The season is still young, but the New York Giants have already seen many scenarios played out, as they’ve gone from a squad that was left for dead following their historic 0-2 start, to a team that currently sits atop the NFC East following their third-straight win, Sunday night.
Their most recent conquest, a thrilling, too-close-for-comfort 30-27 primetime victory over the struggling 49ers (1-4), now has them as one of the league’s hottest teams and owners of a three-game winning streak.
New York was led by the combination of quarterback Eli Manning and wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who hooked up for timely completions in the second half – and one timely misfire that drew a pass interference penalty at the Niners’ 12-yard line, that set up Larry Donnell’s clutch touchdown reception one play later.
Manning’s heroics capped the 27th comeback win in his career, and also showed that while he may still toss an inexplicable pick now and then, when the stakes are at the highest – and the situation looks bleak -- he’s able to stay poised and come through for Big Blue when they need him most.
Metro takes a look back at the key moments that propelled them to their third-straight win.
What we saw:
1. Elite showing
Manning didn’t always make the best decisions, but statistically, he was the best player on the field. His 41 completions set a franchise record, passing Phil Simms’s 40, and he made the necessary throws – including a stretch where he completed 15-straight passes – to lead Big Blue. Manning finished 41-of-54 for 441 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, as he spearheaded a passing attack that was sans his starting wideout duo of Beckham and Rueben Randle for a majority of the final stanza, after both receivers suffered hamstring injuries late in the game. Beckham ultimately returned, but he was a non-factor until he drew the huge pass interference call near the goaline to set up Donnell’s heroics. But this night was all about Manning, who put the offense on his back and led the team to the winning score on a clutch drive that spanned 82-yards in 1:24. The yardage was the seventh time he surpassed the 400-yard mark, and Big Blue needed every one of them to offset a running game that was non-existent. It was Manning’s 27thcareer comeback, as he also became the all-time winningest quarterback in franchise history, passing Simms.
2. Bent and almost broken
The Giants entered the game undermanned on defense, as linebacker Devon Kennard and defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. sat out -- and the list lengthened when linebacker Jon Beason exited early with a concussion. They were sorely missed, as the usual dormant 49ers’ offense knifed through the Giants’ defense all evening. This offensive version of the Niners would never be mistaken for a juggernaut, but they were able to move the chains when they had to and always stayed within striking distance. Their diligence was nearly rewarded when Niners running back Carlos Hyde scored on a two-yard plunge to give San Francisco the late lead, but their defense let them down on the Giants’ final drive. Nevertheless, despite the bending and manipulation of their defense, Big Blue came up big on San Fran’s final gasp, including a sack by Damontre Moore on the penultimate drive – saving the game, and giving themselves sole possession of the NFC East.
3. One-year wonder?
Beckham was famously dubbed a “one-year wonder” by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, but the 49ers secondary would certainly disagree. The electric wideout befuddled the Niners’ secondary for seven catches, 121 yards, and a touchdown, and even helped his team when he didn’t make a catch, as he was able to draw a pass interference call near the goaline to set up Donnell’s game-winner. Beckham missed a great chunk of the fourth quarter as he was dealing with a hamstring malady, but made his way back on the field for the final 40 seconds and gutted out the final few plays. His mere presence reshaped the Niners’ scheme and allowed Donnell to sneak behind the defense and make the acrobatic catch inches in front of the back line of the end zone.
Big Blue notes:
- Manning is now 12th all-time in career passing yardage. Up next is former San Diego Chargers Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who’s 11th on the list.
- Beckham registered his ninth-career game with at least 100 yards receiving.