For the second week in a row, Thursday night actually featured an entertaining game, although only seven points were scored over the final 25 minutes (41 points were scored over the game’s first 35 minutes). The biggest theme remained Eli Manning and interceptions, as he’s now up to 15 on the season after getting picked off three times, matching his total from all of last year. Manning also mostly played within a clean pocket, as Chicago continues to struggle pressuring the passer. The second pick that resulted in a TD was likely Rueben Randle’s fault, but the final one that sealed New York’s fate was most certainly all on Manning, despite what Brad Nessler said.
Speaking of Randle, after totaling just six catches for 61 yards from Weeks 2-4, he’s now racked up 171 receiving yards and three touchdowns over his last two games. He’s likely to be even more hit-or-miss than your average WR as his team’s No. 3 wideout, but Randle is in the right setup to be a worthwhile flex option moving forward. He still makes too many mistakes though, as six of his targets this year have resulted in interceptions – the most by any wide receiver in the NFL. Moreover, not only should he have scored on this play, he also could’ve easily lost a fumble had the refs not generously declared he gave himself up…As for Manning, he got 9.2 YPA after getting just 6.0 over his previous three games. It came against a very shaky Chicago defense, but he should be a high-end QB2 for fantasy purposes from here on out.
To say I didn’t see that performance from Brandon Jacobs coming would be an understatement. The Giants haven’t been able to run the ball all season (Pro Football Focus graded them as the fourth-worst run-blocking unit entering this game), and they were up against a Bears front seven that had allowed just 3.6 YPC in 2013. But more importantly, Jacobs had looked awfully sluggish since returning to his old team. Even as a clear starter during a time in which workhorses are rarer and rarer, I didn’t rank Jacobs as a top-30 fantasy back this week. But wow, did he prove doubters wrong, as Jacobs ran for 106 yards on 22 carries, scoring two touchdowns. While there were plenty of wide open lanes, his first score from four yards out showed some impressive power. Since 2010, he had gotten 3.5 YPC. Thursday night, he got 4.8. Jacobs deserves a ton of credit for his performance, but the 31-year-old 265-pounder also appeared to suffer a leg injury late (he probably wouldn’t have returned to the game had Da’Rel Scott not left with an injury himself), so I have no idea what to make of him moving forward. At least he has extra time to recuperate for Week 7, and there’s literally no competition on this team’s roster for carries.
Victor Cruz has had back-to-back quiet games, but he got 13.6 YPT Thursday and entered with the fifth-most targets in the NFL. He should be treated as a top-20 fantasy player, at minimum…With 8:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Giants drew a flag on a play in which Hakeem Nicks was mauled, only the penalty was overturned after the refs ruled the pass uncatchable. I agree with the latter, so I see why it wasn’t pass interference, but why is that not still illegal contact on the defender? If Eli Manning throws the pass to the other side of the field, and the same defensive holding happens on Nicks, it’s a penalty right? I’m so confused…I play in one IDP league, and I decided to drop Tim Jennings (for Ryan Mundy, who tallied one whole tackle) 15 minutes before Thursday’s game started. Jennings proceeded to defend four passes and record two interceptions, including a pick-six. Funny stuff.
Since 2009, Jay Cutler had a 1:10 TD:INT ratio when playing on Thursdays, so it was nice to see him play well during the short week. He has the best completion percentage of his career by far (65.9), his second best YPA (7.5) and is on track to finish with easily his most TD passes ever (32). Marc Trestman deserves a lot of credit…”The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is a cliché because it’s often true, with Brandon Marshall the latest example…Alshon Jeffery hauled in just one of his five targets for 27 yards, but he was close to making at least two other really big plays. Bad games happen, especially with wide receivers. He’s going to be an impactful player down the stretch…Matt Forte got just 3.5 YPC but saw carries inside the five-yard line and secured all six of the passes thrown his way. He’s somewhat quietly on pace to finish with 1,829 yards from scrimmage with 88 catches and eight touchdowns. Especially when you consider just how many running backs drafted early have been major disappointments, Forte looks like a terrific asset.
The Bears are the only team in football yet to allow a fourth quarter touchdown (and they have played at least one more game than 30 other teams)…Chicago’s aggressiveness Thursday deserves praise, as they not only went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Giants’ four-yard-line early in the first quarter, but they also passed on 3rd-and-7 with 1:42 left in the fourth (this seems obvious but most NFL teams would’ve called another run play here to get the Giants to burn another timeout). To end a triumphant night for the Bears, it would be remiss if this incident wasn’t pointed out.