Not even last year’s Super Bowl champion version of the New York Giants did what this year’s Giants did on Sunday at Candlestick Park.
Last season, New York used a few lucky breaks to barely get by the San Francisco 49ers on the road, in overtime, to reach Super Bowl XLVI, eleven weeks after coming up just short in a close loss on the same field.
This time, there was no doubt, as five different Giants recorded a total of six sacks while New York (4-2) picked off quarterback Alex Smith (19-for-30, 200 yards, four sacks) three times and running back Ahmad Bradshaw carried 27 times for 116 yards and a touchdown to help Big Blue score the last 26 points over the final three quarters, in a 26-3 thrashing of the 49ers (4-2).
“The statement made, is that we’re here to stay,” said Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (six catches, 58 yards, one touchdown).
As Cruz alluded to, the ease with which the Giants controlled the last three periods sent a clear message that New York is still a very strong force to be reckoned with in the chase for this year’s Super Bowl berth out of the NFC.
Giants-49ers: Rolle Sparks Dominant Defensive Performance
Jim Mancari , Contributor
Giants’ safety Antrel Rolle is sometimes accused of doing more talking off the field than playing football on the field. However, that was far from the case this afternoon, as Rolle’s two interceptions paced a dominant defensive performance in Big Blue’s 26-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Rolle’s interceptions were incredibly timely and gave the Giants’ offense great field position to put points on the board. Alex Smith, who came into the game with the league’s top quarterback rating (108.7), threw a total of three interceptions on the day after only throwing one in the prior five games.
The 49ers entered this contest as the leading rushing team in the NFL, averaging 196.2 yards per game. And if it was any consolation, San Francisco got off to a fast start offensively both on the ground and through the air.
On their first two drives, the 49ers marched down the field on the Giants’ defense, but they settled for only three points, as David Akers missed his first field-goal attempt and made his second. The Giants’ defensive front got pressure on Smith, but he was able to make quick throws over the middle.
The 49ers converted on four of their first six third-down plays, which kept their offense on the field for most of the first quarter. Frank Gore found lanes up the middle, and the Giants had trouble dragging him to the ground.
In total, the 49ers recorded seven first downs and 122 yards of offense in the first quarter, but the Giants’ defense seemed to gain a jolt of confidence from holding the 49ers to just three points after the two sustained drives. From the start of the second quarter on, the Giants defense was downright stingy, starting with Prince Amukamara’s first interception of the season.
Giants 26, 49ers 3: Smith, Niners Get Tangled Up in Blue
John Fennelly , Executive Editor
Before the game, the talk was about about an unrelenting defense and a smash-and-bash rushing attack. The crowd was certainly treated to that, except it was the wrong team that provided it.
The Giants (4-2) came into Candlestick Park today heavy underdogs, without a chance. They left with their heads held high and everyone else without a clue. They simply beat the San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at their own game, physically beating them up and down the field and making them pay for their multiple mistakes.
When it was all over, the Giants had 26 points to the 49ers’ 3. The Niners had been throttling opponents’ running games not allowing a 100-yard rusher in the past 23 games at home and only one in the previous 43 games overall.
That ended today. The Giants’ offensive line, who everyone continues to malign without any physical evidence, pushed the Niner defense around and led the way to a 152 yard day, 116 for Ahmad Bradshaw.
They also protected QB Eli Manning (15/23, 198 yds and TD), who was hurried a few times but not sacked.
The defense was the story, though. They went after the Alex Smith, the league’s top passer and forced him into hurries and multiple errors. He threw 3 INTs – one to Prince Amukamara and two to Antrel Rolle, who did not have any TV cameras to impede his path.
The Giants’ defense recorded six sacks after coming into the game with only eight. They held the mighty Niners to 80 yards on the ground and only 36 for Frank Gore.
Rookie David Wilson had a 66-yard kickoff return. Victor Cruz caught the only TD reception, a 6-yard pass from Eli in the second quarter
Inactive for the Giants this afternoon in San Francisco:
S Kenny Phillips, DT Rocky Bernard, RB Andre Brown, OL James Brewer, DE Adewale Ojomo, TE Adrien Robinson and WR Jerrel Jernigan.
WR Hakeem Nicks and OL David Diehl are active as are CB Jayron Hosley and TE Martellus Bennett.
Former Giant RB Brandon Jacobs is inactive today for the 49ers. Other San Fran inactives: OL Joe Looney, QB Scott Tolzien, WR AJ Jenkins, S Trenton Robinson, RB LaMichael James and DL Ian Williams.
The Players’ Edge: Giants +6 vs Niners
John Fennelly , Executive Editor
The Giants (3-2) travel to San Francisco to play the 4-1 49ers. The Niners are favored by 6 1/2 points. The over/under is 46.
The last time these two met, the Giants took advantage of the Niners’ special teams failures and advanced to the Super Bowl on a FG in OT. They also played in early November, with the Niners stopping the Giants int he red zone in final seconds, 27-20.
Before we get into the numbers, let’s review a few things that we know. The Giants need to be at critical mass to play their best football. They also play better on the road. They really play their best when no one gives them a chance.
San Francisco still has that killer defense, but now they have a high-powered offense to go with it. The Giants’ secondary has been struggling to keep up with the league’s most modest receiving corps. The Niners will throw Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis at them.
To the Giants’ credit they are familiar with the speed of the Niners’ play. They should also getting some key players back: WR Hakeem Nicks, OL David Diehl and CB Jayron Hosley. In regards to solving to Davis dilemma, the Giants now have two LBs that can run with him: Jacquian Williams and Keith Rivers.
The keys to hanging with San Francisco are obvious: protect QB Eli Manning; stop the Niners’ rushing attack and run the ball themselves. They have surely been watching film from the Niners’ loss to Minnesota. In that game, the Vikings stuck with the run on offense until San Francisco bended to their will. The Giants have yet to show they can do that to anyone.
Minnesota also has Chad Greenway at LB, a hard-hitting run-stopper who hammered Frank Gore all afternoon and held San Fran to 89 yards rushing. The Giants have more of a finesse back seven, so someone has to come out of their skin and make something happen.
The Giants have Ahmad Bradshaw coming off the best performance of his career. He is chomping at the bit to show the world last Sunday was no fluke. With Andre Brown out, rookie David Wilson and Da’Rel Scott could be x-factors here with their breakaway speed.
If you are playing this game, and are buying into the Niner Nation propaganda, please don’t forget that Eli Manning is Mr. October. Even if the Niners take control of this game, Eli has the ability to stick a garbage-time TD in on you to spoil the cover…..
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (3-2) return to Candlestick Park to face the San Francisco 49ers (4-1) in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game. It is the 29th meeting between the the storied franchises, who have won a combined 9 Super Bowls between them. The series is tied at 14 wins apiece.
Kickoff: 4:25pm ET Site: Candlestick Park Surface: Bluegrass TV: FOX Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver (Field reporter) Radio: WFAN 660 AM Bob Papa, Carl Banks and Howard Cross (field reporter); Compass Media Networks Chris Carrino and Brian Baldinger; SIRIUS: 92 (NYG), 86 (SF) XM: 229 (SF) Weather: Partly cloudy, temps around 70 with winds 5-10mph The Line: 49ers by 6 1/2; O/U 45 1/2
Last Regular Season Game at Site: 11/13/11: 49ers 27, Giants 20. San Francisco DT Justin Smith knocks down New York QB Eli Manning’s 4th-down pass from 49ers’ 10-yard line with :34 remaining to preserve victory.
Streaks: Giants have won 3 of last 4. Tom Coughlin is 5-1 lifetime vs San Francisco. NFC Rankings: Defense: 49ers 2nd, Giants 12th; Offense: Giants 1st, 49ers 4th Turnover Ratio: 49ers +5; Giants +4
Here are the staff predictions for this Sunday’s game vs the 49ers out at Candlestick Park. The Niners are favored by 6 1/2 points and the over/under is 44.
Sam Spiegelman: This one is going to have the feel of a playoff game for sure, but right now, San Fran is the more complete team. The Niners are clicking on both offense and defense, and they have the fortunate position of being at home in Candlestick Park — not to mention, they want to avenge their NFC Championship Game loss … badly. The Giants, meanwhile, have had no pass rush to bank on and it’s a question about what kind of performance they can expect out of Hakeem Nicks coming off of multiple injuries. Right now, San Fran looks to be the superior team, but it wouldn’t shock me to see one of the trademark Eli Manning comebacks in the fourth quarter. Prediction: 49ers 23, Giants 20.