EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After criticizing the defense in a post-game press conference, Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith seemingly hit the repeat button explaining the injury situation Monday night after the team’s 41-13 loss to the New York Giants.
“Injury-wise, we don’t have any,” Smith said. “Of course, you’ve got to tackle a little bit better before you start talking injuries.”
Usually optimistic and hesitant to criticize the defense (especially in a meaningless preseason game), Smith came down hard on the unit which played without starting linebacker Lance Briggs, and defensive tackle Anthony Adams.
In 2010, the Bears held opponents to the second lowest rushing average in 2010 (90.1 yards per game), and finished seventh in the NFL with 48 stuffs, which are tackles on rushers for negative yards.
Against the Giants, though, the Bears missed several tackles, allowed 218 yards rushing -- including a 97-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter by Da’Rel Scott -- and failed to generate a sack or a turnover. It’s telling when the top five tacklers -- Corey Graham, Craig Steltz, D.J. Moore, Chris Harris, and Tim Jennings -- are defensive backs, which likely means that too often, ball carriers made it into the secondary.
Giants running back Brandon Jacobs averaged 8 yards per carry in the first half, and at 6 foot 4 and 264 pounds, managed to put a move on Major Wright (5-11, 204) so significant that it made the safety fall to the turf on an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“A lot of negative things to talk about, unfortunately,” Smith said. “Defensively, we haven’t played a game like that in a while. We pride ourselves on great third-down defense. We had two third-and-long situations that they converted on and made the touchdowns. Takeaways, we didn’t have any. At the end, it doesn’t matter who is out there. If you have on a Chicago Bar uniform, you need to make the play.”
The defense definitely didn’t do that in allowing a total of 414 yards and 25 first downs.
“It’s not what we wanted, but at the same time, you don’t get to use all your weapons, all your calls, all your situations,” defensive tackle Henry Melton said. “But at the end of the day, you still want to outperform the other people.”
That certainly didn’t occur here at the New Meadowlands on Monday night.