Originally written October 16, 2012 on The Sports Headquarters:
NEW YORK (26) d SAN FRANCISCO (3) The Headline: Giants keep rolling with a dominating road win The Story: So far this season, the 49ers have looked like the NFC’s best team with a suffocating defense and an efficient offense and in this game they were out for revenge against a Giants team that ended their season in heartbreaking fashion last year. For this game though, it was the defending Super Bowl champion Giants who looked like the best team in the NFL as they thoroughly outclassed the 49ers in their home stadium. Coming off dominating wins over the Jets and Bills, the 49ers were not up for it in this game where the Giants followed a similar script to the team they share a stadium with by relying on their defense to force mistakes and their running game to grind things out. Eli Manning was not asked to withstand a battering from the 49ers vaunted defense here as he only completed 15 passes on the afternoon as his teammates did most of the work. New York was guilty of some inefficiencies on the day, relying too much on their kicker to generate points when their offense stalled in the red zone. With the defense generating plenty of turnovers they really should have made the most of their field position and scored a couple more touchdowns but at the end of the day it really did not matter too much since they scored more than enough points as it was. Key Stat: Alex Smith: 3 interceptions In his career last year, Smith was at his best when he was avoiding stupid mistakes that resulted in turnovers that killed the team’s offensive momentum. Against the Giants he was not able to avoid those mistakes as he committed three turnovers which put his defense in tough spots. His first interception came on the first play of the drive sending his defense straight back out on the field having just stopped the Giants which then lead to the Giants first touchdown. His second pick came on third down from his own 23 when Antrell Rolle intercepted the pass and took it to the 49ers 12. Eli Manning threw three straight incompletions meaning that mistake was only punished with a field goal but it was still a gift three points the 49ers could not afford to give up. His third pick (and Rolle’s second) also lead to a field goal as he was picked off and the ball was returned to the 5 yard line. Overall it is just one of those days Smith will have to put behind him and hope he can do better next time. Key Play: Alex Smith intercepted by Prince Amukamara in the second quarter With the 49ers leading 3-0 early in the second quarter, they took over on their 34 yard line looking to extend their lead. Alex Smith faked a handoff and looked to throw deep to Delanie Walker down the left sideline. As he finished his play-action however he saw a rusher in his face causing him to step up and rush his throw. The ball dropped short and Amukamara was there to jump in front of Walker and get the interception. It lead to three points for the Giants starting their run of 26 unanswered points. Man of the Match: Ahmad Bradshaw 27 carries, 116 yards, 1 touchdown Coming off a 200 yard performance against Cleveland last week, Bradshaw had another impressive game as the driving force behind the Giants offense this time running over the 49ers defense very effectively. He managed to average 4.3 yards per carry and was consistently able to generate positive yardage, not something a lot of backs can do against this defense so for that effort he wins the award in this game.
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