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Giant Takeaways: Giants Defeat Bears in OT After Regulation Collapse

Talk about an insane game. The New York Giants defeated the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears 30-27 in overtime on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants looked to have a commanding 27-17 lead over Chicago towards the waning minutes of the game. In fact, the Giants had a 99.9 percent chance of winning the game in regulation. Well, the 0.1 percent prevailed, as Chicago would recover an onside kick and executed a “Philly Special” remix to send the game into overtime. After an Aldrick Rosas 44-yard field goal, the Giants defense shut down Chicago to seal the victory.

In what was no doubt one of the more exciting Giants games this season, here are some takeaways from the madness that was New York versus Chicago.

Beckham’s Up and Down Game

New York used a second-half surge to take a 27-17 lead over Chicago. That rebound can be attributed to two scores from Odell Beckham Jr. Between his passing touchdown to a wide open Russell Shepard, to his reception in the end zone on fourth down, Beckham was a key figure in the Giants’ scoring output.

However, Beckham had one major blunder at the end of regulation. Bears head coach Matt Nagy called for an onside kick, in order to give the team any chance of tying the game. As the ball was kicked, Beckham appeared to have a clear path for a recovery. Yet, as Chicago pressure was oncoming, it looked as though the star receiver let up a la Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50, allowing the Bears to regain possession and the rest was history.

Football is a cruel game, as a player can make two great plays, but one mistake can overshadow it. Beckham knows this, and when speaking to the media, let everyone know that his effort should never be questioned.

“It was a great kick,” said Beckham. “Sometimes somebody makes a better play than you do. I could dive in there and still not get the ball. So it was a very tough call. Nobody should ever question my effort or my heart. That’s the last thing you can do. You can question me as a person, as a man, whatever you want to do, but my heart and my effort can never be questioned, ever.”

While Beckham was not keen on answering these questions, he will certainly hear it for the remainder of the week, despite the win.

The Bridge Has Been Created For Lauletta

The Giants provided the fan base with a rather early Christmas present on Sunday afternoon. The team had activated rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta for the first time this season, becoming Eli Manning’s primary backup.

Giants fans were left with terrifying flashbacks last week once head coach Pat Shurmur hinted at the possibility of Alex Tanney receiving playing time over Lauletta. But they were left with a pleasant surprise, hinting that they will give Lauletta some starter’s snaps this season.

“Yeah, I think behind the scenes he’s done a good job and that’s really what happens for the backups this time of year,” said Shurmur. “Other than warmups, you guys don’t really get the opportunity to see and I think he’s made progress here during the season and it’s just the next step for him.”

The time may be coming shortly, considerin Eli Manning had one of his worst performances of the year. Manning couldn’t get anything going in the first half, as he overthrew his targets and cracked under pressure inside the pocket. The 15-year veteran completed 19-of-35 passes for 170 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Yet, with the Giants’ offensive awakening in the second half, it will likely by Manning another week of starting action, as New York has technically not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. But Lauletta will be waiting in the wings.

Sensational Saquon

With each passing week, running back Saquon Barkley continues to amaze. THe explosiveness was on full display, as his 22-yard run at the end of the first half set up Rosas’ huge 57-yard field goal to give the Giants momentum heading into halftime.

But it didn’t end there, as Barkley gave everyone a highlight reel play. In the third quarter, Barkley caught a pass from Manning on a slant route and run up the middle. At the looks of it, Barkley appeared to be running straight into strong safety Adrian Amos, preparing for a tackle. That’s when it happened. Barkley showcased his tremendous vertical leap and hurdled over Amos…cleanly.

Plays like this show why Barkley was considered one of the better draft prospects in NFL history. Barkley is such a multi-faceted athlete, and when he gets rolling, the entire offense follows.

Ogletree and Jenkins Shed Criticism With Strong Performances

Linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Janoris Jenkins have been the punching bags on the defensive side of the ball throughout the majority of the season. Yet, both players silenced the critics against a strong Bears team.

On the very second play of the game, Ogletree picked off quarterback Chase Daniel and returned it for a touchdown to set the tone. Ogletree wasn’t done there, as he performed a follow up act in the second quarter. With the Bears in scoring range, Daniel targeted running back Tarik Cohen on a pass, but Ogletree stepped into the frame, batting the ball out of the air and into his clutches.

This was the Ogletree general manager Dave Gettleman traded for. An inside linebacker who can read the opposing quarterback and make plays.

As for Jenkins, he shut down any notion of him “quitting” during the final five games of the season. Against the Bears, he had three passes defensed, including the final pass breakup on a pass intended for receiver Taylor Gabriel. This was the Jenkins many saw during the 2016 season, as he locked the Bears offense down when it mattered.

Despite the strong performances, the defense did struggle at points, especially late during the game. Whether it was bad coverage or penalties, it helped the Bears back into the game.

However, Giants fans can no longer criticize the “usual suspects” anymore. Ogletree and Jenkins stepped up big time.

Strong Play From Special Teams

Offense was covered, as well as defense. Now, let’s talk about special teams.

When mentioning special teams, you have to bring up kicker Aldrick Rosas. The second-year kicker successfully made all three of his field goal attempts. His long of the day was the 57-yarder just before halftime, and it turned out to be the longest kick made in Giants franchise history. Rosas is now 26-of-27 on the year, and has proven that he should receive some Pro Bowl considerations.

Perhaps the best play on special teams came late in the fourth quarter. Riley Dixon punted the ball off to Chicago with a little over two minutes remaining in regulation. With Tarik Cohen calling for a fair catch, the ball bounced towards into the end zone. Russell Shepard would bat the ball backwards before it hit the ground. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton took the ball and tossed it behind him before touching the line or end zone. Long snapper Zak DeOssie then picked up “the Duke” at the one-yard line, pinning the Bears deep into their own territory.

A play such as this only happens once in a blue moon. In this case, it was a big blue moon, and will certainly make SportsCenter’s “Top Ten” list this week.

What’s Next?

With their fourth win under their belt, the Giants face off against the Alex Smith-less Washington Redskins. As New York’s playoff hopes are essentially dashed, they will look to play spoiler against their division foe, who look to catch up with the Dallas Cowboys.

Can the Giants replicate the success they had against Chicago in Week 14?

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General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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