Giant Takeaways: Giants Outduel 49ers to Earn Second Win of Season
The New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 27-23 at Levi’s Stadium on Monday night to earn their second win of the season and end their five-game losing streak.
New York had less than three minutes to either tie or win the game, following Robbie Gould’s 30-yard field goal. The final drive was penalty filled from both teams. A false start here. A holding there. However, Eli Manning would enter crunch time, and did he ever step up. He would hit tight end Evan Engram on a huge 31-yard pass along the right sideline.
Following a pass interference call on 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, Manning would hit running back Saquon Barkley on a short pass, but the rookie would take it for 23-yards, setting the Giants up just outside the ten-yard line. Following a nine-yard pass to Engram, Manning would hurl up a high pass, and Sterling Shepard would bring it down inside the end zone to give the Giants the late 27-23 lead. New York would stop a late Nick Mullens comeback to solidify the victory.
Manning’s Clutch Play Saves Job For Another Week
As mentioned earlier, Manning would orchestrate a trademark comeback to ensure the Giants would leave the Bay Area with the victory. It was his 27th comeback in his career, his first since Week 10 of the 2016 season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
While the final drive silenced some of Manning’s critics, his play was far from perfect. There were several underthrown passes that could have lead to scores. The main one coming in the fourth quarter, as Manning attempted to find Odell Beckham Jr. deep downfield. However, the pass would hang like a baseball popup, allowing the San Francisco defensive backs to knock the ball out of Beckham’s reach.
Manning would finish the night completing 19-of-31 passes for 188 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions on the night. While the focus of the Giants will be to find the quarterback of the future for the remainder of the season and upcoming offseason, Manning earned himself another start next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
O-Line’s Best Game in a Long Time
The offensive line in New York would gather a plethora of groans over the years from the Giants fan base. However, the Giants struck gold when they landed guard Jamon Brown from the Los Angeles Rams. Luckily for Brown, he had the bye week to study the Giants offensive playbook, which in turn, lead to him starting the game at right guard on Monday night.
His presence proved to be a difference. His highlight play of the game came on Manning’s first quarter touchdown pass to Beckham. Manning had so much time in the pocket, and it’s all thanks to Brown. On that play, Brown was holding back Sheldon Day, and he checked his peripheral vision to see linebacker Cassius Marsh making a beeline for Manning. Reacting on time, Brown would shift over to his left, stuff Marsh, allowing Manning a few extra seconds in the pocket to find Beckham in the end zone.
If you’re all about telling stats, how about this one? The Giants offensive line allowed just one sack for the entirety of the game, and that came late in the fourth quarter.
New York seems to have found the solution to their o-line woes, and will look to keep it going from this point forward.
Odell’s Offensive Showcase
Odell Beckham Jr. is notorious for his birthday week games. Well this year, Beckham’s birthday fell during the bye week, so he had to extend the celebration for another week.
Beckham’s start to the festivities started on a low, as he dropped a would-be first down reception on the first drive of the game. That’s where the downs would end for Beckham, as he would keep the Giants in the game for the shootout. He scored a first quarter touchdown, evading coverage and finding himself alone in the end zone. It didn’t end there, as he would find pay dirt in the third quarter, beating two 49ers defensive backs and hauling in the rain-drop pass from Eli Manning.
The fifth-year receiver would finish his night with four catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
As mentioned in the section earlier, if the offensive line continues to give Manning time in the pocket, Odell Beckham Jr. will be the main beneficiary. Tonight showed that to a T.
The defense was perhaps the largest weakness for the Giants on Monday night.
While quarterback Nick Mullens didn’t look as superb as he did against the Oakland Raiders in his first professional game, he did help put points on the board. Mullens heavily targeted tight end George Kittle, and the Giants had no answers for him. Landon Collins primarily had trouble guarding the Kittle, as his 6-4, 250 pound frame proved to be too difficult to bring down. Kittle hauled in nine receptions for 83 yards on the night.
And then there was 49ers running back Matt Breida. Sometimes, the front seven were able to hold back Breida. On the other occasions, Breida would completely break free and explode for a double-digit gain. Breida would rush for 101 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, which equates to 5.9 yards per run. Not only that, but he would catch three passes for 31 yards and an additional score.
All of that can be attributed to a lack of pass rush, as the Giants were unable to sack Mullens. In response, that gave Mullens time to wait for plays to develop, and he would find the open man. The rookie out of Southern Mississippi would complete 27 of 39 passes for 250 yards and one touchdown.
While the Giants would walk out with the victory, the defense kept the 49ers in the game, especially on their final drive.
B.J. Goodson and Lorenzo Carter Shine
While the defense did not perform up to James Bettcher’s standards, two players emerged as standouts on Monday night.
B.J. Goodson’s three-year NFL career has been hampered by injuries, as well as being stuck low on the linebacker depth chart. However, Monday night was his true star-making performance.
In his first 30 games, he has zero interceptions to his credit. Against San Francisco, Goodson came up with two huge picks. The first coming at the beginning of the game, thanks in part to a Janoris Jenkins deflection. That interception would lead the Giants to a Aldrick Rosas field goal. The second would come in the third quarter, after an intended Mullens pass tipped off receiver Marquise Goodwin’s fingertips, finding it’s way into Goodson’s hands.
On top of the two picks, Goodson would have eight total tackles.
Rookie Lorenzo Carter looked great throughout the game (minus the late roughing the passer call in the final seconds of the game). He would notch eight total tackles on the night, three of them coming for a loss. Carter made the most of every play, and will likely earn an uptick in snaps from here on out.
The Giants will return home, looking for their third win of the season this upcoming Sunday, as they face off against the reeling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will New York be able to replicate this formula from San Francisco? Or will they fall victim to Fitzmagic?
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