It’s week 3 of the NFL preseason and that means jobs around the league are definitely on the line. The outcome of the game wasn’t what the Giants were hoping for as they lose to the Chicago Bears 20-17. The Giants played their 1st team starters for the entire first half and despite losing tonight, head coach Tom Coughlin has to be pleased with what he saw from his big name players and also from the injection of youth in the form of their top rookies.
The offense continues to come together for the Giants. This week the spotlight was on the highly talked about rookie running back David Wilson. Wilson took reps with the first team this week and with Ahmad Bradshaw inactive because of a hand injury, he was expected to touch the football often tonight and he didn’t disappoint. Wilson looked elusive and explosive against the Bears first team defense. He broke tackles and showed a great change of pace. Wilson finished with 5 carries for 49 yards and 2 receptions for 26 yards. It was exactly what Tom Coughlin wanted to see from him tonight.
Right at the top of the list of concerns for the Giants has to be their secondary. It’s been an issue throughout the preseason and now it’s reaching red flag status. Cornerback Prince Amukamara went down after tackling wide receiver Brandon Marshall in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field. Amukamara went to the locker room for x-rays which came back negative, however Coughlin did announce that he suffered a high ankle sprain. The Giants are dangerously thin at secondary with Terrell Thomas already out and they were counting on Amukamara to step up. This injury could very well cause him to miss the regular season opener against Dallas.
Eli Manning played well tonight and shook off a slow start to get the Giants offense cranked up in the second quarter. He finished the night going 17 for 21, 148 yards and a touchdown. Manning caught fire with a 10-play drive that saw him go 7/7 for 59 yards, topped off with an 11 yard td pass to Ramses Barden. Barden made the most of his opportunities tonight. The 6’6 wide receiver made an array of dazzling catches, using his height to cause matchup problems in the Chicago secondary. Barden needed a big game, it seemed as if he could very well be on the bubble heading into this week and he may have brought himself some more time to start showing consistently that he can get it done.
Manning also continues to build chemistry with tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett’s blocking will be key for the Giants, however the former Dallas Cowboy is shaping up to be another big target for Manning in the passing game.
The Giants first team defense put a hurting on the Bears first team offense in the 1st half. Quarterback Jay Cutler struggled to get any consistency with the passing game and running back Matt Forte couldn’t get going against the defensive line of the Giants. Forte was held to 4 rushing yards on 8 carries in the first half.
Special Teams came up big tonight for the Giants with a blocked punt by Da’ Rel Scott and recovery by Greg Jones. Mark Herzlich also forced a Bears fumble on a kickoff return.
The Giants have a short week to prepare for their preseason finale against the New England Patriots. Starters are most likely going to have the night off. It could be the last chance for players who are on the bubble as teams will soon begin trimming down their rosters for the regular season.