Stat worth noting: The Giants defense did a great job of stopping the Niners when they needed to. All told, San Francisco was only able to convert two-of-10 third-down opportunities and they failed on their lone fourth-down try.
Stat worth noting II: There was an astounding 24 penalties called, 13 on San Fran. All told there was a whopping 214 penalty yards in the game.
Turning point: The Giants were leading by a touchdown as the third quarter began, but you had the feeling the 49ers weren't planning to make things easy for Big Blue. However, that feeling only lasted until the third play of the period. That's when J.T. O'Sullivan lost control of the ball while trying to hand off to Frank Gore with Mathias Kiwanuka recovering at the 49ers 18-yard line. Four plays and a six-yard TD connection between Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress later and the Giants had extended their lead to 24-10.
Play to remember: The Niners, who had already moved 54 yards in only three plays, were desperately trying to get on the board before halftime. O'Sullivan dropped back to pass and fired a laser toward Arnaz Battle, who was running a post pattern. However, Michael Johnson had perfect coverage in the end zone and was able to pick off his second pass of the quarter to thwart San Fran's drive.
Play to forget: With John Carney attempting to extend New York's 14-point lead late in the third quarter, the Giants offensive line totally broke down. 49ers LB Manny Lawson jumped and got his hand on Carney's low kick. The ball ricocheted right to Nate Clements, who returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. That 10-point swing left the game very much in doubt as the fourth quarter commenced.
What went right
The Giants pass rush returned. A week after going sack-less, Big Blue downed J.T. O'Sullivan six times for 38 yards in losses. Justin Tuck led the charge with a pair.
The Giants didn't miss Antonio Pierce all that much. Sure they would have loved to have had their defensive leader, but Chase Blackburn stepped in at MLB and answered the bell with 10 tackles, including a 13-yard sack.
The Giants played turnover-free football while forcing the Niners to cough it up three times. Ahmad Bradshaw appeared to have lost a fumble, but Tom Coughlin's challenge reversed the officials' decision. Turnover-free is the way to be.
Big Blue did a tremendous job of shutting down dangerous RB Frank Gore. The Niners back was held to only 11 yards on 11 carries, and the Giants defense prevented him from making long cutback runs, at which he has become very adept.
Michael Johnson recorded his first two career interceptions, including an end-zone pick that prevented San Francisco from tying the game right before halftime.
What went wrong
The Giants didn't exactly get rolling on offense. New York averaged only 3.5 yards per carry, which is far less than their average of 6.1 through the first five games. And while Eli Manning didn't throw any interceptions a week after his hat trick in Cleveland, his numbers weren't exactly gaudy – 16-31, 161 yards and a TD. The offense couldn't get any consistency, converting only four-of-14 third downs.
Manning needed to do a better job of avoiding defenders at or near the line of scrimmage. He had eight of his passes either batted at the line or defended downfield. A bad bounce or break on any of them could have led to disaster.
Discipline was certainly not a strong suit for the Giants on this day. Among their 11 penalties for 80 yards were two 15-yard personal foul calls on Plaxico Burress and Shaun O'Hara. New York must cut down on the high amount of penalties.
The Giants came up with 17 out of a possible 28 points in the red zone. That's not bad, but not as dominant as they'd like.
2 – Amount of games in the loss column by which the 5-1 Giants lead the Cowboys, who got shredded by St. Louis to drop to 4-3.
5 – Number of tackles by reserve DE Dave Tollefson, who played very well against San Fran.
8 – Number of penalties in the first quarter alone, as this game never got into any kind of rhythm.
"I think we are capable of playing a lot better than we did today, but as I told the players, the objective was to win one game." – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
"I feel like what sticks with me walking off the field as far as offense, we need to score more than 10 points." – 49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan
The win's the thing
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