Second-half surge pushes Giants past Bears

Pernell McPhee was right: the Bears did tear up the Giants. Unfortunately for him, that was only the case for the first half.

Big Blue bounced back from a seven-point deficit at halftime to beat the Bears 22-16 at MetLife Stadium Sunday and look like a team on its way to the postseason. Eli Manning led the charge back, throwing two touchdowns in the third quarter to put the Giants in control of the game.

Just as important: the defense pitched a shutout in the second half, flummoxing Jay Cutler and the Bears offense. The final straw came inside of two minutes, when Landon Collins made an interception in his fourth straight game to ice the contest.

Odell Beckham already mentioned the Super Bowl after the Giants got to 6-3 by beating the Bengals a week ago. Now Big Blue is 7-3 with the Browns — a virtual lock for a win — on deck.

Rising Giants star Landon Collins living out his big dreams

Realistically, Sunday’s contest won’t be the biggest confidence booster for the Giants, as they struggled to put away the lowly Bears who drop to 2-8. Helping to keep the game in question were a total of three missed PATs, including two by Robbie Gould against his old team.

Rashad Jennings runs roughshod all over the Bears for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Rashad Jennings runs roughshod all over the Bears for 85 yards and a touchdown.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The Bears were without Alshon Jeffery — was recently suspended by the league for four games for performance enhancing substances — but were still were able to find a little success in the air to open the game. After Chicago ground out some yardage with the running gmae, Jay Cutler hit his tight end, Zach Miller, for a 19-yard touchdown. Connor Barth missed the extra point so the Bears only took a 6-0 lead.

Meanwhile on the Giants’ first drive, Ben McAdoo elected to roll the fourth-down dice again — just like he did last week. McAdoo didn’t hesitate to keep the offense on the field for a 4th-and-2 at the Bears’ 17-yard line, and it paid off again. Manning hit Sterling Shepard for a short gain before the rookie receiver danced all the way to the two-yard line. One play later Rashad Jennings pounded home the touchdown, but Gould also missed his extra point, so the game was tied at 6-6.

Up 9-6 in the second quarter, the Bears were able to keep churning yards out on the ground, and a 27-yard run by Jordan Howard put Chicago deep into the Giants’ red zone. A few plays later Jeremy Langford finished the job, scoring a one-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 16-6 with 8:35 left in the half.

Pernell McPhee’s trash talk only helps Giants avoid Bear trap

A few minutes later, the Giants were able to cut the deficit, when Gould hit a 46-yard field goal against his old team to make the score 16-9 with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter. But the Giants were lucky to get that, because on the play before Manning threw a duck that bounced off the hands of Bears DB Adrian Amos.

After being down by a touchdown at halftime, the Giants offense responded with a spark to start the third quarter, quickly opening the period with a nine-play, 59-yard touchdown drive that began with strong field position after a 46-yard return by Dwayne Harris. Manning capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Will Tye to tie the game.

And they kept it rolling. Manning flashed a surprise weapon on the Giants’ next drive — the threat of his legs. On a play from the Giants’ 31-yard line, Manning rolled right and looked like he was going to run, but at the last minute pulled up and found an improvising Victor Cruz streaking away from defenders. Cruz caught the pass and ran for 48 yards. A few plays later, Manning hit Shepard for a 15 yard touchdown pass that put Big Blue ahead 22-16 after Gould missed his second PAT of the day.

With about 12 minutes remaining in the game, Harris made what could have been a critical mistake, muffing a punt and potentially allowing the Bears to get back into the game. But the ball took a bounce off a Bear, and Eli Apple came in to critically snag the ball.

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The Bears’ final opportunity started with three minutes remaining in the game from their own 21-yard line with no timeouts remaining. Though the Giants defense had been stifling for the entire second half to that point, on the first play of that drive Cutler floated a ball perfectly into the arms of Marquess Wilson for a 35-yard gain. But the Bears’ last gasp ended prematurely, as Cutler heaved a deep ball on 2nd-and-29 that hung in the air and was picked off by Collins.

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