By TOM CANAVAN,
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Drop all the talk about Tom Coughlin losing control of the New York Giants.
The defense put it to rest on Sunday night with an impressive 10-sack performance that knocked out Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and his backup and sent Chicago reeling from the unbeaten ranks in a one-sided 17-3 decision.
Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck recorded three sacks apiece and the Giants limited Chicago to 110 total yards in a performance that brought back memories of New York’s Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in February 2008.
Tom Brady spent much of that game on his rear end.
Cutler went down nine times in the first half alone and never played a down in the second half after sustaining a concussion. His replacement, Todd Collins, left the game in the fourth quarter with a stinger.
“We just came out tonight and forgot about what all the people were saying about us and got back to having fun on the football field,” Tuck said.
The reports on the Giants this past week were that they were undisciplined, penalty-prone and simply not as good as they thought.
At least on defense, those accusations were groundless.
New York limited the Bears to six first downs, did not allow a third-down conversion in 13 attempts and forced three turnovers in addition to the 10 sacks.
The sack total was two shy of the league record, which the Giants tied in 2007 in a Sunday night game against Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles. Umenyiora had six that night.
“It’s fun to watch our defense when they are doing that,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. “When they get the sacks, it gets the crowd fired up. They set the tempo early on in the game, played outstanding. We had to help them out sometime and we did a decent job.”
The win left the NFL with only one undefeated team – the idle Kansas City Chiefs (3-0). Yes, the Chiefs.
“We tried everything we could,” Bears center Olin Kreutz said. “Give the Giants all the credit in the world. They played lights out tonight.”
It was scary seeing Cutler take a beating, especially since he was blindsided about four times.
“It’s tough to see anyone get hit like that, especially our quarterback,” Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “I don’t know what happened, but he didn’t go back in so it’s probably not good.”
Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 129 yards and a touchdown against a defense that had allowed a combined 119 yards on the ground in its first three games.
Lawrence Tynes added a 22-yard field goal and Brandon Jacobs, whose fourth-quarter fumble inside his own 30 set up Robbie Gould’s 40-yard field goal for Chicago, capped the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:31 to play.
On a night the Giants inducted 22 of their greatest players into their new Ring of Honor, including Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, this defense emulated some of the great ones of the Giants’ 86-year history.
“Coach Coughlin has been preaching all week, it’s time to get back to Giants football,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “Cut all the media talk, cut out all the things that can cause distractions to this team, and let’s just come together and play ball, because it’s about that time.”
With Cutler and Collins knocked out, Bears coach Lovie Smith had to play Caleb Hanie late in the fourth quarter.
“Total team loss for us,” Smith said. “We realize how it looked tonight, which was bad. But this is one game. That’s the bright part of it. There’s something positive. One loss. Finish up the first quarter 3-1.”
The Giants took an early 3-0 lead, driving 76 yards in 11 plays with Tynes hitting the chip-shot field goal.
New York didn’t take control until the third quarter when Manning (18 of 30 for 195 yards) engineered an eight-play, 90-yard drive that featured passes of 21 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 25 to tight end Travis Beckum. Bradshaw had runs of 13 and 25 yards before capping the drive with a 3-yard run on which his line seemed to shove him into the end zone.
The Giants certainly should have led by more than 3-0 at the half. Perry Fewell’s defense forced two turnovers that gave New York the ball inside the Bears 30 but Manning and company did not capitalize.
However, the defense came through again and again.
“It’s something that we need to do,” Umenyiora said. “We’re capable of doing that to a couple of different people.”
Updated October 4, 2010
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