The Bears led the Giants 16-6 Sunday at MetLife Stadium before allowing 16 unanswered points en route to a deflating 22-16 loss. Here are three things that stood out about the game:
(1) The Bears aren't using the rash of injuries they've suffered this season as an excuse, but losing five more players Sunday gave them virtually no chance to upset the Giants.
Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton left Sunday's game with an ankle injury.
Already thinned out by injuries on both sides of the ball, the Bears lost tight end Zach Miller (broken foot), left guard Josh Sitton (ankle), outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (neck), cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc (concussion) and linebacker Christian Jones (back) on Sunday.
By the end of the game, the Bears were playing without 10 of 22 starters. On offense, the list includes Pro Bowl receiver Alshon Jeffery (PED suspension), Pro Bowl guards Sitton and Kyle Long (ankle), and a third lineman in right tackle Bobby Massie (concussion).
What may hurt most is that injuries have sidelined several young players who need to develop to form the core of the team moving forward. Those who are injured include the Bears' last four No. 1 draft choices in Long (2013), cornerback Kyle Fuller (2014), receiver Kevin White (2015) and Floyd (2016) as well as their second- and third-round picks in last year's draft in nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and center Hroniss Grasu (knee), respectively.
Asked if this is the most attrition he's ever dealt with during his NFL career, Bears coach John Fox said: "It's up there. I've been doing this for a little bit. It's hard to remember 27 years ago. But this is up in the top five for sure."
(2) The Bears' inability to generate takeaways was costly again Sunday.
The Bears failed to produce a takeaway for the fourth time this season and have registered just eight in 10 games this year. The only NFL team with fewer takeaways is the Jaguars with seven. With so few turnovers, the Bears offense constantly must march the length of the field to score.
The defense forced punts on five straight possessions while limiting the Giants to two first downs in the second half Sunday. But the subsequent drives started at the Bears' 20, 14, 18, 30 and 22.
The Bears had two golden opportunities to take the ball away but came away empty on both occasions. Late in the first half, Adrian Amos dropped a sure interception 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.
With the Bears trailing 22-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Giants' 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.
"When you have close games like that, one-score games, those can be the difference," Fox said. "That's something that our guys realize and we'll continue to work on moving forward."
(3) As has been the case most of the season, the Bears were unable to play a complete game.
After scoring on their first three possessions for the first time this year, the Bears were blanked on their final eight drives that ended with six punts, a missed field goal and an interception.
"Some things happened to us in the game," Fox said. "For instance, losing Zach Miller took us out of a personnel group that had been a little more successful in the first half, which we weren't able to have in the second half because we only had three tight ends up and we lost one. There's a three-tight end package we used in the first half that wasn't available in the second half."
The Bears rushed for 88 yards on 17 carries in the first half, but were limited to five yards on eight attempts in the second half by a Giants defense that put more players near the line of scrimmage.
"There is an opponent out there," Fox said. "There are things that do dictate whether you run or pass. When people load the box and it's an eight- or nine-man front, it's not real conducive."
Asked why Cutler didn't have more success throwing the ball against a defense that was focused on stopping the run, Fox said: "There's a lot that goes into the passing game other than the quarterback. Protection is part of it. The ability to get open. We knew going in that the secondary was one of their strong points and without a couple wideouts that are now not able to be with us that that was going to be a little bit of a tough matchup and it proved to be true."