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Ravens vs. Dolphins preview: 3 questions with Miami beat reporter Daniel Oyefusi

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Ravens Vs. Dolphins Preview: 3 Questions With Miami Beat Reporter Daniel Oyefusi
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After comfortable season-opening wins, the Ravens and Miami Dolphins will face off Sunday in Baltimore in one of the week’s most anticipated matchups.

To help break down the game, The Baltimore Sun asked former Sun reporter Daniel Oyefusi, now a Dolphins beat reporter for the Miami Herald, three questions about the Week 2 matchup.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was more aggressive throwing downfield in Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots than he typically was last year. Does wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s arrival make that a viable approach in 2022, or is it more of a gamble with Tagovailoa’s arm strength?

There was a lot of debate throughout the offseason regarding whether Tagovailoa has the arm strength to maximize Hill’s speed. But for all the talk about that, two things weren’t often discussed. One, Hill’s average depth of target in his last season with the Kansas City Chiefs dropped to a career-low 9.1, according to Pro Football Reference. And two, the success of passing offenses isn’t really determined by what happens 20-plus yards downfield but more in the intermediate range of the field.

Tagovailoa has struggled in that area of the field, but Week 1 showed how Hill, paired with Jaylen Waddle, can aid him. His stats on throws between 10 and 20 yards against the Patriots were much better than his career averages. That’s the part of the field that first-year coach Mike McDaniel wants to live in, too, because he can optimize their yards-after-catch potential. Tagovailoa’s arm strength and ability to make off-platform throws consistently do remain questions, but Hill widens the margin for error.

The Dolphins blitzed Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson into submission in last season’s upset win. With McDaniel having replaced Brian Flores as coach, do you expect any significant changes in Miami’s game plan in the rematch?

Flores may be gone, but defensive coordinator Josh Boyer was retained, along with all 13 players who made at least five starts in 2021. Boyer has said the defense’s core philosophies will stay the same, and that appeared to be the case in Week 1. The team’s blitz rate (27.3%) against the Patriots was lower than last season’s figure (39.6%), but playing with a lead for most of the game and the absence of cornerback Byron Jones, who is on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, all could have been factors in the decline in blitzing.

Against Baltimore, I wouldn’t expect much to change: Crowd the line of scrimmage, key on the Jackson-led run game and get the Ravens into third-and-long situations, where they can unleash “Cover 0″ again. With a full week of preparation, as opposed to last season’s short turnaround, the Ravens should be better prepared, and the Dolphins will need to have counters ready. But why go away from what worked so well?

Where do the Dolphins have the biggest advantage over the Ravens, and where are they most vulnerable?

You never want to overreact to one game, especially a Week 1 game. But the Dolphins’ defensive line looks like it could again give the Ravens’ offensive line trouble. Miami has a deep front, led by players such as Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips and old friend Zach Sieler. Newcomer Melvin Ingram looked really good in his first game as a Dolphin. A lot of pressure will be on players such as center Tyler Linderbaum, left guard Ben Powers and potentially Patrick Mekari at left tackle to create push up front and give Jackson enough time in the pocket.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ upgraded offensive line looked solid but still appears to be a weak link in the new-look unit. The Dolphins rushed for only 65 yards, and protection broke down at times. Right tackle Austin Jackson left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. McDaniel said the injury is serious enough that it’s something they’ll have to monitor throughout the week. New additions Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams should steady the young group, but left guard Liam Eichenberg will need to play better than he did in Week 1, or in last season’s matchup, for that matter. The Ravens got a good interior pass rush against the New York Jets, so that could be a key matchup Sunday.

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Brian Hoyer ruled out of Patriots-Packers with head injury

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Brian Hoyer Ruled Out Of Patriots-Packers With Head Injury
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Bailey Zappe entered the match with Hoyer and Mac Jones out.

Brian Hoyer before the Patriots-Packers game. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer was ruled out of Sunday’s Week 4 game against the Packers with a head injury.

Hoyer, 36, started in place of injured starter Mac Jones (out with a sprained ankle). After leading the Patriots to a field goal in the team’s first practice in Green Bay, Hoyer was sacked on a third down on the second practice and left the game.

After being evaluated, Hoyer was ruled out:

Before leaving the game, Hoyer was 5 of 6 for 37 passing yards.

Fourth-round rookie pick Bailey Zappe replaced Hoyer.

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As Chicago Cubs fans again say goodbye to Willson Contreras at Wrigley Field, Marcus Stroman finishes the season on a high note

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As Chicago Cubs Fans Again Say Goodbye To Willson Contreras At Wrigley Field, Marcus Stroman Finishes The Season On A High Note
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Chicago Cubs players and coaches gathered along the foul line near third base, clapping in unison while “Go Cubs Go” blared across Wrigley Field for the final time this year.

The celebration after an 8-1 win Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds continued the team’s postgame tradition throughout the season, a sing-along to the song synonymous with home victories. Willson Contreras lingered afterward, taking in the scene as he slowly made his way behind home plate, where he was greeted by family.

Sunday’s game likely was Contreras’ final home game at Wrigley. Although he proclaimed at the beginning of the homestand he would consider accepting a qualifying offer from the Cubs, the expected outcome is the sides parting ways when Contreras explores free agency in the offseason. That’s what fueled him to return to the lineup from a left ankle sprain for the final six home games.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Contreras said Sunday. “I don’t know if this is going to be my last game with the Cubs or not. … Because I play for one of the best fan bases in baseball and they make this place special — I’ve been here a long time and I just wanted to take my moment out there. I appreciate where I’ve played for the last six years.

“Since the moment that I got here, I knew this could have been my home for my entire career. But I got to the moment in my career that is like a dream come true. I’ve earned my spot in free agency and I’m looking forward to it.”

Manager David Ross removed Contreras for a pinch runner after he walked in the bottom of the eighth, his only time on base Sunday. As Contreras jogged back to the dugout, fans gave him a standing ovation, his third of the game. Ross greeted Contreras in the dugout with a hug.

“He’s been a part of so much winning here and from early on and being a World Series starting catcher (in) Game 7, I mean just having that on your resume, right there’s pretty special,” Ross said. “And then going through all that’s gone on here, it was nice for him to get some love.

“He’s gotten a lot of moments of love this year. It looked like he was taking those in. Those are special, special things that you don’t ever forget as a player when you get to get to do that.”

The Cubs went 6-0 on the homestand, part of a season-high seven-game winning streak that ensures they will avoid a 90-loss season with three games left in Cincinnati.

The Cubs (73-86) finished the home schedule with a paid attendance total of 2,616,780 at Wrigley Field. That’s their lowest home total since 1997, excluding the pandemic-affected 2020 and ‘21 seasons that featured either empty or limited-capacity ballparks.

The Cubs likely will finish between seventh and 10th in the majors in home attendance.

Their feel-good vibes after Sunday’s victory extend only so far. This is a roster that needs big offseason upgrades via a free-agent class with elite talent. To the credit of Ross and the coaching staff, the Cubs have continued to play hard despite their record. But effort goes only so far.

Adding a top starting pitcher to pair with right-hander Marcus Stroman should be part of the plan. Stroman will be an important piece of the rotation as he looks to carry over a strong second-half performance. His six shutout innings Sunday closed out his first season in Chicago.

The 31-year-old finished with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP in 138⅔ innings over 25 starts. Stroman overcome a slow start, getting roughed up in early April and in an awful June 3 outing before going on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

He got on a roll once he returned in early July, posting a 2.56 ERA over his final 16 starts.

“A lot of people can kind of cash it in mentally, physically, emotionally,” Stroman said. “And I had close to a 6.00 ERA after my first few starts, so it’s just a product of all the work that goes into it.

“I’m someone who never gives up regardless of if I’ve had 10 bad starts or 10 great ones. I’m truly adapting and changing and working in between each and every start. I can’t wait until next year.”

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New Orleans’ controversial Democratic mayor is accused of living in a taxpayer-funded apartment without rent

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New Orleans' Controversial Democratic Mayor Is Accused Of Living In A Taxpayer-Funded Apartment Without Rent
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Controversial New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat, has admitted to living in an apartment in the city’s French Quarter without rent.

Cantrell, who previously caused outrage when she spent city funds on first-class air travel and excused her by saying economy class was ‘unsafe’ for black women, says no have done nothing illegal.

The apartment is located in the city’s Upper Pontalba building on Jackson Square in the famous neighborhood. It is city-owned and operated by French Market Corp., a city-affiliated agency, has a market rate of $2,991 per month.

A spokesperson for Cantrell and the city council member who sits on FMC’s board of directors said everything is legal under the city’s terms with French Market Corp.

However, the city’s Metropolitan Crime Commission sent a report to the city council on Thursday calling for an investigation into Cantrell’s use of the apartment.

The MCC report included footage of Cantrell going in and out of the apartment over several months as well as allegations from witnesses saying she regularly slept in the apartment.

The City's Metropolitan Crime Commission Showed Photographs Of New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell Entering And Leaving The Apartment And Presented Testimony That She Spent Nights There, Installed Privacy Screens And Received Package.

The city’s Metropolitan Crime Commission showed photographs of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell entering and leaving the apartment and presented testimony that she spent nights there, installed privacy screens and received package.

Cantrell Admitted To Living In An Apartment In The City's French Quarter Rent-Free, But Says She Did Nothing Wrong

Cantrell Admitted To Living In An Apartment In The City's French Quarter Rent-Free, But Says She Did Nothing Wrong

Cantrell admitted to living in an apartment in the city’s French Quarter rent-free, but says she did nothing wrong

The Apartment Is Located In The City's Upper Pontalba Building On Jackson Square In The Famous Neighborhood And Has A Market Rate Of $2,991 Per Month

The Apartment Is Located In The City's Upper Pontalba Building On Jackson Square In The Famous Neighborhood And Has A Market Rate Of $2,991 Per Month

The apartment is located in the city’s Upper Pontalba building on Jackson Square in the famous neighborhood and has a market rate of $2,991 per month

City Council President Helena Moreno is asking for time to review the findings before agreeing to an investigation.

A spokesperson for Eugene Green, a Democrat who sits on the board of directors of French Market Corp., said “board member Green is not aware of any regulations or procedures that may have been violated.” .

FMC records obtained by WWL-TV indicate that no rent was paid for the apartment between September 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022.

It was also alleged that a city employee was used as a de facto super-building to fix the apartment’s problems.

A Spokesperson For Eugene Green, Who Sits On The Board Of Directors Of French Market Corp., Said That

A Spokesperson For Eugene Green, Who Sits On The Board Of Directors Of French Market Corp., Said That

A spokesman for Eugene Green, who serves on the board of directors of French Market Corp., said “board member Green is not aware of any regulations or procedures that may have been violated.” Mayor Cantrell is pictured here (right) raising his glass during a parade during Mardi Gras Mardi Gras celebrations in March 2022

The report shows Cantrell speaking with Byron Cornelison of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economics about a leak in the bathroom and telling him when would be a good time to fix it.

Earlier, she had written to him asking Cox Cable employees to come and fix the WiFi in the apartment.

Rafael Goyeneche, the president of the MCC, calls this arrangement inappropriate for the mayor, saying: “It’s an additional non-taxable benefit that she receives.” She does not need to reside there or use it. And I think that’s a misuse and abuse of his authority. But I’m waiting to see what the city council’s position is.

Goyeneche asks the council to investigate.

“The mayor’s use of the city-owned apartment at Pontalba is consistent with the use of previous mayors,” Cantrell communications director Gregory Joseph responded. “In the 2013 franchise agreement, there are no rules governing the use of this unit and the FMC believes that the mayor has no obligation to pay rent for this apartment because they use it in the same way as mayors previous.”

The mayor made headlines recently, after she said economy-class passenger flights were dangerous for black women, while insisting she would not refund $30,000 of taxpayers’ money spent on first class flights to France and Switzerland.

“My travel accommodation is about safety, not luxury,” Cantrell said Thursday at a news conference.

“As all women know, our health and safety is often ignored and we have to navigate it alone.

“As the mother of a young child that I live for, I will protect myself by all reasonable means to ensure that I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I want her to be.”

“Anyone who wants to wonder how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world that black women walk around in.”

She repeatedly refused to reimburse the cost of an American Airlines luxury flight from Washington Dulles airport to Switzerland for herself in July, despite the city’s ban on luxury jet travel.

Cantrell spent around $10,000 on his own flat bed seat and spent a similar amount on a first-class return to France earlier this year – while his aides traveled by coach.

Cantrell defended her purchase of luxury tickets because she was “doing business” on behalf of the city and because she believed it would not be safe for her to travel economy class.

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell Refuses To Reimburse Money Spent On International Business And First-Class Flights To France And Switzerland

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell Refuses To Reimburse Money Spent On International Business And First-Class Flights To France And Switzerland

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell refuses to reimburse money spent on international business and first-class flights to France and Switzerland

While the mayor sat in first class, his team, including his security detail, sat in the car.

The chief executive revealed that the legal department is still considering whether Cantrell should reimburse nearly $30,000 in taxpayers’ money for first-class tickets to France and Switzerland.

The mayor had an extremely piquant response when asked by reporters on Thursday whether she was planning to shell out to replenish the city’s coffers.

“Any expenses incurred in doing business on behalf of the City of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the City of New Orleans,” Mayor Cantrell said speaking outside the Nix Library.

‘One thing is clear; I do my job and will continue to do so with distinction and integrity every step of the way. And so, that’s what I have to say about it!

The mayor insists that travel and luxury travel spending was necessary to improve New Orleans itself.

But the city’s travel policy leaves little wiggle room: “Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available…Employees who choose to upgrade from Economy Class, Economy Class or in business class are solely responsible for the difference in cost”.

The policy also states: “Any travel expense reconciliation that results in an overpayment by the City requires the employee to reimburse the City within twenty business days.

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Column: With errors galore in all 3 phases, the Chicago Bears remind us how bumpy the 2022 season promises to be

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Column: With Errors Galore In All 3 Phases, The Chicago Bears Remind Us How Bumpy The 2022 Season Promises To Be
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At the end of an ugly performance on a gloomy New Jersey afternoon, the Chicago Bears found themselves pulling together for one last eyes-closed, fingers-crossed, full-prayers miracle.

Only 8 seconds remained Sunday and the Bears were 67 yards from MetLife Stadium’s north end zone, the landmark for a potential last-gasp touchdown that could have maybe, possibly, by chance set up a game-tying 2-point conversion attempt. A whole ton of wildness had to happen to extend the game. But the Bears gave it a shot anyway on their final snap against the New York Giants.

“You’ve just got to hope for the best,” quarterback Justin Fields said, “and keep the ball alive.”

From their 33-yard line, away we went …

  • Fields threw a 3-yard pass to Trestan Ebner, who immediately lateraled to Equanimeous St. Brown.
  • St. Brown ran to the Bears 45 and, an instant before being hit by Adoree’ Jackson, threw a fastball across the field that bounced once, caromed off linebacker Micah McFadden’s thigh and somehow skittered back to Fields at the 40.
  • Fields ran forward for 9 yards, then bombed a backward pass to St. Brown, who again burst ahead before throwing a wild pitch back to Ebner, who …

You know what? Let’s just summarize things here. During a madcap 43-second sequence, five Bears players touched the football, including offensive linemen Lucas Patrick and Teven Jenkins; Fields and Ebner each had it three times; and the chaos ultimately ended 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage when Giants safety Dane Belton dived on one last wild pitch.

Finally. Mercifully. The end.

That’s how Sunday’s “False Hope Bowl” ended with the depleted Giants surviving for a 20-12 victory that moved them to 3-1. For the Bears, that final play served as an appropriate snapshot of the entire afternoon, starting with the desperation continuing with all that helter-skelter action and culminating, of course, with a fate-sealing turnover.

The game was lost well before, with the Bears coming apart in all three phases during their second defeat of the season.

The defense was far too flimsy, allowing 262 rushing yards, including 49 yards and two touchdowns by Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the first half.

The passing offense was again erratic, finishing with a season-high but still troubling 155 yards. The Bears were 0-for-3 scoring touchdowns inside the red zone and converted only 5 of 15 third-down attempts.

And the special teams? Well, fill-in kicker Michael Badgley was almost the day’s hero, scoring all 12 Bears points as he made the most of his emergency opportunity to spell Cairo Santos for a weekend.

But late in the game, with the Bears seeking a chance to mount a game-tying touchdown drive, rookie Velus Jones muffed the second punt return opportunity of his career, taking the wind out of the Bears’ sails.

It was the wind, Jones said, that crossed him up on Jamie Gillan’s punt, sending him swerving toward the sideline in front of the Giants bench, where he simply dropped the football at the Bears 34.

“The wind was carrying the ball a lot, especially in that direction,” Jones said. “You just have to beat the ball to the spot. I felt like I didn’t do that. I was still moving with it instead of beating the ball to the spot.

“It’s really frustrating. I’m definitely going to let this one sit and hurt.”

Matt Eberflus tried to balance his duties as both a supportive and empathetic coach and a demanding boss: “No one feels as bad as Velus does. We understand that. We’re going to rally our team around him.”

But a few moments later, Eberflus added: “It comes down to being under the football, squeezing your elbows and then high tucking it.”

Throughout his postgame news conference, Eberflus emphasized he would have to review tape of Sunday’s game to offer a more comprehensive analysis of how the Bears played. But that video viewing is almost certain to leave him with an upset stomach.

First and foremost, the Bears’ first turnover — a Fields fumble with the Bears in scoring range in the second quarter — was a flagrant violation of Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle.

Fields was eyeing St. Brown on a crossing route when Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari beat left tackle Braxton Jones around the edge and hit the Bears quarterback.

“That was going to be a big play if we held up a little bit longer,” Fields said.

Instead, the ball came flying out, fluttered to the ground near the line of scrimmage and neither left guard Cody Whitehair nor St. Brown put enough effort into chasing it, allowing Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to pounce on it for a takeaway.

“I saw it was a fumble,” Eberflus said, “and I don’t know exactly what happened. I’ll have to go back and look at it.”

Added Fields: “It’s just a lesson for the O-line. If you don’t hear a whistle blow, you don’t know if it’s incomplete.”

The Giants converted that turnover into a 75-yard touchdown drive.

That’s not the kind of concentration lapse or effort deficiency Eberflus will tolerate. He’ll have to make that clear in the coming days. Just as he’ll have to continue seeking ways to improve Fields’ production as the second-year quarterback searches for his first groove of the 2022 season.

Fields completed 11 of 22 passes Sunday for 174 yards and was sacked six times. He also gave the outside world another sound bite to parse when he took exception to a question about how he assessed the league’s 32nd-ranked passing attack.

Why, Fields was asked, isn’t the passing game working?

“Who said the passing game wasn’t working?” he said. “Numbers don’t matter in my opinion. As long as we win, like I’ve said, that’s all I care about.”

The Bears didn’t win Sunday, though. And they won’t win often with the passing-game struggles that have persisted through a month’s worth of games.

Not a single objective NFL analyst would argue that the Bears passing game is working. Fields has gone 36 possessions since throwing his last touchdown pass. And it says everything that the Bears seemed so eager Sunday to celebrate their longest play of the season — a beautiful 56-yard deep ball from Fields to Darnell Mooney on the game’s second series.

“We got Mooney going today,” Eberflus said. “Which is really good to see.”

Without question, it was a crisp route by Mooney and a picture-perfect pass. But those big-play moments need to be coming more than a couple of times each month.

Furthermore, that completion led only to a field goal. And the idea that a four-catch, 94-yard outing for Mooney — while a step forward — was somehow landmark shows how much grasping the Bears have been forced into doing.

For full context, Sunday’s loss came against a middle-of-the-road opponent that was riddled with injuries. The Giants entered without a handful of key players — Leonard Williams, Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson and Kadarius Tooney — who were dealing with various ailments.

And during Sunday’s action, they lost Ojulari (calf), Thibodeaux (back), safety Julian Love (concussion), right tackle Evan Neal (neck), receiver Kenny Golladay (knee), cornerback Aaron Robinson (knee) and defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux (ankle).

Jones had to miss 12 offensive snaps after spraining his left ankle, then had to play the Giants’ final 11 plays with one bum wheel after backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was taken to be evaluated for a concussion.

Still, short-handed and not even playing all that well, the Giants coasted to a relieving home victory. That should offer Bears fans a reminder of how shaky and patience-testing this season figures to be.

The turbulence isn’t likely to lessen anytime soon.

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“Player for player, we felt like we had tops on them” – The Denver Post

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“Player For Player, We Felt Like We Had Tops On Them” – The Denver Post
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When New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones faked the transfer to Saquon Barkley in the first quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium, then sped to his left, a clear 21-yard lane to the end zone lay ahead. Jones.

With Chicago Bears defensemen Trevis Gipson, Jaquan Brisker and Dominique Robinson in chase mode, Jones picked up speed. Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon was unable to shake off tight end Tanner Hudson’s block near the goal line, and Jones creaked into the corner of the end zone behind Hudson for the first of the QB’s two touchdowns in the first half.

The Giants never trailed the Bears again in their 20-12 win, and Jones contributed 68 yards rushing to the Giants’ 262 for the day, a season high for a Bears opponent.

“He’s a good athlete,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said of Jones. “He has long legs so he has a good stride and can kind of get out a bit. But there are certain rules we have to follow to make sure we can contain some of those races.

Jones’ second touchdown went the same way – a fake at Barkley, a sprint into the left corner of the end zone, an 8-yard touchdown.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears made adjustments to stop similar forgery plays in the second half, but needed to come faster. The damage of two touchdowns was done, and coupled with a Bears offense that failed to get into the end zone, it was too much to overcome.

“It’s just eyes – you have to keep your eyes in the right place,” safety Eddie Jackson said of Jones’ defense during play action. “They were doing a good job setting it up. , running with Saquon. Run, run and then slip the boot here and there. We just need to do a better job with our eyes and around the edges.

The threat posed by Barkley helped the Giants pull off plays. After being limited the past two seasons by injuries, Barkley continued his rebounding season with 31 carries for 146 yards and two catches for 16 yards.

His performance continued a worrying trend, as the Bears allowed more than 175 rushing yards in three of their four games this season.

“He came out and played a great game, but there were a lot of mistakes on our part,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “He’s a hell of a player, but that’s no excuse. We all need to improve and look in the mirror, myself included.

Jones was hampered by a left ankle injury midway through the second half, then substitute quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game to be assessed for a concussion. The Bears limited the Giants to just two second-half field goals from kicker Graham Gano. Jackson had a big interception early in the fourth quarter — his third in four games — but the Bears offense failed to capitalize on takeaways that gave them the ball on their own 4-yard line.

In four games, the Bears defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown after halftime, allowing just 18 total points in the second half.

But the common thread in the Bears locker room of defenders after the game was that mistakes here and there were preventing the unit from putting on the game-changing performances the team needed – especially since the offense was struggling and that special teams were making costly mistakes, like the missed punt by returner Velus Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter.

Morrow lamented a missed tackle on a short pass from Jones to Barkley on the Giants’ second touchdown. On the third and the 9, Morrow was right on Barkley when he caught the ball, but Barkley slipped out of his grip for a 15-yard gain.

Gordon was called for a 40-yard defensive pass interference penalty on the Giants’ first drive on goal in the second half. And Smith obviously wasn’t happy that Taylor escaped his third-and-fourth-place catch in the Giants’ final practice on goal.

“Self-inflicted wounds. This is the most important thing. That’s what hurts the most,” Jackson said. “Player for player, we felt like we had some ups on them. We just have to do the little things right. We can’t keep shooting each other in the foot, myself included, and both sides of the ball, I’m sure, even in the special teams.

Eberflus said a focus this week for the whole team as the Bears prepare for the Minnesota Vikings 3-1 at US Bank Stadium will put together a full game after Sunday’s first-half errors.

“We just have to be consistent throughout,” Eberflus said. “It will be something that we will preach this week and do a better job. Apparently we are doing good things in this second half, but we have to play 60 minutes in this league.

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Chicago Bears defense laments mistakes after allowing 262 yards rushing to New York Giants: ‘Player for player, we felt like we had ups on them’

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Chicago Bears Defense Laments Mistakes After Allowing 262 Yards Rushing To New York Giants: ‘Player For Player, We Felt Like We Had Ups On Them’
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When New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones faked the handoff to Saquon Barkley in the first quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium and then spun out to his left, a clear 21-yard lane to the end zone lay before Jones.

With Chicago Bears defenders Trevis Gipson, Jaquan Brisker and Dominique Robinson in chase mode, Jones picked up speed. Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon was unable to shake tight end Tanner Hudson’s block near the goal line, and Jones squeaked into the corner of the end zone behind Hudson for the QB’s first of two touchdown runs in the first half.

The Giants never trailed the Bears again in their 20-12 victory, and Jones contributed 68 rushing yards to the Giants’ 262 for the day, a season-high by a Bears opponent.

“He’s a good athlete,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said of Jones. “He’s got some long legs, so he’s got a good stride and can kind of get out there a little bit. But there are some rules we’ve got to follow to make sure we can contain some of those runs.”

Jones’ second touchdown came in similar fashion — a fake to Barkley, a sprint to the left corner of the end zone, an 8-yard touchdown.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears made adjustments to stop similar bootleg plays in the second half, but they needed to come more quickly. The damage of two touchdowns was done, and coupled with a Bears offense that failed to get in the end zone, it was too much to overcome.

“It’s just eyes — you’ve got to keep your eyes in the right spot,” safety Eddie Jackson said of defending Jones on play action. “They were doing a good job setting it up, running with Saquon. Running, running then slip the boot here and there. We just have to do a better job with our eyes and on the edges.”

The threat Barkley posed helped the Giants pull off the plays. After he was limited the last couple of seasons with injuries, Barkley continued his bounce-back season with 31 carries for 146 yards and two catches for 16 yards.

His performance continued a concerning trend, as the Bears have allowed more than 175 yards rushing in three of their four games this season.

“He came out and played a great game, but there were a lot of mistakes on our behalf,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “He’s a heck of a player, but that’s no excuse. We’ve just got to all get better and look ourselves in the mirror, including myself.”

Jones was hobbled by a left ankle injury midway through the second half, and then backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. The Bears held the Giants to just two second-half field goals from kicker Graham Gano. Jackson came up with a big interception early in the fourth quarter — his third in four games — but the Bears offense failed to capitalize on the takeaway that gave them the ball at their own 4-yard line.

Through four games, the Bears defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown after halftime, giving up just 18 total second-half points.

But the running thread in the Bears locker room from defenders after the game was that mistakes here and there kept the unit from putting together the game-altering performance the team needs — especially as the offense struggled and special teams made costly mistakes, such as the muffed punt by returner Velus Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter.

Morrow lamented a missed tackle on a short pass from Jones to Barkley on the Giants’ second touchdown drive. On third-and-9, Morrow was right on Barkley when he caught the ball, but Barkley spun out of his grasp for a 15-yard gain.

Gordon was called for a 40-yard defensive pass interference penalty on the Giants’ first field-goal drive of the second half. And Smith obviously wasn’t pleased that Taylor twirled out of his grasp on third-and-4 on the Giants’ final field-goal drive.

“Self-inflicted wounds. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what hurts the most,” Jackson said. “Player for player, we felt like we had ups on them. We just have to do the little things right. We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot, myself included, and both sides of the ball I’m sure, even on special teams.”

Eberflus said a focus this week for the whole team as the Bears prepare for the 3-1 Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium will be putting together a full game after Sunday’s first-half miscues.

“We just have to be consistent all the way through,” Eberflus said. “That’s going to be something we’re going to preach this week and do a better job of. Apparently, we’re doing some good things in this second half, but we have to play 60 minutes in this league.”

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