CHICAGO — Eli Manning started the game with two horrific interceptions. He ended it with one more that probably wasn't entirely his fault. At the end of the day, the result was the same for the New York Giants: another loss, this one 27-21 to the Chicago Bears, dropping the Giants to an 0-6 record that feels hard to believe.
Except when you consider the lack of communication and cohesion on a team that has talent but seems to shoot itself in the foot with costly turnovers every game. Their total for the season 22 — one more in six games than in all of the 2012 season.
The Giants got off to a nightmarish start early, with Manning's two picks — one by replacement starter Zach Bowman returned to the Giants' 12-yard line, and one run back for a touchdown by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings. In both cases, the Bears were in zone defense, with the defensive backs staring into the backfield. Manning stared back, fortunately for the Bears.
The Bears bailed the Giants out on the first one on a strange sequence: first running on third-and-5, then going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Giants' 4-yard line, with Brandon Marshall dropping the pass that would have gotten the first down and likely a score.
But Marshall, who had been unhappy with the number of passes thrown his way in recent games, had to be thrilled with the diet Jay Cutler fed him. In the first half, Marshall had eight passes thrown his way, catching six for 65 yards and two scores. Marshall might have gotten away with a little push-off on the second TD, which gave the Bears the lead for good, but his athletic gifts — and bright green shoes — were on display early, with several highlight plays.
Manning rallied his troops a few times, finishing with 239 yards on 14-of-26 passes, but he could not finish the operation. The Giants got the ball back at their own 11-yard line with 5:21 remaining and mounted a drive, with key third-down conversions and some hard and 2008-esque running from Brandon Jacobs, who finished with a stunning 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns a week after looking slow with no burst.
But it wasn't enough, as Manning overthrew wide-open tight end Brandon Myers, the pass tipping off his fingers and into the hands of Jennings, who atoned for missing a possible pick a few plays earlier.
The Giants are 0-6. They have no pass rush. The two first-quarter interceptions were obvious mixups on routes with Manning and Rueben Randle. On Marshall's first touchdown, safety Will Hill ran onto the field seconds before the snap and then allowed Marshall to score in front of him.
This looks like a team that will have a top-three pick, which a month ago seemed impossible. Are the issues correctable? Will there be sweeping changes? The answer to the latter question is a decided no, but as to whether Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese, Manning and Co. can turn this thing back around — next year, who are we kidding? — it might require some hard changes.
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