Defense Comes up Big in New York Giants Upset of San Francisco 49ers
I should have seen this coming a mile away. The New York Giants absolutely hammered the San Francisco 49ers in FOX's game of the week. Nobody gave this team any chance going into the game, including myself. I predicted a 27-16 win for the 49ers, but what resulted was a 26-3 destruction of what many considered to be the top team in the league.
I should have seen this coming because the Giants are such an anomaly of a team. They play their best against good teams, but when they are completely counted out by just about everyone across the country, they are almost unbeatable. This was one of those occasions, and I should have seen it coming.
The NFL is so crazy this season. You literally never know what is going to happen on a week to week basis anymore. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals each lost in games that the general pubic were all over.
It has gotten to the point that I just want to forget my pick 'em leagues. What's the point anymore?
So here are five reasons why the Giants hammered the 49ers today. Believe me, there were plenty to choose from.
Eli Manning was Brilliant When he Needed to Be
Eli Manning did not have great numbers, but he was great when it mattered. He made several clutch throws and hit five different receivers. He converted two big third downs on the Giants' first scoring drive.
Alex Smith was Awful
The Giants got pressure on Alex Smith early and it clearly bugged him. He made multiple mistakes on the day, but none more so than his two awful decisions on his interceptions thrown right to Antrel Rolle. Smith's three interceptions were killer and took away all the momentum the 49ers had built up from their first two drives.
Giants Offensive Line Had Their Best Game This Season
The Giants offensive line had without a doubt their best game of the season. The 49ers have one of the league's best defensive fronts, and Eli was held upright all game long. They also started to open up holes in the running game as the game dragged on. The Giants rushed for 149 yards at four yards per carry and Eli was not sacked at all.
David Diehl came back and he and Sean Locklear split time at right tackle, but Diehl also spent a lot of the fourth quarter as a blocking tight end. I'm not sure I would go away from what is working, which is starting Will Beatty and Locklear at the tackle positions. Diehl is a good player, but it's obvious the Giants block better with him on the bench.
Antrel Rolle Had a Great Game
Other than a mistake in the second half where he jumped a route and let Randy Moss catch a deep pass, Antrel Rolle had an terrific game. His two interceptions in the third quarter may have only led to two field goals, but more importantly he took the crowd out of the game.
That said, with the 49ers struggling to score those extra six points helped a ton. Rolle has been playing great all year long and he came up huge in the Giants' biggest game of the season.
The Giants Defensive Front Was Dominant
Easily the guys that affected the game the most were the defensive front seven for the Giants. The 49ers got off to a nice start, but the Giants were getting stops when it mattered and holding the 49ers to field goal attempts. But in the second half the entire defense played better than I've ever seen them play. They were flying all over the field, creating turnovers and stuffing the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack.
Coming into the game the 49ers were averaging 195 yards per game on the ground and were coming off game where they had over 600 yards. They had just 80 yards rushing and 314 total yards on the day, and most of those yards came in the first half.
The Giants defense also was able to get pressure on QB Alex Smith, who was flustered all day and threw three interceptions. Coming into the game the Giants had just eight sacks, but sacked Smith six times in this game.
Hopefully the Giants build off this and start playing this way the rest of the year.