The New York Giants boasted one of the worst offenses in the league coming into tonight's game. The G-Men were ranked 30th in points scored (16.4 points per game) and rushing offense (56.8 yards per game). Yet against the Chicago Bears, New York's offense was steadily productive.
The Giants rolled up 355 total yards, 123 of which came on the ground, in a 27-21 loss on Thursday Night Football. That is a disturbing number, as 31-year-old Brandon Jacobs – signed only due to numerous injuries at running back – rolled for 106 rushing yards on 22 carries.
The Bears were without their top three defensive tackles in this game and it showed. Corey Wootton, who has been shifted permanently inside, could not hold his ground against the run, while journeyman Landon Cohen and rookie Zack Minter were ineffective. Repeatedly, the Giants were able to gash Chicago's defense between the tackles.
And if the Giants can do it, every other team in the league will be able to pound ground yards down Chicago's throat. Against better offensive teams – so basically every other team in the league – that will come back to haunt the Bears, as it will open up play action by forcing a safety into the box.
Long-term, the success of the Giants running the ball is a disturbing sign.
Yet Chicago's defense made up for it with three turnovers, one of which Tim Jennings returned for a touchdown.
"I had a good read on it. I had a good break on it and he threw it," Jennings said after the game. "I don't know what the receiver did because I was just playing the quarterback the whole time. He threw it and I had a good bead on it and I was able to get my hands on it with nobody in front of me."
Jennings also sealed the game with a late fourth-quarter interception. Zack Bowman, filling in for the injured Charles Tillman, also had his first regular season interception since 2009 on the Giants' first drive of the game.
"It was a great opportunity starting out and a way for us to get off the field," said Bowman. "He dropped back, was looking my way and he threw it. I had a good read and good break and was able to make the play."
The problem is that the Bears did not force any of the three interceptions. Eli Manning had some pressure on Bowman's pick but it doesn't justify his horrible throw. And Jennings' pick-six? That was hand-wrapped and delivered to Jennings on a platter. Additionally, Jennings' final interception came on a pass where Giants tight end Brandon Myers was wide open down the seam, yet he let the ball bounce off his hands.
Those were three egregious mistakes by the Giants. Yes, the Bears took advantage of those mistakes but when those mistakes don't happen, Chicago doesn't win. Just go back to last week's Saints game if you don't believe me.
Because in between those turnovers, the Bears are giving up yards and points at a historic rate. It's a tough situation, as injuries have depleted the unit, creating a gaping hole in the middle of the front seven. And with both D.J. Williams (chest) and James Anderson (back) leaving the game with injuries, the defense could lose even more experience in the near future.
It's a situation you don't want to think about before going to bed tonight.
On the other side of the ball, things are running much smoother. For the second week in a row, Jay Cutler did not throw an interception and did a great job managing the game and not putting his team in bad situations. He finished the game with 262 passing yards and two touchdowns, good for a QB rating of 106.5.
Cutler's favorite target was Brandon Marshall, who talked all week about wanting the ball more. That's exactly what he got, with Cutler targeting him 11 times. He caught nine of those targets for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte also played their part, catching six passes apiece. The only player who didn't get in on the fun was Alshon Jeffery, who followed up last week's record-breaking performance with a one-catch, 27-yard outing, despite five targets.
The offensive line was also solid and did not give up a single sack. That may not be as impressive as it sounds – the Giants came into the game ranked dead last in the league in sacks – but the dominance Chicago's front five showed was impressive.
From here on out, we may have to accept the fact this is a team that is going to put points on the board, but they will also allow plenty of points as well. The offense is as good as we've seen in 15 years but the defense is a mess. If defensive coordinator Mel Tucker doesn't quickly right the ship – and he's done nothing in his career to lead us to believe he can accomplish that goal – then we just need to get used to shootouts.
At the very least, you can't say the Bears are boring any more.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.