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Giants still the cream of the NFL crop

Posted By Greg Quintero On Oct 14 2012 @ 10:30 pm In New York Giants | No Comments

A look at the standing before Sunday the San Francisco 49ers wouldn’t appear to be heading into a must win game. A look at their opponent would reveal a different picture. The 49ers opponent week 6 was the New York Giants, the team who defeated them in the¬†2011 NFC Championship game en route to a Super Bowl victory. This was the reason the 49ers made several¬†off season upgrades on the offensive side of the ball, including signing receiver Mario Manningham, a key figure in the Giants championship run a season before. This was the 49ers first shot at redemption, and a chance to prove they have arrived in the upper echelon of the NFL.

Sunday would indeed be a statement game, however it was courtesy of the New York Giants. The Giants again went cross country to defeat the 49ers at Candlestick Park, not relying on a late fumble or overtime field goal as they did in 2011. The Giants dominated on both sides of the ball Sunday, routing the 49ers 26-3 in front of a deflated home crowd. The 49ers did themselves no favors, making an array of errors not typically seen under the Jim Harbaugh regime. However, the feeling following the lopsided result was less about 49ers mistakes, and more about the Giants dominance. The traditionally slow starting Giants seemingly put the NFL on notice — When healthy and motivated, a trip to the Super Bowl still runs through New York.

Offensively the Giants were not flashy, but played solid, mistake free football. Exploiting favorable field position throughout the game, thanks largely to 49ers turnovers, Eli Manning completed 15 of 28 passes for 193 yards, and one touchdown. The touchdown was hauled in by the salsa-dancing Victor Cruz, one of six receptions for him on the day. Manning also benefited from the outstanding play of his offensive line, which at times gave their quarterback all day to throw, and didn’t allow a sack all game. The offensive standout Sunday for the G-Men was bulldozing running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw carried the ball 27 times for 116 yards, and one touchdown. The Giants running corps galloped for 149 total yards, the highest allowed by a 49ers defense since the 2010 campaign.

If steady describes the Giants offensive output Sunday, spectacular defines their defensive effort. The Giants front seven equally stifled the 49ers quarterback platoon of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, recording six sacks on the day. The defensive front also stalled the 49ers running game, limiting the team to a total of 80 yards from scrimmage. The aerial attack lacked success as well, as Smith was pressured into several ill-advised throws, three of which were intercepted by the Giants secondary. Cornerback Antrel Rolle recorded two of those interceptions, the other ending up in the hands of Prince Amukamara. The turnovers proved costly for the 49ers, leaving the Giants with a short field, and accounting for 13 of their 26 points.

Sunday’s performance by the New York Giants could be looked at by some as nothing more than a week 6 victory in a 17 week season. Perhaps they played a stellar, well-rounded game while catching the 49ers on an equally off day. However, the dominating performance over their conference rival left little positives for the Niners to take away, and little doubt on who the superior team was. The undefeated Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans can’t be overlooked as they try to wrestle NFL superiority from the Giants, but those teams aren’t yet battle tested. The Falcons and Texans have played to level of their competition thus far, Sunday the Giants dismantled theirs. Sunday, the Giants used a 26-3 trashing of the 49ers to put the NFL on notice — They’re still here, and they’re still the defending Super Bowl champions.

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