Giants vs. 49ers: 5 Things We Learned from New York's 20-17 Win

Jeff ShullAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2012

Giants vs. 49ers: 5 Things We Learned from New York's 20-17 Win

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    Unless you are a San Francisco 49ers fan, you just enjoyed one of the more memorable NFC Championship Games of all time and are still relishing in the excitement. 

    For the second time, Lawrence Tynes has kicked the New York Giants into the Super Bowl, and this run may have been even more improbable than the last. 

    Eli Manning didn't have his best game, but he came up huge when he had to despite having no protection to speak of. 

    So with the Giants heading to Indianapolis, let's take a last look behind us at the five things we learned from tonight's victory. 

The Offensive Line Played Its Worst Game of the Season.

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    Starting with the negative, the offensive line played their worst game of the season.

    The 49ers defense has a great front four, but the offensive line went up against the same group in Week 10 and only allowed one sack. 

    This game, they allowed six sacks and more than 20 quarterback hits (according to Fox's unofficial number they kept flashing). 

    The New England Patriots, who won the AFC Championship over the Baltimore Ravens 23-20, do not have near the defense the 49ers do, but they still have Bill Belichick

    The offensive line has much work to do. 

Steve Weatherford Is the Unsung Hero

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    What can you say about Steve Weatherford's performance tonight?

    He repeatedly put the 49ers in bad field position all game long and allowed the defense to do its thing. 

    He punted 12 times, several of which came at crucial moments in the fourth quarter and overtime, averaging 46.4 yards per punt. 

    Many of his punts came deep in his own territory, so for him to have a big game was a huge factor.

    Not only that, but he kept his composure amidst a low snap on the game-winning field goal attempt and put it in perfect position for Lawrence Tynes.

    Seriously, Steve Weatherford is a top-five candidate for the MVP of this team.  

When You Play Mistake-Free Football, You Usually Win

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    Aside from a few very dumb penalties by the defense, the Giants played mistake-free football. 

    They had some luck involved with the 49ers running in to each other on two possible interceptions and not recovering an early Eli Manning fumble, but still, the Giants posted a goose egg in the turnover column. 

    When that happens, you rarely lose the football game.

    Tom Coughlin is likely very proud. 

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning Hit the Record Books

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    After tonight's victory over the 49ers, both Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning tied and broke a record of their own. 

    Coughlin tied Tom Landry for the most road playoff victories as a head coach, and Eli Manning set the record for the same thing but as a starting quarterback. 

    Think they still do not embody the Road Warrior spirit?

This Run to the Super Bowl Is More Impressive Than 2007

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    When I say the run is more impressive than 2007, I'm not just talking about the fact that this year's team only had nine wins to that year's team who had 10. 

    The main reason this run felt more difficult was the strength of their opponents. The Falcons were better than the Bucs, the 15-1 Packers were certainly better than the 2007 Cowboys and the 49ers posed a much more difficult matchup than the Packers with Brett Favre at the helm. 

    Both runs are spectacular, and no one really saw them coming, but the 2011 version has been better. 

    So far.