A five-game winning streak is always nice to have when going on the road the next two weeks. The Giants beat the Chicago Bears yesterday, 22-16, in what wasn’t the prettiest game, but the job got done.
Here is what we learned from Week 11 at MetLife:
Run Game Showing Signs of Life
For the second straight week, RB Rashad Jennings has rushed over 80 yards and the Giants ground game as a whole rushed for over 100 yards for the second straight week. It was last week that they finally broke into triple digits on the run, so backing it up with this performance says a lot. Head coach Ben McAdoo is still committed to utilizing his running backs, and it appears to be working of late. Many thought that last week’s performance against the Bengals was just a fluke, but by putting up virtually the same number of yards’ in back-to-back weeks, the Giants show their running game can be a threat. It worked to pick up yards in the middle of the field and at the goal line when Jennings used his power to rush one in. The Bears rush defense was in the top ten in the league coming into the game as well making it an even bigger feat. Look for this ground game trend to continue next week with the Cleveland Browns’ rush defense second to last in the NFL.
O-Line Battles Through Adversity
OL Justin Pugh was still nursing his sprained MCL heading into this one, but with his replacement OL Brett Jones out with a calf injury, many thought this lethal Bears front nine would exploit the Giants’ weakness. However, it was the exact opposite Sunday afternoon. The O-Line kept QB Eli Manning upright the entire game, not allowing a sack to the Bears who had 11 in the previous three games, nine in the last two. The offensive line has not gotten much praise due to the fact they cannot run block. But, the offense is primarily a pass-first unit and the O-Line does a tremendous job of giving Manning a clean pocket to work with. Another brilliant performance from a “banged up” line.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon have been outstanding in the past few games, and this one here was just as memorable. JPP finished the game with four tackles and one assist, but the big stat stuffer was the two and a half sacks he posted. He was relentless off the edge, batting down QB Jay Cutler’s passes and putting constant pressure on the veteran quarterback. Vernon did exactly the same, securing a sack of his own while also being a force on stopping the Bears’ great run game. These two stars have certainly earned their paychecks up until this point and they seem to be hitting full stride. There was an emphasis for the Giants to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season, and though it started off slow with this lethal D-Line, it is paying dividends now. Most of the credit falls on Pierre-Paul and Vernon, and they should be able to feast on the Browns O-Line next week.