Eli Manning was fortunate blitzing SS Keith Lewis didn't tip a second-and-5 pass to one of his teammates, with the Giants at San Francisco's 30 early in the fourth quarter. Bottom Line: Manning was solid following a three-interception regression in Cleveland.
RB Derrick Ward's burst of speed just beyond the line of scrimmage accounted for a 35-yard reception on a third-and-10 play from the Giants' 20 late in the third quarter. RB Brandon Jacobs kept moving forward following RILB Patrick Willis' initial contact and scored a 2-yard touchdown that helped move the Giants in front 14-3 on the first play of the second quarter. Bottom Line: Ahmad Bradshaw's fumbling is worrisome, but they were good otherwise.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
The offensive pass interference flag thrown on WR Plaxico Burress at the midway mark of the second quarter wasn't warranted, as he barely made any contact with LCB Nate Clements. But Burress' incessant complaining about the third-down call cost the Giants an additional 15 yards in field position because he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. TE Kevin Boss stood up OLB Parys Haralson at the line of scrimmage, knocked him on his back and allowed Bradshaw to cut inside for a 2-yard gain on a fourth-and-1 play from the 49ers' 10 late in the first quarter. Bottom Line: Steve Smith was effective again.
C Shaun O'Hara was whistled for an uncharacteristically dumb personal foul because he blindsided FS Dashon Goldson before the reversal of Bradshaw's fumble at the 3:17 mark of the third quarter. Losing 15 yards of field position contributed to the Giants settling for a 35-yard FG by K John Carney, which was blocked and returned for a touchdown. RT Kareem McKenzie manhandled NT Isaac Sopoaga at the line of scrimmage to open the huge hole Jacobs used to run for a 26-yard touchdown that helped give the Giants a 7-0 lead at the 7:52 mark of the first quarter. Bottom Line: San Francisco's defenders couldn't get near Manning.
NT Barry Cofield escaped a double team to track down QB J.T. O'Sullivan for a 1-yard sack near the midway mark of the third quarter. He was down on the FieldTurf, but LDE Justin Tuck was aware enough to use his left hand to tap a rolling loose ball in the direction of RDE Mathias Kiwanuka, who recovered RB Frank Gore's fumble at San Francisco's 18 early in the third quarter. The Giants went ahead 24-10 four plays later on Manning's 6-yard touchdown toss to Burress. Bottom Line: They recorded five of the six sacks of O'Sullivan.
MLB Chase Blackburn adeptly used his right hand to reach around and strip O'Sullivan at about the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter. RT Barry Sims recovered the fumble, but the 49ers lost 13 yards on the play, including Blackburn's 7-yard sack. Bottom Line: Antonio Pierce's absence wasn't an issue.
With the Giants ahead, 17-10, FS Michael Johnson blanketed WR Arnaz Battle down the middle of the field and snatched O'Sullivan's throw in the end zone for an interception that prevented the 49ers from scoring just before halftime. LCB Aaron Ross covered WR Josh Morgan step for step toward the end zone, but he lost sight of the ball at the last second and allowed Morgan to catch a 30-yard touchdown that helped draw San Francisco within four points (14-10) early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Ross overcame his early mistake in this game.
K John Carney doesn't get enough distance on his kickoffs, but he showed he still has leg strength by drilling a 48-yard FG that put the Giants in front 27-17, with 12:17 to play in the game. LS Jay Alford's pad level was way too low after releasing a snap, which allowed OLB Manny Lawson to jump over him and block Carney's 35-yard FG attempt late in the third quarter. Clements returned the block 74 yards for a touchdown that helped bring San Francisco within a touchdown (24-17). Bottom Line: The blocked FG wasn't Carney's fault at all.
Head coach Tom Coughlin was hesitant, but ultimately made the right call in challenging Bradshaw's fumble at San Francisco's 5 late in the third quarter. Bradshaw's left shin touched the turf before FS Mark Roman stripped the ball. Coughlin's decision to run Bradshaw around right end on a fourth-and-1 play from San Francisco's 10 late in the first quarter enabled to the Giants to go up 14-3 two plays later. Bottom Line: They were a little sloppy, but beat an inferior team after a bad defeat.
Breaking down the game film
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