Stat worth noting: Miraculously the Giants walked away winners despite losing the turnover battle, 4-0. Eli Manning was picked off twice and also lost a fumble, as did Derrick Ward.
Stat worth noting II: New York was especially disciplined playing in quite a hostile environment. Big Blue was only penalized twice for 10 yards.
Turning point: New York had just sliced Chicago’s game-long lead to 16-14. The Bears had the ball with 6:54 to play and were looking to run off as much time as possible. However, Justin Tuck and Kawika Mitchell saw to it that no such thing would happen. On a third-and-three from near midfield, the duo combined to sack Rex Grossman. The Giants got the ball back and pulled off the comeback victory.
Play to remember: The Bears would have had New York on the ropes early but superstar Devin Hester dropped what would have been a sure TD pass with Chicago already leading 7-0. Hester, who also dabbles as a wide receiver these days, blew right by Giants safeties James Butler and Craig Dahl. However Rex Grossman’s perfect pass bounced off his shoulder pads, costing the Bears an 88-yard TD in the process.
Play to forget: With the score tied 7-all midway through the second quarter, Eli Manning dropped back to pass on a first-and-10 from the Bears 23-yard line. Before Manning could bring his arm forward to throw, the football inexplicably slipped out of his hand and fell to the turf. Anthony Adams fell on the free ball at the Chicago 29. That miscue led to the Bears taking a 10-7 lead.
By the Numbers
10 – Combined number of tackles for Michael Johnson and Kevin Dockery (five each). The youthful duo, which held up very well, was pressed into action due to injuries to Gibril Wilson and Aaron Ross.
32 – Total combined yards for Chicago’s Devin Hester.
50 – Career touchdown catches by Amani Toomer after his beautiful turf-scraping grab in the fourth quarter. Toomer is New York’s all-time leader in receiving TDs.
“We came into this game looking to be 8-4 and by the grace of God we are 8-4. It looked bleak but we kept playing. Our defense was getting the ball back. We got into the situation where we needed two scores and things started to settle down when we went into the no-huddle. Eli was very good in those two drives.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
“There is quite a big of disappointment with our team right now. Going into this game we talked about having to win out as the tournament started and it's just disappointing to lose that way. When you get a lead at home like that you need to be able to close it out.” – Bears coach Lovie Smith
What went right
New York’s top priority heading into Chicago was to prevent Devin Hester from killing them the way he destroyed Denver the previous week. Mission accomplished. Punter Jeff Feagles did a great job of pinning Hester into corners, holding him to only 16 yards on three punt returns. While kicker Lawrence Tynes seemed to be kicking the ball out of bounds at every turn, he did help limit Hester to only one 19-yard kickoff return.
Thank heavens for Derrick Ward. He was outstanding in Chicago. After missing four games with multiple ailments, Ward came to life against the Bears. He had a career high 154 yards on only 24 carries. He also scored a touchdown before being forced from the game with an ankle injury.
The Giants defense did a great job of harassing Rex Grossman, who all of a sudden looks like an NFL quarterback again. The Giants sacked Grossman six times and pressured him on countless other occasions. Not surprisingly, Justin Tuck led the way with 1.5 sacks.
Kawika Mitchell played especially well on defense. While Mitchell has struggled for the most part this season, he was all over the field against the Bears, making a few huge tackles in the process. Mitchell finished the contest with a team-high 12 tackles, including a half-sack.
What went wrong
The previously-embattled Rex Grossman threw for 296 yards in less than optimum conditions, completing passes to nine different Chicago receivers.
Despite almost perfect coverage, Sam Madison still couldn’t prevent a 50-yard catch by Bernard Berrian in the second quarter. Grossman threw a perfect pass down the left sideline and Berrian made a beautiful one-handed catch that set up a Chicago field goal.
With everyone looking to see how Eli Manning would respond after his awful performance against Minnesota, he threw an interception right to Bears LB Brian Urlacher on New York’s first drive. Manning was looking for Jeremy Shockey but instead tossed the ball right into the numbers of Chicago’s Pro Bowl LB.
New York’s big receiving guns – Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey – combined for only five catches for 61 yards.