Bears knew it was coming, but still couldn't stop Giants' relentless run game

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Sterling Shepard is out for the year with a torn ACL, Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson still aren’t back from their injuries, and Kenny Golladay left Sunday after just one target with a knee issue of his own – so it’s safe to say that the Bears knew the running game was going to be a big focus for the Giants on Sunday.

The end result, though, showed just how good Big Blue can be even in that one dimensional setting: Saquon Barkley had 31 carries for 146 yards, Daniel Jones had six for 68 yards and two scores, and even Tyrod Taylor (three for 30) and Matt Breida (three for 18) got in on the action.

Forty-four of the Giants’ 60 offensive plays were runs, and they totaled 262 yards on a day where they needed every single one of them.

“Good week of practice, and it’s always good when things work out the way we want them to work out in a game,” head coach Brian Daboll said after the Giants’ win over Chicago. “I thought our line did a good job. We ran the ball inside; we ran the ball outside; had a couple of scheme runs in there that we liked this particular week. And then (Saquon Barkley) – I've said it since OTAs – is a really good football player. That's the way we wanted to play this game, and it worked out.”

Jones’ two touchdown runs were 21 and eight yards, and the first one came on a play-action play where Jones spun around on a bootleg and had a clear, wide open left side of the field to run.

“I think the offensive line did a great job early on in the game. We hit a couple of big runs with Saquon and things were opened up, and we had a couple complements off it, so they were obviously playing Saquon and the downhill run,” Jones said of his big runs. “I think hats off to the offensive line, they did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage all day.”

“Daniel's weren't necessarily designed runs,” added Daboll. “There was pass elements to the play we thought would be a few good designs to run against their team. They happened to go with the receiver, and there was nobody out there.”

Jones had to make just one move, and got the block he needed from tight end Tanner Hudson to finish the score.

“I thought I was going to score. I was trying to decide to cut back or keep it there inside the pylon,” Jones said. “But I was confident I was going to score, and it was a good block there by Tanner.”

“He’s a heck of a quarterback, very athletic,” Barkley added of Jones. “We kind of knew after the first drive what their game plan was going to be, to load the box up a little bit. If they are going to do that, they don't have enough guys out there.”

The second run was much of the same: a play fake to Barkley, a spin, and eight yards of wide-open space, which announcers Joe Davis and Daryl Johnston couldn’t believe at the time – and neither could Jones.

“I mean, I think when you get out there you want to make a good fake and there's kind of a moment where you turn around and you got to make a read quickly as to run it or throw it,” Jones said. “A lot of times there's grass and you got to take what they give you. I thought it was good scheme and coaches did a good job seeing it and calling it.”

“That's part of the preparation. It's really no different than a drop back pass you designed that you think looks good. We had a variety of formations that we used a few of them,” Daboll added. “Just thought in our preparation it was a good play to use this week.”

Jones had the glorious plays, but it was Barkley who was the workhorse, cracking 100 yards in the third quarter on a day where Jones and Tyrod Taylor had less than that in the air.

“Every week, the way we come to work and how we adjust…I feel like every week, especially in the run game, the run that is hitting is not the one that hit the week before, and it just shows not just how versatile the coaches and our players, especially the guys up front, are,” Barkley said. “They’re doing a great job setting up holes – and as we continue to trust each other, we are going to get better and just keep leaning on the o-line, keep trusting the system.”

Barkley was actually upset that he had a couple plays early on that he didn’t break like he wanted to, but it didn’t really matter, because the Big Blue ground machine just kept churning and churning.

“It’s really hard to run the ball in the NFL when it's a loaded box, so I can't really take credit for that; it's all about the game plan, it's all about the system, it's all about the center making the right calls and DJ putting us in the right position, the o-line communicating and getting to the second level,” Barkley said. “My responsibility is to just trust it. Like I said, there are some plays I wish I had back or could have done a better job on, but that's within every game.”

And it kept going even after Jones left with an ankle issue and Taylor left in concussion protocol so Barkley had to take snaps out of the wildcat with Jones on the field as a decoy.

“It just shows how gritty this team is. I love all those guys in the locker room and the way that we come in and fight for each other,” Barkley said. “It's early in the year, but we just have to keep building it. But when there's a focal point of stopping the run and you see me go out there making some of those plays, it all starts with the offensive line. I got to give credit to them today. We are going to continue to trust in them, lean on them and they're the engine of this team, especially the offense.”

All in all, a true team effort overcoming as much adversity on the offensive side of the ball as one team could possibly face.

“We did a great job of even though they loaded the box, the o-line was leaning on them, making the right calls, creating movement,” Barkley said. “I was able to make some of the right reads, put a little pressure on the defense and DJ was DJ and made the plays.”

Added Daboll: “Tough, physical game like we thought it would be. Our job as a coaching staff is to make sure you're prepared for whatever situation comes up. We did, and it’s good to get another win.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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