5 Positives in Defeat for 0-6 New York Giants
New York Giants: 5 Positives in Defeat to Chicago Bears
The only other time the New York Giants have found themselves at 0-6 in the history of the game was way back in 1976.
This was back in the day when there was five teams in the NFC East and each Conference had only three divisions. Needless to say, the 1976 Giants finished at bottom of the division with a 3-11 record.
Three wins seems unthinkable for this current crop of G-Men. In truth, they were never given much of a chance heading into this game, as having to make the jaunt to Chicago isn't convenient at the best of times, let alone on a short week.
The Giants being the masters of their own downfall seems to be a recurring theme this season, no more so than in their 21-27 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. They admirably hung in there for the most part, trading scores with the home side in a first-half shootout. Their overworked defense were always going to struggle against opposition that had the fourth-best points total on the season so far, yet the Giants' offense operated efficiently to make the game a contest.
The scoring frenzy took a noticeable nosedive in the second half, although the Giants were a touchdown away from regaining the lead upon entering their final drive of the game. The Giants moved the chains across midfield thanks largely to rejuvenated running back Brandon Jacobs, yet with just over two minutes to go on the game, the curse of the turnovers reared its ugly head once more. Eli Manning served up his third pick of the day and his second to Bears cornerback Tim Jennings to keep alive the current streak of having turned the ball over at least three times a game this season.
You may think an article like reeks of desperation given the circumstances. I can assure you I am not scraping the barrel looking for any slither of light in this endless, dark tunnel. There were positives for the Giants, however fruitless they may seem for a team doomed at 0-6. In the most blatant use of an oxymoron, this was arguably the Giants' greatest defeat yet this season.
Read on for the five things that the Giants were successful at in Chicago, and that they must build on moving forward to avoid their worst ever start to an NFL season, 0-9 in 1976.
Chris Machin is a New York Giants correspondent at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Google or as a friend on Facebook
5. Jon Beason at linebacker
Jon Beason started his first game since his trade from Carolina and injected a little life into the linebacker position. Although the Giants were once again rather suspect defensively, the majority of their issues came in the secondary. The absence of a viable pass rush continues to be a concern, though the front seven did make some timely stops in the second half to give the offense a chance to go to work.
Beason played like a newbie with a point to prove; he finished the game as the leading tackler on either side with 11 solo efforts and one assist in an all-action debut that far outshone his fellow linebackers Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger.
4. Offensive Line Improvement
Since the return of David Diehl at right guard, the Giants' offensive line has looked much more sturdy. Diehl brings over a decade of experience in multiple positions on the line, which serves as the perfect compliment to the raw ability of first-round draft choice, RT Justin Pugh.
Although they hardly lined up against the most fearsome pass rushes in the previous two games, the improvement is there for all to see: the offensive line has only allowed one sack on their quarterback in each of the last two games, which is a big turnaround for the G-Men compared to the horror show in Carolina and multiple-sack showings against the Cowboys and Chiefs.
There is also a lot to be said for the role of the offensive line in the improvement of the run game. Brandon Jacobs turned in the Giants' best performance of the season on the ground, finding success left, right and centre behind some astute blocking. They also allowed their quarterback ample time in the pocket to make considered choices in the passing game -- whether or not Manning made the right choices is no fault of theirs!
3. Rueben Randle
The Giants' third choice wide receiver was coming off the back of a huge 96-yard and two touchdown game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He continued where he left off, leading his team with 75 receiving yards and hauled in the only passing touchdown of the game.
Randle is proving a handy option for Eli Manning and in only his second season as a professional, he has all the makings of being the next big receiver in New York. He went quiet in the shadow of Victor Cruz after opening the season with a 100-plus yard outing, though he has come to he party in his last two outings.
Displaying safe hands and equal capability in the slot or down the flanks, Randle made up for an incorrect route which led to the first interception of the day by hauling in a 37-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to tie the score at 14-14. As the connection and trust builds between receiver and quarterback, we are set to see a lot more of the LSU product down the stretch.
2. Second Coming Of Brandon Jacobs
Did anybody see this coming? Just when we thought the ground game had died in New York!
With injuries to David Wilson and Andre Brown, the Giants' decision to re-sign Brandon Jacobs looked like a desperate one to say the least after a distinct lack of production in his first four games. After performing a humbling U-turn on Da'Rel Scott, the Giants named Jacobs the starter on Thursday Night Football and no matter how excited he was at the opportunity, expectations were limited.
So Mr. Jacobs stepped forth and proved everybody wrong. With power from the offset and perseverance after the initial contact, Jacobs rolled back the years, displaying all of the traits that made him such a firm favorite in the latest two Super Bowl-winning teams. He was an integral part of the offense on the night, moving the chains for a number of 10-plus yard gains and important first downs when the Giants were backed up near their own goal line.
Jacobs finished the day with 106 rushing yards and two smash-mouth touchdowns in by far and away the best Giants running back performance of the season. There is life in the old dog yet.
1. Huge Improvement on 3rd Down
The New York Giants have one of the lowest third-down conversion rates in the entire NFL and it has seriously limited their offense throughout the 2013 season.
After a poor 25 percent outing against Carolina Panthers in Week 3, the Giants hit rock bottom and were nationally ridiculed after a calamitous outing vs. Kansas City Chiefs that saw them complete only one of 14 third down attempts all afternoon.
Fast forward to Week 6 and with the help of a much-improved run game and stability in the offensive line, the Giants were 7-of-11 and 63 percent on third downs -- their best outing of the season thus far, and something which must continue if they are to have any success moving forward.