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Beyond the Boxscore: Giants 22 Bears 16 Final

While most fans had their eyes on the boxscore following the game, the Giants Beat digs a little deeper to reveal the variables and factors that dictated the outcome in Week 11.

  The Weather: For the first time all season, the New York Giants experienced what a typical late-November day feels like in the Meadowlands.  Cold and windy conditions proved to be a nightmare for both kickers, with New York’s Robbie Gould missing two extra points despite having played in less than favorable conditions in Chicago Bears for the first 11 years of his career.  The weather was also a factor for quarterback Eli Manning who, although he was successful with 227 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, found that he had to put more zip on his throws with the wind constantly swirling about on the field.  Perhaps the unfavorable conditions were the reason why Rashad Jennings rushed the ball a season-high 21 times and if so, the Giants need to be grateful since they were able to establish some resemblance of a running game for the second straight week.

2.   Zach Miller injury: If Miller hadn’t been injured at the end of the first half, it is very likely that Chicago would have won the game.  Miller stepped up in the absence of Alshon Jeffery, catching three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.  The difference in Chicago’s offensive attack was notable come the second half, when Jordan Howard's numbers very significantly reduced when compared to the first half.  Howard carried the ball 12 times for 72 yards in the first half, while only totaling five yards on eight carries in the second half.  Most people would attribute that drastic dip in production to the New York defense, which came out inspired after an embarrassing first half performance, but Zach Miller’s injury was the real factor.  Losing him was equivalent to losing the passing game completely, and without that balance, Howard struggled to get anything going on the ground as the Giant’s defensive front seven was able to focus on him since they knew that he would be getting the ball often.  It’s more than likely that if Zach Miller didn’t sustain an injury, Howard would have continued his dominant performance into the second half with more room to run with New York having to respect the pass, resulting in a closer game and a Chicago win.

3.      The improved play of the Giant offensive line: Although the statistics of Rashad Jennings the past few weeks have shown vastly improved play from the New York offensive line, signs of their development has been most evident on the field where statistics are as valuable as the paper they’re printed on.  On Sunday the unit looked in sync, keeping Eli off of the turf for the entire game while making crisp blocks and pulls that opened up gaping holes in Chicago’s defensive front.  More times than not, Weston Richburg could be seen springing Jennings with a key block and running the helpless defender into the turf for a pancake.  They’re playing confidently and aggressively, and without their efforts, the Giants might have struggled with a pass-heavy attack in tough weather conditions.  Maybe the offensive line has finally realized that they’re the only cogs in the machine that weren’t working and were holding the Giants back from being a real championship contender.         


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