Yeah, nope. Not at all. For all the talk of the 49ers being a changed opponent this year — one built to thwart New York's offense and stampede over their faltering run defense, New York sure did go out and dominate in San Francisco Sunday afternoon. In semi-typical Giants fashion, Tom Coughlin's company thoroughly handled a superior-seeming team, ticking pretty much all of the Niners' supposed advantages off the list.
The two-pronged attack of Alex Smith's passing and San Francisco's elite running game did look sharp early, but New York did a wonderful job of stopping it short. The Giants' defense covered for their sputtering offense by snuffing a succession of threatening drives. The Niners looked like they were humming along while the Giants couldn't string a drive together, yet it was just 3-0 at the end of the first.
After that, the Giants just blew the damn thing open. The Niners reverted to the sloppy possession that plagued them in last year's NFC Championship game, as Alex Smith chucked a few passes directly into the clutches of the sneaking Prince Amukamura and Antrel Rolle. And after San Francisco battered Eli Manning throughout New York's big win last year, Manning stayed firmly on his feet this time to find Victor Cruz (who got to dance) for an early touchdown and Hakeem Nicks (who appears quite healthy indeed) for an armful of absurdly acrobatic catches.
Much was made before game time about Mario Manningham's chance to share intelligence and break out against his old team, and he did lead San Francisco in catches, but all that got pretty soundly turned on its head. Cruz and Nicks stole the spotlight receiving-wise, and with all those picks, the New York secondary looked like the one reading directly out of the opposing playbook. Oh, and a San Francisco running game expected to roll hardly even bothered, and mustered just 80 yards while Ahmad Bradshaw had himself quite a productive follow-up to his huge game against Cleveland.
Perhaps they were due for this one. Right when folks worry begin to worry and the match-up seems ripe for a collapse, New York has a way of not just turning the tables, but flipping them over and setting them on fire. Impressive stuff, Giants.