Inside the Bizarre Play That Dented Giants' Comeback Hopes Against Bears
Add receptions by offensive linemen to the Giants' growing list of catalysts for defeat.
For the Giants, Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears came down to a matter of seconds--seconds they would have had if not for a fourth-down conversion in the final minutes.
On a Chicago 4th-and-2 play late in the fourth quarter, the Giants defense appeared to break up a pass by Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to force a turnover on downs.
However, the pass was merely tipped and then fell into the arms of Bears offensive lineman Bobby Massie for a Chicago first down.
It wasn't the play that Bears head coach Matt Nagy, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor drew up. Instead it was merely a matter of Massie being in the right place at the right time, despite the Giants'defense being in the right position and even knocking the ball away.
But hey, they'll take it all the same.
"We were looking for an outflank with [running back] David Montgomery and Mitch tried to extend the play to his tight end [Jimmy Graham] who was sitting there in that hook curl zone and then it got tipped, so sometimes that's just how it goes," Nagy said.
"I looked over and Bobby caught the ball, ended up falling forward and that's just how it goes."
After scoring 13 unanswered points in the second half to bring the Giants within a winning touchdown, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was left with 2:02 to lead a game-winning touchdown drive. Jones nearly did, driving to the Bears' 10-yard line.
But by then, the Giants had just eight seconds left, and time expired on an incompletion to wide receiver Golden Tate in the end zone on second down.
The Giants would have had a couple more shots to score with some extra time on the clock, and they would have had that time if the ball had fallen incomplete on the Massie reception, Jones and the Giants taking over at their 36-yard line with around 3:55 left in the game.
The Giants did catch a break with Bears kicker Cairo Santos missing a 50-yard field goal to hold the lead at 17-13. But by then, the Giants were out of timeouts with just 2:02 left.
While there's no guarantee that the additional time would have yielded a different result for the Giants' offense, getting the chance to use all four downs at the Bears' 10-yard line would surely have been welcome by Jones.
"That was a big part of the game," Nagy said. "Being able to chew up that clock a little bit since they were getting close to being out of timeouts or being out of timeouts."
For Trubisky, it was one of the luckier breaks he caught in the second half. After starting the day with two touchdown passes in the first half, he followed it up with two interceptions in the second half.
The de-facto pass to Massie was good enough for Trubisky to lead a drive that ultimately chewed up enough time to preserve Chicago's win.
"That wasn't how we drew it up," Trubisky said. "They zoned us out on a 4th-and-, so I was trying to get it in there to Jimmy [Graham]. They did a good job of knocking it down, and luckily it ended up in Bobby's hands, his first career catch in a huge situation.
"We got lucky, but sometimes when you're playing hard the ball bounces your way."
For Giants head coach Joe Judge, his second loss comes in part due to a rare reception to an offensive lineman and will undoubtedly be a tough pill to swallow as the team moves forward into Week 3.
However, the Massie reception wasn't the only tough break or missed opportunity for the Giants on Sunday.
Kicker Graham Gano missed a 57-yard field goal in the first half, which forced the Giants to go for a touchdown on their final drive instead of a potential game-winning field.
In the first half, a pair of turnovers by Jones ultimately swung things in Chicago's way and put the Giants in a hole they couldn't wholly dig out of.
The Massie catch might make its mark as a modestly memorable moment in the history of the Giants-Bears rivalry.