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NY Times: Cutler Sharp as Bears Pounce on Weakened Giants


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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/sports/football/23giants.html

Bears 17, Giants 3

By JOE LAPOINTE

CHICAGO — During the Giants’ dreary 17-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on Saturday night in a preseason game at Soldier Field, it was difficult to determine which Giants first-string unit looked worse: the offense or the defense.

At times, Bears defenders were pressuring Giants quarterback Eli Manning, sacking him twice, forcing him to fumble, knocking him down as he released the ball and forcing him to intentionally ground a pass.

Other times, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was connecting with receivers running freely through the Giants’ secondary, helping build a 17-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin did not put the brunt of the blame on either side.

“There isn’t one phase I thought played well,” Coughlin said. “I didn’t think we were physical at all.”

Coughlin referred to the Giants’ approach as “throwing darts at the wall” and added, “quite frankly, we got embarrassed.” The result left the Giants’ preseason record at 1-1.

The team started Saturday’s game with a weakened linebacker group as Antonio Pierce, who plays the middle and is the captain of the defense, did not suit up because of a foot injury.

The group thinned out early when Danny Clark, who plays the strong side, left the game with a gash in his chin after tackling Chicago tight end Greg Olsen helmet-first.

Clark’s early absence (he returned during the second quarter) was only part of the reason the Giants trailed by 17-3 at halftime. Cutler’s performance — 8 of 13 for 121 yards and a touchdown — encouraged the Soldier Field crowd watching him for the first time at home.

Cutler joined the Bears in a trade from Denver in the off-season, forcing a deal after he felt slighted by Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels, who had tried to acquire quarterback Matt Cassel from the New England Patriots.

The Broncos sent Cutler, who passed for more than 4,500 yards last season, to Chicago for a package that included quarterback Kyle Orton and two first-round draft choices.

McDaniels, the Patriots’ former offensive coordinator, had replaced the dismissed Mike Shanahan in Denver. Cassel, New England’s quarterback last season, was eventually traded to Kansas City.

Chase Blackburn, Pierce’s replacement in the middle, lacked crispness in his tackling in the early action as the Bears had 282 yards in the first half compared with 99 for the Giants.

Clint Sintim, Clark’s initial replacement at linebacker, did not display the aggression he did in the first exhibition game last Monday against Carolina, when he pressured the pass pocket from a three-point stance on the line.

Defensive end Justin Tuck said he did not think the performance by the defense, which also lost tackle Jay Alford early in the third quarter to a knee sprain, was as bad as it looked.

“We’ll be O.K., we just didn’t get off the field,” he said. “We’ll get back to work.”

Some of the Giants’ problems on offense were caused in part by the continuing absence of the injured first-string guards Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

Almost all of Manning’s passes were short ones. He was 7 for 10 for 62 yards; two of his completions went to Steve Smith for 30 yards.

Manning’s analysis was similar to that of Tuck’s.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Manning said. “There will be some good things to come out of this.”

After Robbie Gould kicked a 44-yard field goal for Chicago, Matt Forte increased the lead to 10-0 with a 32-yard touchdown run, and Desmond Clark caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to make the score 17-0.

Lawrence Tynes closed all of the scoring with a 42-yard field goal with 3 minutes 23 seconds left in the first half.

Saturday’s game was the first appearance for Smith, cornerback Corey Webster and defensive tackle Fred Robbins.

Smith missed the exhibition opener, a 24-17 victory, with a knee injury. Webster has recovered from a hip flexor, and Robbins is returning from off-season knee surgery.

On the Giants’ first play from scrimmage, Smith caught a pass from Manning for a 5-yard gain. He later gained 25 yards on another reception and run. Manning also threw to his running backs, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Still out with injuries for the Giants were safety Kenny Phillips (knee), cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring), defensive lineman Chris Canty (hamstring), defensive lineman Rocky Bernard (hamstring) and linebacker Michael Boley (hip surgery).

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Wow, if they struggled against the Bears, imagine how they will do against our improved pass rush.

especially if Haynesworth gets into shape...

He was sucking wind after the first few plays last night.

So....by improved pass rush.....do you mean going from completely inept to mediocre?

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;6662773']What did your response have anything to do with what I stated about Antonio Pierce? And I can have it both ways. It was just a bad game that will cause concern if it hapens again.
You seem to be implying that the Giants' bad D was somehow due to the absence of Pierce. But in this thread and others you've stated that it was just a bad game. So if it was just a bad game, how did you come to the conclusion that "Antonio Pierce means more to the defense than even Giants' fans realized"? Or was it not just a bad game?
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You seem to be implying that the Giants' bad D was somehow due to the absence of Pierce. But in this thread and others you've stated that it was just a bad game. So if it was just a bad game, how did you come to the conclusion that "Antonio Pierce means more to the defense than even Giants' fans realized"? Or was it not just a bad game?

A lot of players were out of position or seemed to be lost. Pierce normally has everyone where they belong. But, some of the players I am referring too were in there because of injuries to starters. It could be because Pierce wasn't in there or because half the starters were missing from the defense or both. Hopefully, they will all be there next week and we can see if those were the reasons or if there is a bigger problem. I'm thinking it was because of all of the injured players/starters not playing.

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especially if Haynesworth gets into shape...

He was sucking wind after the first few plays last night.

So....by improved pass rush.....do you mean going from completely inept to mediocre?

Yeah, because Haynesworth, the All-Pro, is really known for how out of shape he's been lately.

That sounded like worried Cowboy fan spin if I've ever heard it.

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especially if Haynesworth gets into shape...

He was sucking wind after the first few plays last night.

So....by improved pass rush.....do you mean going from completely inept to mediocre?

Do you own stock in Kleenex, Tampax, Midol, or some related product? You must considering the way you cry, *****, and moan.

Typical Cowboys fanboy.

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especially if Haynesworth gets into shape...

He was sucking wind after the first few plays last night.

So....by improved pass rush.....do you mean going from completely inept to mediocre?

Thank you. The line is exactly the same as it was in '07 except for Haynesworth. None of us were happy with the d-line in '07. One man isn't going to turn the Skins' line into the NFL's best.

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;6662773']It was just a bad game that will cause concern if it happens again.

Exactly, unless we are talking about the pukes, one game means nothing in preseason. If they stink up the joint next game I would start to worry. Teams sometimes have bad games in preseason and unless you are the pukes, nothing to concern yourself with.

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Actually, I thought the Giants backup guards played great. It was the starting tackles that got their teeth kicked in.

Joe... you gotta be kidding me here man. The tackles played poorly, there is no disputing that, but the Bears were overloading the A gaps with blitz after blitz to expose Boothe and Reyes, and they succeeded more often than not, taking away any kind of a pocket for Eli to step into. The entire line played like trash, missing Snee and Seubert was a huge reason for it.

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As for the defense, I'm not worried in the least. I know this defense is going to be very good, there is no question in my mind about it. Last night was the result of a lot of factors working against us. Injuries, short week with limited practice, Bears organization desperate to show the Cutler trade wasn't a mistake in front of a packed house on their home opener.

I'm kind of glad they laid an egg and got it out of the way early, last year it came late on a nationally televised regular season game against the Browns, hopefully we got it out of our system.

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Thank you. The line is exactly the same as it was in '07 except for Haynesworth. None of us were happy with the d-line in '07. One man isn't going to turn the Skins' line into the NFL's best.

huh? were you being sarcastic? Orakpo, Jarmon, Haynesworth. Those three young additions to the dline will make a huge impact. On top of that, daniels, carter, griffen, wynn, montgomery, etc, will all be more productive by having more talent around them. It also gives us some depth. The dline will not be world beaters, but if haynes is occupying double and triple teams, it automatically makes everybody else better and gives them more opportunities.

On a side note, it sure is a good thing we didn't sign Cutler in the offseason. Who would want a 4500 yard passing QB, when we have the 1 for 7 wonderboy on the roster? :hysterical:

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;6662693']Relax there. It was the second preseason game. If you think the Skins are going to have it that easy off of a preseason game' date=' you're in for a big shock.

And apparently, Antonio Pierce means more to the defense than even Giants' fans realized.[/quote']

Chase Blackburn was actually having a good game, until that one play where he gave up his lane.

Not having Kenny Phillips on the other hand...

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Thank you. The line is exactly the same as it was in '07 except for Haynesworth. None of us were happy with the d-line in '07. One man isn't going to turn the Skins' line into the NFL's best.
So what d-line are you talking about here?

It certainly doesn't sound like the Redskins' line.

When the Skins play the Gmen in week one I could see that being a 6-3 type ballgame:hysterical:

neither team is going to do much offensively.

That said, the under is looking real nice.

My brother and I were saying the same thing. And many people across the country who aren't NFC East fans will be bored out of their minds.
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