On the surface, the game was a meaningless contest between a division leader (Chicago) and a division cellar dweller (Giants). Instead, fans at MetLife Stadium were treated Sunday to an overtime thriller ending in a 30-27 Giants victory.
The game was an ugly, brutal contest reminiscent of the days of when the Giants played their home games at the Polo Grounds.
The Bears were without the services of the injured Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) so Chase Daniel was the starter. On the second play from scrimmage, linebacker Alec Ogletree had a clear path to put Daniel on his posterior. Instead, Ogletree parlayed near the line of scrimmage. When Daniel zipped the pass, Ogletree tipped the pass and picked it off.
Ogletree sped into the end zone with Daniel in hot pursuit, scoring the Giants’ first touchdown and stiff-arming the Bears’ quarterback for good measure. It was Ogletree’s second pick-six in his past three games (he also returned an interception for a touchdown in the Giants’ Week 11 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
The Giants defense forced three turnovers (including another interception by Ogletree) and had a season-high five sacks of Daniel. The offense provided trickery in the form of a 49-yard touchdown pass from Odell Beckham Jr. to Russell Shepard early in the third quarter. Beckham also caught a 1-yard, fourth down touchdown from Eli Manning to give the Giants a 24-14 lead.
The Giants seemed to have victory in hand after a 37-yard Aldrick Rosas field goal increased the lead to 27-17 with 1:49 left in regulation. Instead, Chicago rallied behind Daniel and the Giants shot themselves in the foot with inopportune penalties.
The Bears got a 21-yard field goal from Cody Parkey to cut the lead to 27-20. Then, Daniel Brown recovered the ensuing onside kick after Beckham did not dive for the lost ball. There was also a dubious pass interference call against cornerback B.W. Webb with three seconds left in regulation. The Bears tied the game with a 1-yard touchdown pass from halfback Tarik Cohen to Anthony Miller as time expired.
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Rosas’ game-winning field goal was set up by a 29-yard run from Saquon Barkley, who finished the game with 125 yards on 24 carries. The victory was sealed when cornerback Janoris Jenkins knocked a fourth-down pass away from Taylor Gabriel after Daniel fumbled on consecutive plays.
Rosas kicked three goals against Chicago but it was his second that was historic. His 57-yarder on the final play of the first half was the longest in Giants history. Ali Haji-Sheikh kicked two 56-field goals in the 1983 season: in a 27-3 Week 4 win over the Green Bay Packers and in a 15-9 Week 10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
The 4-8 Giants snapped the Bears’ five-game winning streak. It was the third win in four games since the team’s bye week. It was the type of game that does nothing for playoff positioning but it was the type of signature win a team can build on for the remainder of this season…and beyond.
“The takeaway is, and I told the team this, some people are fond of talented people, some people are fond of smart people, I’m fond of tough, resilient people,” head coach Pat Shurmur said. “When you are trying to flip culture and when you are trying to build something, you have to dig in on that. There was some toughness and resiliency when they came back to tie things up.”
The Giants’ four victories surpass last season’s total, which makes this season a success in terms of wins and losses.
“It speaks to the resiliency of the guys,” left tackle Nate Solder said. “It speaks about the type of guys we have in the locker room and we just have to keep doing it and moving forward and believing in each other and doing it together.”
The Giants face the 6-5 Washington Redskins next Sunday at FedEx Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST. The Redskins and 5-6 Philadelphia Eagles finish Week 13 Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.