SF-NYG Grades: Late TD pass propels Giants in tight battle
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Giants’ 30-27 victory over the 49ers:
New York Giants
– This game would have turned out very differently if the 49ers had fully punished Eli Manning (-2.6) for his mistakes in this game. A pair of passes that could have been intercepted hit the turf, including one from Kenneth Acker (-0.1) on a fourth quarter scoring drive. Manning bounced back from those let-offs and was excellent down the middle of the field going 6-for-7 for 114 yards and the game winning touchdown on intermediate passes aimed between the numbers, earning a +2.2 passing grade for those plays.
– Without their top two defensive ends, the Giants got some solid production from Damontre Moore (+0.8 pass rush) last night with a pair of sacks in pursuit of Colin Kaepernick at the end of the first and fourth quarters, respectively. Among the starters, Kerry Wynn (+0.4) was productive (one hit, five hurries) without being overpowering. But, it is still clear that the Giants lack the real quality off the edge that might let this defense kick up a gear or two.
– While the Giants’ offensive tackles struggled with the 49ers’ edge rushers (combined 16 pressures allowed), the interior of their offensive line was arguably their strongest position group last night. Justin Pugh (+1.4), Weston Richburg (+2.7) and Geoff Schwartz (+1.8) all earned positive grades helping to set up a solid (if underused) ground game, while holding their own in pass protection to give Eli Manning room to maneuver against the San Francisco edge rush.
DT Jay Bromley (+3.1)
C Weston Richburg (+2.7)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+2.3)
DT Johnathan Hankins (+1.9)
HB Shane Vereen (+1.9)
San Francisco 49ers
– The 49ers have been decimated on defense, but second-year edge rusher Aaron Lynch (+7.1) has really raised his game in the last two weeks. After racking up five pressures against the Packers last week, Lynch more than doubled that output last night (four hits, eight hurries) with a dominant performance against the Giants’ offensive tackles, in particular Marshall Newhouse (-4.9). All that was missing from Lynch’s performance was converting a couple of those pressures into sacks to really bring the heat to Manning.
– Considering some of his struggles in recent weeks this was a big step in the right direction from Colin Kaepernick (-1.0) but there were still plays left on the table that could have turned the game. Admittedly, that turn could have been in either direction with a fumble and a poor pass late in the game falling the right way for him with neither being turned over by the Giants. Overall, this was a far more composed display by Kaepernick with a couple of throws down the field to Anquan Boldin (+3.2) in the second half particularly impressive.
– The 49ers introduced a rotation at right guard for the first time this season and on last night’s evidence it won’t be long before Andrew Tiller (+1.1) pushes Jordan Devey (-1.1) aside to take the role on a full time basis. Tiller impressed against backups in pre-season and carried that form into last night’s game, outplaying Devey as both a run blocker (+1.1 to -0.3) and in pass protection. Though Cullen Jenkins (+0.8) troubled Tiller on a couple of fourth quarter pass plays there was nothing to suggest he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Devey who sits near the bottom of our guard grades after five weeks.
OLB Aaron Lynch (+7.1)
WR Anquan Boldin (+3.2)
LT Joe Staley (+2.6)
FB Bruce Miller (+1.5)
LG Alex Boone (+1.1)