EAST RUTHERFORD—Nothing has come easy for the New York Giants this season, even the games they are supposed to win.The difference this year is they are winning the close games, a big change from previous seasons.Eli Manning threw a go-ahead 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie Sterling Shepard in the third quarter as the Giants rallied for their fifth straight win with a 22-16 decision Sunday over the Bears in a gusty MetLife Stadium.New York (7-3) remains two games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
”We did find a way, that’s the resiliency of this team,” guard Marshall Newhouse said. ”In the past we’d lose a lot of close games, now we are winning a lot of close games. People see that as a negative and I don’t see why. Obviously there is stuff to improve on, but if you can play, maybe not playing your best, and you win, that’s a positive.”
Manning (21 of 36 for 227) also threw a third-quarter touchdown to Will Tye, Rashad Jennings scored on a 2-yard run and Robbie Gould kicked a 46-yard field goal on a day he missed two extra points.The Giants got a second-half shutout from their defense and a game-clinching interception from Landon Collins .After taking a surprising 16-6 lead, injuries on the offensive line finally caught up with the Bears (2-8) and left Jay Cutler under constant pressure.The winning streak is New York’s longest in the regular season since 2010, while the Bears’ starts matches their worst since 2002.
”This one is going to be a hard one to swallow,” said Cutler, who was 17 of 30 for 252 yards and sacked four times. ”These games that you lose when you definitely have a chance at the end to win, those are the ones that kind of keep you up at night.”
Down 16-9 at the half, the Giants grabbed the lead in the third quarter, scoring on their first two possessions. The second featured a third-down scramble by Manning and 48-yard pass to Victor Cruz on the next play. Manning ran toward the line on what looked like another run, then found Cruz behind the defense.Shepard split a seam in the middle of the Bears defense three plays later, but Gould missed the extra point keeping things tense.
”We’ll take it as it comes,” Cruz said. ”We’re continuing to rally these victories and continuing to build on them. With every victory, with every week, we’re getting stronger as a team. That’s what you want to see.”
The Bulls got to the New York 30 in the final two minutes but Jason Pierre-Paul had a 13-yard sack and Cutler was picked off by Collins, his fifth interception in the last four games.
”I even told some guys that it is time to blow up, it is on us, and guys responded,” said Pierre-Paul, whose 2 1/2 sacks were his best performance since injuring a hand in a fireworks accident last year. ”I responded myself. I can’t just do the talking, I have to show up and we came out with a win.”
Cutler found Miller for a 19-yard TD on the opening possession. A 34-yard pass to Miller set up Barth’s 40-yard field goal and Langford’s short TD lunge put the Bears ahead halfway through the second quarter.A couple of fourth-down gambles got the Giants nine points in the half. A 15-yard pass to Shepard on a fourth-and-2 at the Bears 17, set up Jennings’ TD run. A 5-yard pass to Jennings on fourth-and-2 at Bears 33 set up Gould’s 46-yard field goal with 3:33 left in the half.
NOTES—Leonard Floyd, the Bears first round draft pick from Georgia, was removed from the field on a stretcher with 5:53 to go against the Giants with a neck injury. He gave a thumbs-up to teammates leaving the field and returned Sunday night to Chicago after being released from a hospital, the Bears said. … Miller had to leave the game early in the second half with a possible broken foot. … Giants receiver Roger Lewis Jr. and Bears cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc left in the first-half with concussions……Cruz returned to the lineup after missing a game with an ankle injury. Tight end Larry Donnell was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Bears right tackle Bobbie Massie (concussion), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and defensive end Mitch Unrein (back) were inactive. …Alshon Jeffery served the first game of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Bears also were missing guard Kyle Long, who was placed on injured reserve last week with an ankle and shoulder injuries….The Bears host the Titans and Marcus Mariota on Sunday.