Sure, Eli Manning’s two interceptions early were brutal, ugly and right on par with how he has been playing all season. He was picked off on two of his first five passes.
But Manning rebounded nicely to put the Giants in a position to orchestrate a game-winning drive.
And that’s exactly what he did, until his final pass of the game skimmed off the fingertips of a leaping Brandon Myers and right into the arms of Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings for his second interception of the game.
Granted, Manning’s pass was little bit high, but that is a ball that Myers has to find a way to catch in that situation. That wound up being the only target all game to Myers, and it didn’t work out so well.
This game was really a heartbreaker – even more so than the other five losses this season. Of course, it didn’t start out well with the pick-six from Zack Bowman, who was a replacement for the injured playmaker Charles Tillman. But Manning and the Giants’ offense eventually found their rhythm.
A major question heading into this game was who would be able to run the ball effectively for the Giants, with David Wilson out with a neck injury, and Brandon Jacobs answered the call right from the start.
Jacobs ran with a head of steam all night, finishing with 22 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He must have thought it was 2007. Through the game’s first 10 minutes, Jacobs had more rushing yards (49) than he had in his first four games of this season (48).
It was great to see the running game get going in this one. The Giants had averaged 57 yards per game but finished Thursday with 123.
Through six weeks now, Manning has thrown 15 interceptions, which matches his total from all of last year. He said Monday that he thinks he’s been playing well so far this season, and for a time in this one, he did. But again, the turnovers have been crippling for Manning.
Is Manning to blame for all these interceptions? It seemed as though Rueben Randle ran the wrong route on both early picks, and the third one could have been caught by Myers.
But the decision-making from Manning has to be brought into question. Too many times he tries to create something out of nothing – like an ill-advised shovel pass or thinking he can spin completely around near his own endzone.
For what it’s worth, Giants’ rookie Justin Pugh had a huge game. Offensive linemen rarely get any credit, but even the NFL Network broadcasters were sure to acknowledge Pugh when he made good blocks. Jacobs was at his best when running to the right side, where Pugh and David Diehl – who also had a good game – make their living.
For a change, the Giants were effective on third down, finishing 7-for-11 on conversions. Many of those were the typical third-and-longs that the Giants have been faced with all season, so it was nice to actually see them convert a bit.
Another positive was to actually see some sustained drives. All three touchdown drives were for 80 yards or more. There were a few costly three-and-outs that hurt, but the Giants had a chance late, which is all we can really ask for at this point.
So the Giants are now 0-6 for the first time since 1976. At least this game was somewhat fun to watch unlike some of the others.
Big Blue is back in action next Monday night at home against the Minnesota Vikings.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.