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Bears run game stuffed in second half

Posted Nov 20, 2016

The Giants took control of Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium by shutting down the Bears running game with eight defenders in the box in the second half.

Jeremy Langford

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants took control of Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium by shutting down the Bears running game with eight defenders in the box in the second half.

After rushing for 88 yards on 17 carries in the first and second quarters, the Bears were limited to just five yards on eight attempts in the third and fourth periods.

Asked what changed after halftime, quarterback Jay Cutler said: "We couldn't run the ball very well. We got into some passing situations and that's kind of getting into the strength of their defense."

That wasn't the case in the first half when running back Jordan Howard rushed for 72 yards on 12 carries, including a 27-yarder that set up Jeremy Langford's 1-yard touchdown run.

"We ran the ball downhill," Cutler said. "We were getting the backside cutoffs. The front side we were good. We were putting ourselves in third-and-manageable situations."

Thinned out: The injuries continued to pile up for an already decimated offense. Already playing without receivers Alshon Jeffery (suspension) and Kevin White (leg), right guard Kyle Long (ankle) and right tackle Bobby Massie (concussion), the Bears lost tight end Zach Miller (foot) and left guard Josh Sitton (ankle) in Sunday's loss.

Miller broke his foot late in the first half after catching three passes for 61 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown. While playing without Miller and Jeffery made it tough on the offense, Cutler refused to use their absence as an excuse for losing.

"Those two guys make a lot of plays for us," Cutler said. "[Miller] started off hot. We were getting him matched up against some linebackers, which we felt pretty strong about going into this game. Not to have those two guys, it's difficult. But we had chances at the end of the game.

"Our defense did a great job. We were kind of flipping field position back and forth that fourth quarter and we had a shot. We had a shot there at the end to go down and win it, which is all we can ask for."

Flat pass: The Bears' final drive stalled when Cutler's underthrown pass intended for Marquess Wilson on second-and-29 from the Giants' 49 was intercepted by safety Landon Collins at the New York 21 with 1:11 to play.

"I feel like I got clipped or something," Cutler said. "Maybe I didn't. I went to step and my foot kind of just bounced a little bit. I got wider than I wanted to and my hips couldn't work there and I couldn't get through the throw and it came out flat. I tried to put it over the top to 'Q,' give him a chance there versus the cover two defense. It was long yardage there to pick up."

Numbers game: Cutler completed 17 of 30 passes for 252 yards with one TD, one interception and an 81.5 passer rating, while counterpart Eli Manning connected on 21 of 36 passes for 227 yards with two TDs, no interceptions and a 95.5 rating. Rashad Jennings led the Giants in rushing with 85 yards on 21 carries and added five catches for 44 yards, while Sterling Shepard (50 yards) and Odell Beckham Jr. (46 yards) also had five receptions apiece.

No results: After outside linebacker Pernell McPhee virtually guaranteed during the week that the Bears pass rush would get to Manning, the Giants quarterback was not sacked Sunday.

"They did a great job of mixing up their plays with quick counts and screens and chipping and we never really got them behind the chains," McPhee said. "So they kind of messed with our pass rush."

Pair of miscues: Two failed opportunities to make plays on the ball were very costly for the Bears.

With the Bears leading 16-6 late in the first half, safety Adrian Amos dropped a sure interception over the middle on third-and-10 from the Chicago 28. On the next snap, Robbie Gould's 46-yard field goal drew the Giants to within 16-9.

Trailing 22-16 early in the fourth quarter, Dwayne Harris muffed a punt at the Giants' 40. The ball bounced right up into Joshua Bellamy's arms, but he was unable to hold onto the ball and New York's Eli Apple recovered at the 31.

News and notes: Gusty winds wreaked havoc on the kickers Sunday. The Bears' Connor Barth missed an extra point and a 51-yard field-goal attempt, while Gould missed two extra-point tries against his former team. … Bears punter Pat O'Donnell had an excellent game, however, averaging 48.2 yards on six punts with a long of 67 yards and two inside-the-20. … Deonte Thompson also excelled, averaging 29.0 yards on four kickoff returns including a season-long 40-yarder. … The Bears are now 0-6 this season when trailing entering the fourth quarter. … The Bears' 16 points in the first half were their most in any half this year, but they failed to score in the second half for the second straight game. … The Bears have now lost the coin flip in eight of 10 games this season.