Sunday, October 13th 2012
Final Score: New York Giants: 26 San Francisco 49ers: 3
Giants Dominate NFC Championship Game Re-Match
Tom Coughlin came into the week proclaiming that no one believed the Giants could beat the 49ers, not giving his team any chance of winning in San Francisco against the team many considered the best in the NFL. Someone forgot to tell Coughlin, his staff and players because the Giants decimated the 49ers in their own house to the tune of a 26-3 whooping.
The Giants had not played the strongest of schedules thus far, but limped out to a 3-2 record and wanted to try their hand against a contender; the 49ers wish that the Giants had not. The Giants reminded everyone who the reigning Super Bowl Champions are and just how great of a team they are when it matters most.
The Giants made a statement in this game, even though it was the 49ers who were supposed to be out to exact revenge and take it to the Giants, especially since the game was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Eli Manning had an efficient game behind an offensive line that kept him upright for most of the game, as the 49ers were unable to sack Manning. Manning completed 15 of 28 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown. Manning totaled 176 of those yards in the first half, as the Giants used a pounding run game to finish off the 49ers in the second half.
Ahmad Bradshaw once again led a very solid run game for the Giants, giving them a dimension on offense they have lacked for over a season. Bradshaw ran for 116 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown, amazing statistics because the 49ers have one of the top rush defense and overall defenses in the NFL, giving up under 100 rushing yards a game and only 187 through the air.
David Wilson is becoming more of a frequent site on the field during offensive possessions and he is making the most of his opportunity. Wilson relieved Bradshaw and received seven carries for 35 yards, delivering a back-breaking 20 yard run on a seven-plus minute drive by the Giants to finish off the game in the fourth quarter.
Hakeem Nicks returned to the lineup for the Giants, catching three balls for 44 yards, but it was his replacement Domenik Hixon who once again played a big role for the Giants. Hixon caught four balls for 78 yards, taking advantage of the third cornerback the 49ers were using and putting the Giants into position for their first touchdown of the afternoon.
Victor Cruz was solid as always for the Giants, catching six passes for 58 yards and one touchdown, delivering his patented Salsa dance for the 49er crowd. As the game went on, the chants of “Cruz” became louder and louder as the Giant fans started to take over.
The defense has been called out and questioned over the past few weeks and they showed up Sunday afternoon, showing some of that Super Bowl swagger they had been missing. “How will they slow down Vernon Davis,” naysayers asked, yet that’s exactly what they did. Davis, who destroyed the Giants en route to scoring three touchdowns in two games last season, was held to three catches for 37 yards and was invisible when the 49ers needed him most.
Alex Smith is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, no chance the Giants slow him down people said. The Giants destroyed Smith Sunday, rattling him early and getting into his head with hit after hit.
The Giants pass rush had been non-existent throughout the season thus far, but they showed up just in time for this big matchup. The Giants accumulated six sacks, led by two from Jason Pierre-Paul. This constant pressure on Smith got him off his game, as he threw three interceptions.
Antrel Rolle was responsible for two of those interceptions, with Prince Amukamara getting the other. Those interceptions are significant because Smith has become a very good protector of the ball, rarely turning it over, even setting the 49ers franchise record for passes in a row without an interception.
The Giants defense was also able to hold the vaunted 49ers rushing offense in check, not allowing them to break the century mark and limiting them to 87 yards, holding them 89 yards under their normal output of 176 yards per game.
These are the kind of wins that are staples of long winning streaks and the Giants looked poised to start one of their own. Sitting on two wins in a row, the Giants head into two straight divisional match-ups with a ton of momentum. The first of those match-ups is Sunday afternoon back at MetLife Stadium as the Giants will face off against Robert Griffin III for the first time. The Giants will look to beat the Redskins for their first division win of the season.