Stat worth noting: The usually disciplined Giants – at least this year so far – committed eight penalties for 67 yards in losses. However, the 49ers outdid them in a big way. San Fran was flagged 13 times for 82 yards in losses.
Stat worth noting II: This game obviously came down to turnovers. Besides that, it was as close as could be. The 49ers averaged 4.3 yards on their 62 plays, while the Giants averaged 4.4 yards on their 64 plays.
Turning point: With a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter, the 49ers were hanging around much longer than anyone figured – or wanted. That all changed on a first-and-10 play from the Niners 30-yard line. Frank Gore couldn’t handle the handoff from Trent Dilfer and coughed up the ball. Osi Umenyiora pounced on the loose ball, giving New York the ball at the San Fran 27. Four plays later, Brandon Jacobs ran it in from five yards out and the Giants had a 13-7 lead they would never relinquish.
Play to remember: Osi Umenyiora, who’s clearly bound for the Pro Bowl, salted the game away with the old sack, scoop and score trick. Umenyiora leveled Trent Dilfer, forcing a fumble in the process. He picked up the loose ball and sprinted in the other direction. Seventy-five yards later he was in the end zone with the first TD of his career, which gave the Giants a 26-7 lead.
Play to forget: After the Giants effortlessly drove 83 yards on their first possession, they were on the march again. With a first-and-10 from the 49ers 20-yard line, Eli Manning’s pass intended for Derrick Ward was tipped by Aubrayo Franklin and intercepted by LB Derek Smith. Even though it didn’t come back to hurt them, New York missed a golden opportunity to build on its 6-0 lead.
By the Numbers
5 – Consecutive victories for the Giants after an 0-2 start.
12:08 – Time of possession for the Giants in the opening quarter.
107 – Rushing yards from Brandon Jacobs, who rolled up his second career 100-yard game.
“Turnovers are the name of the game on defense. You know you have to go stop them and force turnovers. And we did a pretty good job with that today.” – Giants DT Fred Robbins
“Any time you make that many mistakes, whether it be penalties or turnovers, I believe the turnovers themselves led to 24 points, they stick with the win.” – 49ers coach Mike Nolan
What went right
New York was very opportunistic, scoring 24 points off four San Francisco turnovers. That’s the perfect recipe for success that Tom Coughlin would kill for every week.
The Giants were very effective in San Francisco’s green zone. In four trips inside the 49ers 20-yard line, Big Blue came away with three touchdowns and a field goal.
Sam Madison continues to play very well at cornerback. He made an acrobatic leaping interception in the second quarter. Madison picked off a Trent Dilfer pass that was intended for Arnaz Battle.
Antonio Pierce got into the interception act as well. Pierce dropped into coverage and picked off Dilfer early in the fourth quarter. He returned the ball 28 yards to the San Fran 5-yard line. That set up a 2-yard Eli Manning to Jeremy Shockey touchdown.
Once again, the New York pass rush was very effective. The Giants posted six sacks of a defenseless Trent Dilfer and hit him on two other occasions. Michael Strahan (2.5 sacks) and Justin Tuck (1.5) led the sack attack.
What went wrong
Lawrence Tynes let a little air out of the balloon when he missed the extra point following New York’s first TD. Tynes, who has certainly had his struggles this season, missed wide left.
New York’s special teams woes continued in the third quarter. Jeff Feagles had his punt blocked out of the end zone by Moran Norris. As a result, the 49ers were awarded two points for a safety and received the ball after a free kick by Feagles.
The usually sure-handed Derrick Ward dropped two easy passes during New York’s game-opening TD drive. Ward dropped what would have been a touchdown two plays before Amani Toomer converted with a four-yard TD.
The Giants didn’t do a very good job of milking the clock in the second half. After controlling the ball for more than 20 of the game’s first 30 minutes, they only had the ball for 11:14 after intermission.
Not that he cared in the least, but Plaxico Burress had his streak of catching a touchdown pass in consecutive games snapped at six.