Giants completely outclassed in blowout loss to 49ers


SANTA CLARA. Calif. — The Giants were not close to good enough Thursday night to knock off one of the NFL’s elite teams.

They were not blown out early, which is an improvement from their Week 1 no-show against the Cowboys.

They were, however, outclassed for long stretches of their 30-12 loss to the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium and it is clear there is much work to be done for the Giants to rise up to the level they need to get to.

All things considered, being at 1-2 after three games is a whole heck of a lot better than it could be, based on the quality of the Giants’ play for long stretches.

If not for finally responding to a late wake-up call last week in Arizona, the Giants would still be searching for their first taste of success.

They did not get much of a bite in Week 3 while knocking heads with one of the league’s top outfits.

They were incapable of generating much of anything on offense and showed no signs of the explosive passing attack that surged for 31 points in the second half of the 31-28 comeback victory over the Cardinals four days earlier.

Daniel Jones was largely ineffective, with an injured Saquon Barkley on the sideline and no running game to lean on.

Daniel Jones maintains control of the ball after getting sacked in the second quarter of the Giants’ 30-12 loss to the 49ers.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

There was no downfield presence and only one touchdown produced as Jones rarely looked comfortable in the pocket.

In the fourth quarter, he sailed a pass high and behind 6-foot-6 tight end Darren Waller, who leaped and barely got his hands on the ball.

Jones also did nothing with his legs, at times looking hesitant to take off and run.

Jones was certainly outplayed by Brock Purdy, but the 49ers quarterback had much more at his disposal.

The Giants had no answer for bullish receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle and did not exactly lay the hammer down on running back Christian McCaffrey.

Samuel closed things out by beating Adoree’ Jackson for a 27-yard touchdown catch with 5:58 remaining, as the Niners (3-0) won their home opener.

Kayvon Thibodeaux puts his hand on his helmet in frustration after being called for a penalty during the second half of the Giants' loss.
Kayvon Thibodeaux puts his hand on his helmet in frustration after being called for a penalty during the second half of the Giants’ loss.

Trailing 17-6 after they were dominated in the first half, the Giants took advantage of two 49ers penalties totaling 37 yards to move in close enough for Matt Breida — starting in place of Barkley — to power in from 8 yards out and close the gap to 17-12 early in the third quarter. Jones was sacked by Joey Bosa on the failed two-point conversion try.

It was time for the defense to make a stand and the Giants could not do it, entirely.

Tre Hawkins and Jason Pinnock both missed tackles on what turned into a 40-yard catch-and-run for Samuel.

There was some pressure put on Purdy — D.J. Davidson and Leonard Williams combined for a sack — and the Giants stiffened after the 49ers reached the 3-yard line.

Williams and Micah McFadden put the heat on Purdy to force a throwaway and Pinnock hurried Purdy on third down, forcing the Niners to settle for a field goal and a 20-12 lead.

Christian McCaffrey scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the Giants' loss.
Christian McCaffrey scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the Giants’ loss.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

But there was no comeback this time.

The Giants played without three starters on offense — left tackle Andrew Thomas, Barkley and left guard Ben Bredeson — and without outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari on defense.

A screen pass is not supposed to befuddle a defense but did — twice — as the 49ers rolled to their first touchdown midway through the second quarter.

The first one came on third-and-15 and was a killer, as McCaffrey scooted 30 yards.

The second one came on third-and-13 and McCaffrey got 13 yards — another killer.

That set up Purdy’s scoring toss to rookie Ronnie Bell, who beat rookie corner Deonte Banks, for Bell’s first NFL reception.

It got worse.

The Giants went three-and-out when Javon Hargave bulldozed through left guard Shane Lemieux — making his first start of the season — for an 8-yard sack.

The Niners took over and did their thing.

Brian Daboll talks with an official during the second quarter of the Giants' defeat.
Brian Daboll talks with an official during the second quarter of the Giants’ defeat.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

A roughing-the-passer penalty on Leonard Williams — who landed with all his weight on Purdy — set up McCaffrey’s nearly untouched 4-yard scamper into the end zone to make it 17-3.

Waller, held without a target for most of the first half, caught two passes, but then had a ball glance off his fingers to short-circuit a hurry-up drive that ended with Graham Gano drilling a 57-yard field goal to bring the Giants within 17-6 at halftime.

That meant the Giants have been outscored 63-6 in the first half of their first three games. It was 26-0 against the Cowboys and 20-0 in Arizona.

The Giants were down by only 11 points to the Niners, but make no mistake, they were dominated in first downs (14-5), plays (43-24), total yards (242-88) and time of possession (20:00-10:00).

A pass breakup by Jackson and good pressure by Bobby Okereke forced Purdy into a pair of incompletions and rookie Jake Moody hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Niners up 3-0.

The defensive series was notable for containing the very first sack of the season for the Giants, as Kayvon Thibodeaux dropped Purdy for a 4-yard loss.

The Giants really never lost touch with the 49ers until the closing minutes.

But the Giants really never made the 49ers sweat, either.


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