Consecutive turnovers destroy Giants

It was three plays that stood out like Howard Stern in a crowd of pre-schoolers. Three plays that made your eyes bulge and mouth flap in disbelief. Three plays that had 78,000 fans and Giants players shaking their heads in disbelief.

The Giants offense was the culprits of three consecutive turnovers that seemed as painful as a triple bypass.

It happened in minutes, but the effect devastated the offense for the rest of the game.

The Bears had just scored a bizarre touchdown to cut the Giants lead to 14-7. Chicago started its fifth drive of the game on their 47 and proceeded to commit back-to-back false starts. Facing a 1st-and-20 from their 37, rookie Craig Krenzel zipped a pass 28 yards to receiver David Terrell. The next play, he arched a 35-yard touchdown pass to rookie Bernard Berrian in the right corner.

The Giants got the ball and after a three-yard loss by Tiki Barber and a three-yard sack by Bears defensive end Alex Brown, faced third-and-16. From the shotgun, Warner passed 10 yards to Ike Hilliard who made a move to get away from safety Mike Green. The fifth year pro stripped Hilliard of the ball and recovered it at the Giants 29-yard line.

Turnover one.

"I didn't secure the football," Hilliard said. "I was coming across the middle trying to make a play. I tried too quickly to make a play and didn't hold onto the football."

Three plays later the Bears scored when Bears running back Anthony Thomas went around left end untouched from four yards out to make it 14-14.

The next series, Warner threw a pass to Amani Toomer who was decked as the ball sailed by him. Rookie cornerback Nathan Vasher grabbed the ball and scurried 41 yards to the 9-yard line.

Turnover two.

"I don't know (what happened), I was on the ground," a despondent Toomer said.

The Giants defense stiffened, as a key sack by defensive tackle Fred Robbins helped hold the Bears to a field goal.

Déjà vu all over again. The first play of the next series, Warner badly overthrew tight end Jeremy Shockey and was intercepted by cornerback Jerry Azumah, who returned it five yards.

Turnover three.

Again the Giants defense held its ground, and Chicago increased its lead to 20-14, with another chip-shot Paul Edinger FG.

Three turnovers, three consecutive plays.

Warner was sacked seven times, the most the Giants had surrendered since 1996, finished the game with two interceptions and two fumbles. After the game, he looked like a man that had been attacked by real bears, not just 300-pound impersonators.

"Knowing that any one of those turnovers could have changed the complexion of the game, you think about it a lot. It's hard to let it go," said Warner, who stood up and answered questions calmly in front of the tough New York media.

The turn of events in which the Giants were up 14 points, then were unable to stop the Bears from scoring 28 straight points was so shocking, it harkened back to Super Bowl XXII. The Denver Broncos led 10-0 in the second quarter of that game only to watch the Washington Redskins torch them for 35 second-quarter points and deliver a 42-10 thrashing.

"They're all disappointing," Warner said. "I've never played in a game and lost that didn't hurt."

It remains to be seen how long the scars from this one will last.

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