Giants vs 49ers: What We Learned from G-Men's 26-3 Victory over San Francisco
What was supposed to be an epic re-match of the 2011 NFC Championship Game turned out to be a blowout.
The Giants improved to 4-2, now having won two in a row and will come home next Sunday to play their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins.
What did we learn from the Giants in their game on Sunday against the 49ers?
Click through to find out.
Frank Gore Got Shut Down
In the last two games, the Giants defense was given a hard time by two star running backs.
Two weeks ago, they had trouble stopping LeSean McCoy of the Eagles, and last week, they had extreme difficulty slowing down Trent Richardson of the Browns.
Against the 49ers, the defense was able to contain Frank Gore.
Gore was held to eight carries for 36 yards and four catches for 20 yards, giving him just 56 yards from scrimmage.
Gore is probably the 49ers best player on the offense, and because of his size and speed, he's also one of the hardest backs to bring down.
Yet on Sunday, the Giants didn't let Gore run wild on them. Holding him to 36 yards rushing is a great way to force the 49ers to become a one-dimensional team.
The Giants took away the run with Gore, and the results showed in the final score.
Ahmad Bradshaw Had Another Great Game
Last week against the Browns, Bradshaw rushed for 200 yards and had by far the best game of his career.
To follow that performance, Bradshaw had another solid game against the 49ers, going for 27 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Bradshaw was able to score the first touchdown of the second half on a one-yard plunge after David Wilson's 66-yard kickoff return gave the Giants great field positioning to start the second half.
Rushing for 200 yards against the Browns is good, but by no means is Cleveland a premier defense.
However, running for over 100 yards against perhaps the best defense in the NFL speaks volumes for how great of a game Bradshaw had.
With the pace he is going, he should be able to hit 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
The Defensive Line FINALLY Came Alive
This was the game the Giants defensive line needed to get themselves going.
Through the first few weeks, they had gotten off to a slow start and barely had been sacking the quarterback.
Against the 49ers and Alex Smith, the Giants finally woke up, brought pressure all game and sacked Smith six times.
Jason Pierre-Paul looked like a man playing against boys at times against the 49ers offensive line, tossing them aside to get to Smith, as he recorded two sacks on Sunday.
Adrian Tracy, Linval Joseph, Jacquian Williams and Mathias Kiwanuka each had one sack in the game as well.
Justin Tuck still has yet to record a sack, but hopefully, he'll eventually get going as the Giants front line was able to snap out of their slow start and get to Smith several times.
Hakeem Nicks Return Makes Offense Even More Dangerous
For three weeks, Hakeem Nicks has been missing from the Giants lineup, as he was sidelined with an injured knee that kept swelling up.
After three weeks on the sidelines, Nicks finally returned for the Giants on Sunday.
He didn't have a spectacular game, but his presence was felt on the field.
Nicks had three catches for 44 yards, with his longest catch in the game being 26 yards.
It wasn't the 199-yard performance that Nicks had against the Buccaneers back in Week 2, but having Nicks on the field makes the offense that much more dangerous.
Now, Eli Manning has Nicks, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle, Ramses Barden and Martellus Bennett, plus Ahmad Bradshaw, that he can throw to, giving him a lot of options.
But having Nicks back on the field and healthy is a victory in itself, and even if he doesn't have the 100-yard game, he makes the offense even better with him available to play.
The Secondary Dominated on the Field
Earlier in the season, we talked about how poorly the Giants secondary had played.
Against the 49ers, they looked as good as ever.
In the second quarter, Alex Smith threw a pass deep down the field intended for Delanie Walker, but it was picked off by Prince Amukamara.
The interception by Amukamara led to the Giants scoring on an Eli Manning to Victor Cruz touchdown pass, making it 10-3 Giants.
In the second half, after the Giants had scored, making it 17-3, the Giants forced another turnover, when Antrel Rolle picked off a Smith pass that was intended for Mario Manningham.
The Rolle interception led to a 30-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes, which made it 20-3.
On the next drive, Smith threw a pass intended for Michael Crabtree and was again picked off for a second time by Rolle.
That led to a 22-yard field goal by Tynes, making it 23-3.
The Giants secondary took advantage of Smith's throwing errors and turned three interceptions into 13 points.
Even without Kenny Phillips, the Giants secondary could not have looked any better on Sunday, making plays on the field and setting up opportunities for points.
This Win Shows the Giants Are a Force in the NFC
When I looked at this game on the schedule, I expected the Giants to lose.
Given that they beat the 49ers back in January, I thought San Francisco would come in and try to get revenge for the NFC Championship.
But instead, the Giants played the part of defending Super Bowl champions, marched into Candlestick Park on Sunday and destroyed the 49ers.
Lets get one thing clear, the 49ers are a very good team and will be in the playoffs come January.
So for the Giants to dominate the way they did on the field shows that they are a force to be reckon with in 2012.
On offense, they have the ability to put up a ton of yards and a lot of points on any defense, including the 49ers, who up until Sunday were regarded by many as the league's best unit.
On defense, the Giants probably played the best game all year long, holding the 49ers to three points, causing six sacks and three interceptions. If the Giants continue that trend, they would be impossible to beat.
What we saw from the Giants on Sunday is a great balance overall between the offense and defense, as each unit looked just as good as the other one.
And now at 4-2 and sitting in first place, it puts the Giants in the drivers seat of the division and puts them right up there as one of the best teams in the conference.
It just becomes a question of if they can maintain that status through the rest of 2012.
But on Sunday, the Giants played as solid of an overall football game as they could against a worthy opponent.