3 and Out: Bears can’t find the end zone in 20-12 loss to Giants

Bears fall to 2-2

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) takes a hit from New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Justin Fields and the Bears offense showed some slightly incremental signs of improvement, but still struggled to find the end zone in the Bears’ 20-12 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Here is what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Welcome to the NFL: The Bears’ defensive line came through at a crucial point, forcing a three-and-out prior to the two minute warning. Bears rookie wideout Velus Jones Jr., making his regular season debut, fumbled the ensuing punt return and the Giants recovered. Gano missed a clinching field goal with 21 seconds left to give the Bears a chance, but they fell short.

2. Good as Gano: With 8:55 left in the fourth quarter, Giants backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor fumbled on a collision with cornerback Kyler Gordon. The Bears were unable to recover it, prolonging the drive on running the wildcat with Saquon Barkley. Graham Gano then knocked in a 43-yard field goal for the 20-12 Giants advantage.

3. Making a play: With 13:44 left in the fourth quarter, Eddie Jackson intercepted Taylor, who threw into double coverage. The Bears offense promptly went three-and-out to waste the effort and punt for the third time of the second half.

Three things that worked

1. The Money Badger: Due to kicker Cairo Santos being inactive for personal reasons, Michael Badgley, who was signed on Saturday and activated to the active roster, made the absolute most of his opportunity. Badgley was 3-for-3 in the first half and made four for the game.

2. Hello, Mooney: The connection with Fields needed significant improvement after a lackluster first three weeks with just four catches. Mooney matched that total against the Giants with 4 catches for 94 yards. It’s incremental, but an encouraging sign for an offense needing as much production it can get out of him.

3. E-Jax: Jackson now has three interceptions on the season and is arguably playing his best football after two lackluster seasons without one. Jackson is open-field tackling well and is seemingly playing instinctively-sound football.

Three things that didn’t

1. No stopping Saquon: Stopping the former No. 2 overall pick is obviously a lot easier said than done, but Barkley certainly had the upper hand in that matchup. Barkley forced several missed tackles and was quite explosive. Barkley had 146 rushing yards and 16 reception yards.

2. Bumps and bruises: Fields took a lot of physical punishment, particularly in the first half. Fields was sacked five times. Left guard Cody also Whitehair exited with a knee injury, which forced Lucas Patrick to left guard and Teven Jenkins then stuck at right guard. Not all of the pressures and hits can be pinned on the offensive line; though, their collective struggles were more notable than in previous weeks.

3. Work in progress: Fields and the offense showed sparks of good plays, but the proof is in the pudding: four field goals and five punts won’t win the majority of football games. The margin of error for the offense is minimal and they didn’t finish enough drives with points to win.

What’s next?

The Bears visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Oct. 9. Kickoff is at Noon.

Jacob Bartelson

Jacob Bartelson

Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.