Giants vs. 49ers: San Francisco Got Dominated in the Trenches in 26-3 Loss

Joe LevittContributor IIIOctober 14, 2012

Ahmad Bradshaw (No. 44) had his day against the 49ers D on Sunday.
Ahmad Bradshaw (No. 44) had his day against the 49ers D on Sunday.Brian Bahr/Getty Images

For how well the game presumably began for the San Francisco 49ers, things quickly went awry against the New York Giants on Sunday.

The streak-ending fashion in which this loss transpired really qualifies “awry” as a massive understatement.

Let’s first pose a quick couple of questions regarding the 49ers before we begin this analysis.


What is this team’s greatest strength on defense?

Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.

What is its greatest strength on offense?

Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.


The 49ers failed at what they do best in a thoroughly dominating defeat at the hands of the Giants. New York won 26-3 on an otherwise beautiful day at Candlestick Park.

On defense, San Francisco got absolutely zero pressure on Eli Manning. He sustained just one QB hit and didn’t find himself on the turf during any point of the game.

In other words, the 49ers D-line didn’t register any sacks, let alone QB hurries.

Manning had a clear pocket from which to throw all afternoon, completing 18-of-26 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers don’t convey the whole story, however.

He continually had time to step up and throw bullets to receivers on all areas of the field. Domenik Hixon’s 39-yarder capped off a day where ole Eli made Niners’ defensive backs look like mere college players dropping back at the pro level.

The 49ers’ efforts in defending the run are where things get drastically worse.

Ahmad Bradshaw ran roughshod over San Francisco’s front seven. He ended his day with 27 carries for 116 yards and a score (4.3 yards per carry). The Giants as a whole totaled 149 yards.

Allow us to depict how ugly this picture really is.

This rightfully vaunted defense ranked No. 7 against the run with 81.4 yards per game and just once score allowed on the ground through the first five weeks. 

Bradshaw’s personal 100-yard output and touchdown qualifies as the true dagger in the heart of this defense’s pride – especially from a historical perspective.

The 49ers had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 23 games at home, had not given up a rushing TD at home since Week 11 of 2010 and surrendered the most rushing yards since a home game against the Packers in 2009.


Compounding the matter is that Bradshaw had 84 yards midway through the fourth quarter. Vic Fangio’s unit had ample time to flex its muscle and extend the honorable streak. And giving up 35 yards on seven carries to rookie David Wilson at the end of the game further discredited this defense.

Simply put, the Giants’ O-line pushed its defensive counterparts around and gained leverage for the majority of the game.

Let’s move now to the offensive side of the ball for the 49ers.

The Giants’ pass-rushing corps put the 49ers’ offensive line—what the Fox telecast called the best offensive line in the game—to utter shame on Sunday.

It allowed six sacks and eight QB hits, in addition to facilitating seven tackles for loss. Quarterback Alex Smith was under constant duress, producing a rather ghastly QBR of 24.8 after leading in the NFL in that metric through Week 5 (his three interceptions notwithstanding).

San Fran’s O-line did create running room for the running backs. Unfortunately, Frank Gore and Co’s 80 yards all came during the early goings before the game was out of reach.

All told, the 49ers got punched in the mouth on their home turf by the defending Super Bowl champs. They were the prohibitive favorites and not even redemption from the 2011 NFC Championship Game served as motivation for a relatively easy win on paper.

Yet, games aren’t played on paper—they’re played on the football field.

And the NFL gridiron showed that even the 49ers, greatest strength can also serve as their greatest weakness.


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