Bears hit hard by injuries in loss to Giants
Unlike last week, when the Bears played horribly for the entire 60 minutes in a 36-10 loss to the Buccaneers, they at least played well for one half of Sunday's 22-16 loss to the Giants.
In some ways, that might make it worse.
"This one's going to be a hard one to swallow," quarterback Jay Cutler told reporters after the game at MetLife Stadium. "These games that you lose and you definitely have a chance to win at the end, those are the ones that keep you up at night."
The Bears drove to the Giants' 30-yard at the 2-minute warning, but a sack and Cutler's only interception, just outside the red zone with 1:11 left, ended any comeback hopes.
It was another disappointing loss by the 2-8 Bears and was again made worse by several injuries in a season that has seen a slew of players felled.
"It's a loss," Bears coach John Fox said in summation. "Very disappointing. We did have some injuries and had some guys step in and did OK, just not quite well enough -- but a loss."
The worst of Sunday's injuries was a head/neck injury to rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who was removed from the field on a backboard, although he had movement in all his extremities. Tight end Zach Miller was lost with a fractured foot near the end of the first half.
Left guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and backup cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc (concussion) also were unable to finish the game. Sitton's loss left the Bears' O-line with backups at three of five spots, and Miller's loss coupled with the four-game suspension of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, left the offense in tatters.
Asked if the current injury situation was the worst he's ever experienced, Fox was unsure.
"It's up there," he said. "Been doing it for a little bit, so it's hard to remember 27 years ago, but it's up in the top five for sure."
Despite having trailed 16-6 late in the second quarter, the 7-3 Giants surged to a 22-16 advantage midway through the third quarter. Sterling Shepard's 15-yard TD reception from Eli Manning gave the Giants their first lead of the day.
The Bears had an opportunity to cut the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Connor Barth's 51-yard FG attempt hit the right upright.
After a lackluster first half, the Giants went 66 yards with the second-half kickoff, scoring on Manning's 9-yard pass to tight end Will Tye to tie the game 16-16.
The Bears had controlled the first half, rushing for 88 yards, including 72 by Jordan Howard on 12 carries (6.0-yard average).
Howard's 27-yard burst set the stage for Jeremy Langford's 1-yard score and a 16-6 Bears lead.
A 46-yard field goal by Giants kicker Robbie Gould, who spent the previous 11 seasons with the Bears, narrowed the gap to 16-9 at halftime.
But after halftime, the Bears' offense went into early hibernation. After 214 first-half yards, they managed just 101 in the second half. After scoring on their first three possessions, the Bears were blanked for the final 38 minutes and 35 seconds.
What happened? Aside from the mounting injuries, that is?
"We couldn't run the ball very well," Cutler said. "They got us in some passing situations, and that's getting into the strength of their defense. We were running the ball (in the first half), we were getting downhill, putting ourselves in third-and-manageable situations."
After halftime the Bears rushed eight times for 5 yards. Behind a patchwork offensive line and minus his top two targets, Cutler was sacked four times in the second half after staying clean in the first 30 minutes.
"It's crazy," Cutler said of the injuries. "Obviously injuries are part of the game (but) they're starting too add up pretty quickly."
So are the losses.
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