The Bears (2-2) did not find the end zone Sunday, as they were held to four field goals in a 20-12 loss to the Giants (3-1) at MetLife Stadium.
Running back Saquon Barkley fueled the Giants offense, rushing for 146 yards on 31 carries. But it was two rushing touchdowns by quarterback Daniel Jones – both on play-action fakes to Barkley – that gave New York the edge.
“They were running the boot schemes and they were pulling guys with that,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “It makes it hard on the linebackers in terms of their eyes, so I think it was a good scheme. We had to adjust to it and we needed to do it a little bit quicker. We made that adjustment and ended up stuffing that play going forward.
“[Jones] is a good athlete. He’s a lot faster than you think and we know he’s fast. He’s a good player on the perimeter and that’s certainly a weapon you can use on offense.”
Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 11 of 22 passes for 174 yards in the loss. Receiver Darnell Mooney led the Bears with four catches for 94 yards after catching just four passes through the first three weeks.
All of the Bears points came from kicker Michael Badgley, who signed with the team on Saturday. Cairo Santos was downgraded to out Sunday morning after originally being listed as questionable due to a personal issue. Badgley went 4 for 4 on field-goal attempts, making kicks from 29, 22, 40 and 35 yards out.
“I think the main thing was just execution,” Fields said about not reaching the end zone. “Of course every red zone drive is different, but I felt like we did a good job of driving the ball and getting to the red zone. But I think we just gotta capitalize when we get down there and score 7.”
Jones finished with 71 passing yards, completing 8 of 13 passes while totaling 68 rushing yards on six carries and two scores. The Giants recorded 252 rushing yards on Sunday.
“In the first half we needed to do a better job of stopping the run with the quarterback,” Eberflus said. “I thought we did a good job of adjusting to that in the second half. Saquon ended up popping some runs on us and they ran the ball too effectively for us to win the game today. So we have to improve that for sure.”
The Bears took a 3-0 lead on their first possession of the game with Badgley’s 29-yard field goal. Fields found Mooney for an 18-yard gain before scrambling 16 yards to the Giants 40. On third down, Fields kept the drive alive with a 4-yard run. He was also hit late on the slide, drawing a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty to reach the 14.
The Giants quickly grabbed a 7-6 lead with 5:06 left in the opening quarter on a 21-yard rushing touchdown from Jones. The quarterback faked a handoff to Barkley, forcing the Bears defense to move to the right, opening up a clear path on the left side of the field to the end zone. Barkley ran for 27 yards and two first downs on the 6-play, 75-yard drive.
Badgley’s 22-yard field goal cut the Giants’ lead to 7-6 with 1:30 left in the first quarter. Fields opened the drive with a 56-yard deep ball down the left side to Mooney, who hauled it in over his shoulder at the 25. Two plays later, Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was called for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, giving the Bears a first down at the 12. But Fields was sacked on the next play, which stalled the drive.
The Giants extended their lead to 14-6 with 5:17 left in the half after Jones rushed for his second TD, capitalizing on a turnover. The Bears were driving down the field and reached the Giants 27 on a 24-yard screen pass to Khalil Herbert. But on the next play, Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari forced a fumble as Fields dropped back to throw. Thibodeaux recovered the loose ball, allowing the Giants to take over at their own 25.
While the teams came out even in the turnover battle, Eberflus said the Bears need to improve on taking care of the ball and capitalizing when they get a takeaway.
“They got one on special teams, we got one on special teams,” Eberflus said. “We got one on defense, they got one on defense. They capitalized on the one. So that’s basically the game right there. But we have to do a better job with that because we want to be on the plus side of that.”
Barkley continued to challenge the Bears on New York’s next drive, rushing for 29 yards to reach Chicago territory. Then on 2nd-and-goal, Jones faked another handoff to Barkley, rolled left again and found the end zone from 8 yards out.
After a three-and-out offensive possession, the Bears’ special teams unit came up big with a takeaway. Trenton Gill punted 50 yards to Giants receiver Richie James, but cornerback Josh Blackwell knocked the ball loose and recovered the fumble at the Giants 35.
While the offense struggled to get going, Badgley came in and hit another field goal. The 40-yarder shrunk the deficit to 14-9 with 1:44 to play in the first half.
The Bears first possession out of halftime resulted in Badgley’s fourth field goal of the day. The 35-yard kick brought the Giants lead down to 14-12. Fields completed a 23-yard pass to tight end Trevon Wesco to get the drive going, then connected with Mooney for 18 yards a few plays later.
A 44 yard field goal by Graham Gano increased the Giants lead to 17-12 with 1:37 left in the third quarter. The drive was fueled by a 40-yard pass interference penalty on rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon which gave the Giants a first down at the 22. Rookie safety Jaquan Brisker came up with a sack for a loss of 11 later in the possession, holding New York to a field goal.
Tyrod Taylor came in at quarterback for the Giants on the next drive after Jones injured his ankle. After Taylor rushed 13 yards for a first down, safety Eddie Jackson grabbed his third interception of the season on a deep pass intended for receiver Darius Slay. The Bears took over at the Giants 4, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on the takeaway, going three-and-out.
A 43-yard field goal by Gano extended New York’s lead to 20-12 with 5:34 remaining in the game. After Taylor was injured on the drive, the Giants relied on the run game to put them in scoring position, using Barkley as the quarterback in the wildcat formation.
The Bears defense forced a three-and-out with 2:13 to play, but rookie receiver Velus Jones Jr. – who made his NFL debut Sunday – muffed a punt that the Giants recovered at the Chicago 37.
“No one feels as bad as Velus does and we understand that,” Eberflus said. “We’re gonna rally our team around him. We obviously are brothers in there and we’re gonna rally around Velus. We told him that at the end of the game.”
Gameday Gallery: Bears at Giants
Watch the Bears’ Week 4 matchup against the New York Giants unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers at MetLife Stadium.