Fool’s Gold: Giants come up empty in San Francisco
The Giants rallied late, but came up short against the Niners in a 27-20 loss in San Francisco.
What went right …
1. No Gore-ing
The Giants were an opposing running back’s dream heading into the game, but more than redeemed itself with its best effort of the season. Frank Gore entered the game with a franchise-record five consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing, but was stifled all game before exiting with a knee injury to start the fourth quarter. Gore finished with zero yards on just six carries.
2. Not elite, but efficient
Eli Manning didn’t set the world on fire statistically, but he was efficient. Although his final game-tying drive came up just short, Manning was sharp for most of the game, finishing 26-of-40, 311 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Despite his two picks, he was otherwise very solid, especially early, when he started the game 11-of-11. He also had another streak in the fourth quarter when he went 7-of-7 and converted two crucial fourth-down conversions. The recently-hot Manning led two Big Blue touchdown drives of 80 or more yards.
3. New York didn’t necessarily miss Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), who didn’t even travel, as Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware filled in admirably. Jacobs tallied 55 tough yards on a season-high 18 carries, while Ware registered 34 yards in limited duty. The 89 combined rushing yards weren’t flashy, but they were effective enough to at least keep San Francisco’s vaunted defense honest.
What went wrong …
1. Mr. Rogers
Manning will be seeing a lot of Niners’ cornerback Carlos Rogers in his nightmares, as the veteran snared two interceptions. The first, coming in the first half, ended a hot streak by Manning who was 12-of-15 at the time – with two of those incompletions being outright drops. Rogers’s second wasn’t on Manning at all, as receiver Mario Manningham broke off his route early, and Rogers came up with the easy pick early in the fourth quarter. Gore’s backup, Kendall Hunter, punched it in on the next play from the 17-yard line for the score. It capped a wild 1:01 for the Niners who scored 15 points in a matter of three offensive plays.
2. No game manager
Niners quarterback Alex Smith was thought to be a weak link, but he acquitted himself nicely, even sans Gore. The maligned seven-year signal caller finished 19-of-30 for 242 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Smith certainly did enough to keep Big Blue off balance in all facets, as he added 27 rushing yards and never committed the killer mistake.
3. Nothing special
Special teams still continue to hold the Giants down, as they got nothing out of this unit. Since Domenik Hixon went down with a second-consecutive season-ending ACL injury in training camp, the Giants haven’t found a suitable replacement. Fill-in Devin Thomas was benched, while punt returner Aaron Ross gave way to Victor Cruz. Even the coverage team had a big gaffe, as the Niners executed a surprise onside kick with 5:00 remaining in the half. The gain in field position resulted in a 39-yard David Akers field goal to give the Niners a 9-6 lead.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.