Saquon Barkley put a ridiculous spin move on Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara in the second quarter, and then nearly spun out of another tackle on the same play. It was a violent move that sure seemed to prove he wasn't still bothered by his ankle injury.
So if that's not it: What in the world is wrong with Saquon Barkley?
That question has to be asked after he had another low-impact performance in the Giants' ugly, 19-14 loss in Chicago. He gained just 59 yards on 17 carries - 22 of which came on one fourth quarter run. Coupled with his disaster against the Jets (13 carries, one yard) he now has just 60 rushing yards on 30 carries in the last two games.
And it's not just his running that's taken a hit either. He had a chance to make his mark early in the passing game when the Giants got him wide open on a wheel route with 20 open yards in front of him. Jones hit him in the hands with a pass ... and it bounced right off.
Yes, the offensive line is not helping. He is taking a pounding, and usually taking it before he gets to the line of scrimmage. But as a rookie, Barkley found a way to either sidestep those hits or to bounce off of them and turn a broken play into a positive one instead. This season, though - at least since he sprained his ankle in Week 3 - the big plays that made him a superstar seem to be gone.
These are the sad, inexplicable numbers. Until his 22-yard run in the fourth quarter on Sunday, he hadn't had a run go longer than 20 yards since Week 2. In the last three games he's got 88 total rushing yards (on 44 carries). And in the last five (since his return from an ankle injury) he's rushed 81 times for 224 yards - or 2.8 yards per rush.
That is definitely not Saquon-like.
Is it his ankle? A lot of people who've watched him said he doesn't look like himself, and the ankle makes for easy speculation. But that spin move makes it hard to believe he's playing hurt. It could be the offensive line. It could be a lot of things. But there's no doubt Barkley doesn't look like the player he was when he was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year last year.
Here are some more takeaways from the Giants' seventh straight loss ...
That 97-yard drive ended with a ridiculous throw from QB Daniel Jones (21 of 36, 150 yards, two touchdowns). On 4th and 18 he was under pressure, stepped up in the pocket, and uncorked a throw into the end zone where he found Golden Tate, surrounded by three Bears, for a 23-yard touchdown. There really can't be anyone left who doubts Jones' talent.
Giants LT Nate Solder did a pretty good job on Khalil Mack, who remains one of the toughest edge rushers in the NFL. It only takes one, of course, and Mack got his in the third quarter, steaming around Solder and hammering Jones for a strip sack. The Bears recovered at the three and eventually scored. Solder did wear down in the fourth quarter, as so many do against Mack. In general, though, it was a pretty good day for Solder, with an extremely difficult assignment.
There wasn't much he could've done on that play, but Jones has now lost a fumble in five straight games (11 fumbles and seven lost fumbles in that span). It goes on his total, but it's hardly a sign of poor ball security when he's hammered from his blind side as he's about to uncork a throw.
So many strange coaching moves, but here are three that really make no sense: On a 4th and 4 with about 14 minutes to go and trailing by two scores the Giants go for it. Fine. But they call a play with WR Sterling Shepard running short of the first down marker? And that's where Jones throws it? Why give a rookie QB that option? ... And later, still down two scores, the Giants get the ball back at their own 3 with 9:05 remaining. They actually went on a 97-yard touchdown drive, but because they huddled up and took their time, they ate up four minutes on the clock. Why not go no-huddle? Or at least show a little urgency? ... And with the Bears lining up to go for it on 4th and 2 with about 4 minutes left, they were obviously faking it and quickly ran their punt team on the field. One problem? The Giants didn't have a returner on the field, even though several play defense. They got caught and the Bears were able to down the punt at the 6.
There certainly have been worse performances by the Giants' defense, and they did get intercpetions by LB Alec Ogletree (in the end zone) and rookie S Julian Love. But their pass rush remains abysmal. Their worst moment came when they had the Bears in a 3rd-and-11, backed up against their own end zone. Trubisky had about six seconds to dance behind the line with not even ahint of pressure. Finally, a hole opened and he took off for a 12-yard gain and a first down.
Rough day for rookie CB Corey Ballentine, who was such a pleasant surprise this season. He had a lot of trouble covering Bears WR Allen Robinson, who finished with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. In the second half attimes it seemed the Bears were just picking on him. Whatever receiver he lined up on, that's where Mitch Trubisky seemed to throw.
Zak DeOssie has been a mainstay for the Giants since they drafted him in the fourth round out of Brown in 2007, but it looks like that's coming to an end. He has been struggling this season and he had an absolutely horrendous snap in the second quarter on a missed 42-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. He literally rolled it back to the holder. His snap on Rosas' next miss wasn't exactly on the mark either. A few weeks ago the Giants signed long-snapper Colin Holba to their practice squad - an unusual move. They touted it as a move for the future, but the way the 35-year-old DeOssie is going, the future may be now.
Rosas' struggles are an equal concern, whether the snaps on his kicks were good or not. He has now missed a kick in five straight games - a streak that includes three missed field goals and three missed extra points. And he kicked his second-half opening kickoff out of bounds, too. Rosas was a Pro Bowler last year and he's only 24, so his job isn't in any jeopardy. DeOssie may take the fall for Rosas' struggles, but it's a situation to watch, nonetheless.
Leonard Williams the Giant looks very much like Leonard Williams the Jet, which is to say he doesn't seem to have much of an impact on anything. The Giants were sure they could bring the best out of him, which is why they sent a third and a fifth to the Jets for him at the trading deadline. But how are they going to throw big money at him in the offseason with performances like this?He had one assisted tackle in the entire game.