in after his backup was soon also knocked out. Jones will have a harder time playing better defenses but he did well with what he was given.
Tyrod Taylor briefly came in and ran well in his brief time. His day ended when he dove head first on a first-down run and was blasted with a huge helmet-to-helmet hit. Taylor entered the concussion protocol and wasn’t seen again.
Saquon Barkley: 31 Carries, 146 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 16 Yards
Matt Breida: 3 Carries, 18 Yards
Gary Brightwell: 1 Carry, 1 Fumble (Recovered)
Saquon Barkley was excellent today. The defense knew the run was coming but still struggled to stop Barkley–who repeatedly gashed them for huge gains. On the second drive, Barkley followed some great blocking to pick up 19 almost untouched. Barkley started off the next drive with another first-down gain. The Giants’ fourth drive saw Barkley break through an initial tackle attempt and blasted forward for 29. Still, his best play of the day was his 15-yard catch. Daniel Jones dumped the ball to Barkley and he was immediately hit in the backfield. Barkley broke free, changed direction, and eventually found space for a 15-yard gain on the third-and-nine play. Barkley is a fun athlete to watch, and he put on a show today against Chicago. Full steam ahead as long as he’s healthy.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Daniel Bellinger: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 23 Yards
Tanner Hudson: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 18 Yards
Darius Slayton: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 11 Yards
Richie James: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)
David Sills V: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 5 Yards
Kenny Golladay: 1 Target
If I could find anything worth saying about this group, I would. Richie James was the top target, but the team didn’t bother to pass. They didn’t need to. This group is in desperate need of a playmaker and I don’t see him on the roster.