Deebo Samuel ignites 49ers' victory against undermanned Giants
California's Santa Clara -- On Thursday night, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the New York Giants 30-12. Although they did not appear unbeatable, they performed well enough to handle a seriously injured opponent.
The Niners put it away late in the fourth quarter, but not before the Giants hung around. The following details each team's performance:
49ers of San Francisco
The 49ers handled business, even though it wasn't always pretty or as simple as the final score might suggest.
The Niners struggled to win on a short week without injured receiver Brandon Aiyuk (shoulder). The 49ers don't have to apologise for another win as San Francisco improved to 3-0 for just the second time in the previous 25 years, despite the fact that the Giants were shorthanded in their second game of a West Coast swing.
If this victory has taught the Niners anything, it is that Aiyuk is valuable and shouldn't be undervalued. Since the beginning of 2022, the Giants have outperformed every other club in the league in terms of blitzing. They consistently sent additional rushers at 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, living up to their reputation.
In the first half, those blitzes were successful in pressuring Purdy and deterring him from aiming, which compelled Niners coach Kyle Shanahan to use more screens and short passes rather than his usual intermediate routes.
That's where Aiyuk's contribution would have been felt. Aiyuk has 50 catches (tied for eighth in the NFL) for 679 yards (tied for ninth) versus man coverage since the beginning of the previous season. Aiyuk is the Niners player who beats man coverage the fastest and most consistently.
The Niners defence dominated the Giants in the second half thanks to contributions from fellow wideout Deebo Samuel (six grabs for 129 yards and a touchdown) and tight end George Kittle (seven receptions for 90 yards).
Undoubtedly, the 49ers made the right decision by holding Aiyuk out of the game on Thursday night. He can use the additional rest to regain his health for the long run, and they want to sign him to a contract deal in the offseason. However, his absence ought to emphasise how much they would miss him for the remainder of the campaign. and further still.
QB breakdown: Purdy had a strange night because defenders were in his face all the time, but his final stats were really decent. Purdy completed 25 of 37 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 111.3 passing rating. Purdy was excellent on third down and entered the game late. He put the ball in danger a few times and was lucky to avoid mistakes in the first half. Although it wasn't his greatest game, Purdy is now one of just four quarterbacks in Super Bowl history to begin a career with at least eight consecutive regular season victories (since 1966).
The greatest blitz rate experienced by a quarterback with 30 dropbacks since Colin Kaepernick in 2013 (88% vs the Cardinals) was applied to Purdy on 74% of his dropbacks. Purdy faced 29 blitzes, which was more than twice as much as his previous high of 14. Since Aaron Rodgers in 2021, Purdy's 236 throwing yards versus the blitz were the highest by a quarterback.
Unsettling trend: The Niners did nothing to allay fears about their fifth-highest penalty total in the league going into the Giants game. Six penalties for 71 yards were assessed against San Francisco in the end, two of which were for 37 yards and resulted in New York's game-opening touchdown.
Startling statistic: Niners running back Christian McCaffrey now has a touchdown in 12 straight games (including playoffs), tying him with Jerry Rice for the best stretch in franchise history. He scored on a four-yard dash in the first half. With seventeen straight games with a touchdown, including playoffs, Lenny Moore holds the record. -- Wagoner, Nick
Next game: October 1 at 4:25 p.m. ET vs. Cardinals
Giants of New York
This was hardly a no-contest matchup like Dallas' 40-0 first-round loss. Until the fourth quarter, the Giants managed to keep the score close.
They ultimately failed to defeat the more skilled 49ers, particularly after a few costly penalties and bounces went against them. It wasn't for lack of trying, though. Without four starters (running back Saquon Barkley, left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Ben Bredeson, and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari), the Giants would have needed to play flawlessly to win on the road in prime time. Naturally, they didn't.
It now makes Monday, October 2 home versus the Seattle Seahawks—a game that New York may have been considering—even more important. They always had to prevail in that one to get through this early ordeal. It's hardly devastating that they split their West Coast trip with a win in Arizona and a loss in San Francisco.
The Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams' roughing-the-passer penalty with 1:51 remaining in the second quarter was a pivotal play. With less than two minutes left in the half, San Francisco was ahead 10-3 at the Giants' 20-yard line and faced a third-and-12. When the ball was launched, Williams beat his guy and struck Purdy. It's possible that Williams' whole weight landing on Purdy led to the penalty call. Because San Francisco was awarded a first-and-goal rather than a fourth down, the call changed the course of the game. The very next play, McCaffrey raced it in for a six-yard touchdown, making the score 17-3.
Promising forecast for the upcoming week: Monday night's Giants game offers Barkley and his high ankle sprain an additional 11 days to heal. However, he won't be prepared yet. This is not a new story to us. Barkley strives to return earlier than anticipated and is constantly eager to perform. But before making a comeback, it would be best for both him and the squad if the talented running back got right.
Startling statistic: During the same drive in the second quarter, the 49ers converted a third-and-15 and a third-and-13 on screen passes. A nine-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Bell sealed the deal, giving the team a 10-3 advantage. In the first two weeks of the season, 25 screen passes on third-and-10+ were attempted. Up until Thursday night, only one was converted for a first down. -- Raanan Jordan
Next game: on October 2 at 8:15 p.m. ET vs. the Seahawks