The Bears defense eventually found a way to stop Saquon Barkley and the Giants offense Sunday in time for a possible late comeback.
What they couldn't do was find a way to actually give the ball to their offense to accomplish it.
In his Bears debut, Velus Jones Jr. muffed a punt with two minutes left at the Bears 34-yard line and Gary Brightwell recovered for New York to seal the Giants' 20-12 victory.
"No one feels as bad as Velus does and we understand," Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. "We're going to rally our team around him."
The Bears offense had trouble doing anything with the ball when it had it for much of the game, anyway. The muff was the third Bears lost fumble of the gmae.
They never got in the end zone and had three red zone possessions when they settled for field goals.
"At halftime, when other teams score touchdowns and we kick field goals, normally that's not good," Eberflus said. "So we've got to make sure we handle that in terms of our scoring efficiency in the red zone."
The defense had trouble stopping New York's bootleg plays and the running of Barkley until both Giants quarterbacks came up with injuries. The Bears somehow managed to lose a game when they held the Giants to 71 net yards passing because in the process they gave up 262 rushing yards.
"We've got to get better and we all just have to look ourselves in the mirror and just grow from it because there's obviously a lot of mistakes on our behalf and we all just have to clean up from it, ourselves included," linebacker Roquan Smith told reporters afterward.
The Bears had a marginally better effort from quarterback Justin Fields than the previous two games. He completed 11 of 22 for a season-high 174 yards, but the Bears settled for Michael Badgley field goals on kicks of 29, 22, 40 and 35 yards, and never made it to the end zone.
"I felt like we did a good job trying to move the football, getting to the red zone, but I think we've got to capitalize when we get down there and score seven," Fields said.
Barkley ran for 146 yards on 31 carries and Daniel Jones bootlegged his way to 68 yards rushing on six carries with two touchdowns.
Jones bootlegged in from 21 yards and from 8 yards in the first half and the Bears trailed 14-9, but then he had to leave because of an ankle injury in the third quarter.
"They were running the boot scheme and they were pulling guys with that so it makes it hard on the linebacker in terms of their eyes," Eberflus said. "So I think it was good scheme and we had to adjust to it and we needed to make that a little bit quicker.
"We made that adjustment. We ended up stuffing that play going forward, but he's a good athlete. He's a lot faster than you think. We know he's fast."
Badgley, who kicked because regular kicker Cairo Santos was absent for personal reasons, made a 34-yarder to start the second half and drew the Bears within 14-12.
However, after that the Bears offense punted to end four straight possessions and New York's Graham Gano pushed the lead up to 20-12 with kicks of 44 and 43 yards. He missed off the upright after Jones' muffed punt but by then the Bears had no time left to do anything except try a last-second lateral flea-flicker play that flopped after they moved around the field a bit.
"I think we've just got to be more consistent, whether it's the scheme, whether it's the O-line, whether it's the receivers," Fields said. "There's some plays where we're all on the same page and we're all executing great. And then some plays we aren't. So basically it's consistency."
Darnell Mooney caught a 56-yard pass leading to a field goal, and had 94 receiving yards on four catches, while Khalil Herbert finished with 77 yards rushing on 19 carries.
However, they gave up six sacks and six tackles for loss.
"I thought the offense in terms of guys getting going, we got Mooney going today, which is really good to see," Eberflus said. "I think that's a positive going forward.
"Cole Kmet had three receptions again so we got him going."
They didn't get anyone going enough, though, and 12 points scored to go with 262 rushing yards allowed said it.