The Giants used the clichéd rallying cry that nobody believed in them, despite being defending Super Bowl champions, and by the looks of their dominating 26-3 win over the 49ers, that now seems patently absurd.
The Giants (4-2) took a 7-3 lead, at the 10:04 mark of the second quarter, when Eli Manning found Victor Cruz for a 6-yard touchdown, and never looked back, as the 49ers (4-2) uncharacteristically made key blunders. San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith, who had been the model of efficiency since last season, threw three interceptions and never looked comfortable. Smith went 19-of-30, with 200 yards, the three picks and was sacked six times. It was a huge accomplishment by the Giants considering they entered the game with just 2.5 sacks from its “Big 3” pass rush of Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. Pierre-Paul led the team with two sacks.
Smith’s counterpart, Manning, was hardly touched, which was also a huge accomplishment considering the beating he took the last time he faced San Francisco’s ferocious defense. Manning, who wasn’t sacked and barely even touched, finished 15-of-28, with 193 yards and a touchdown.
His passing precision was complemented by a Big Blue rushing attack that did more than enough to keep the 49ers’ defense honest. Ahmad Bradshaw tallied a game-high 116 rushing yards on 27 carries, including a touchdown.
Conversely, the 49ers’ rush defense was non-existent, as they only totaled 80 yards. Frank Gore led all Niners’ running backs with just 36 yards. Gore never got on track and when the game was placed in Smith’s hands, it was obvious he couldn’t stay with Manning and Co., as they finished off San Francisco with 26 unanswered points to close the game.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.