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Giants-49ers ‘things I think’: This was a little better, but the Giants are clearly still not all grown up

I think Thursday night’s New York Giants-San Francisco 49ers game, a 30-12 San Francisco victory, went the way most analysts thought that it would.

The Giants played hard. They didn’t embarrass themselves in the national spotlight the way they had two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys. There was a point where the Giants closed within 17-12 in the third quarter and had a two-point conversion try to get within three points, where you thought maybe they could push the 49ers all the way to the finish line.

In the end, though, the 49ers were too good. They were too talented, too physical, too complete on both sides of the ball.

Yes, the Giants were without Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas. Yes, the presence of those two star players would have helped. I don’t, though, believe it would have changed the outcome.

As if we needed it, I think Thursday provided even more evidence that the Giants are still a long way from being one of the ‘big boys’ in the NFC.

The Giants aren’t as talented as the 49ers. That would have been the case even if Barkley, Thomas, Ben Bredeson and Azeez Ojulari had played.

The Giants needed a perfect game to have a chance to pull off the upset. They didn’t come close to engineering one.

They could not get off the field on third down, as the 49ers converted 9 of 16, including 7 of 10 in the first half.

On a second quarter touchdown drive, San Francisco converted on third-and-15, third-and-13 and scored their touchdown on third-and-5 via a 9-yard pass from Brock Purdy to Ronnie Bell.

The Giants also gave up a first down on a third-and-12, albeit via an unfortunate roughing the passer call against Leonard Williams.

“Give them credit, that’s a heckuva football team there,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll.

Without Barkley, the Giants could not run the ball. Really, they barely tried. Matt Breida had four carries for 17 yards. Gary Brightwell had four carries for 5 yards.

The Giants couldn’t attack a San Francisco secondary missing starting cornerback Ambry Thomas. Without Thomas and Bredeson, they couldn’t trust the pass protection.

Check out the pass chart for quarterback Daniel Jones from NextGenStats:

Only two of Jones 32 passes went farther than 20 yards down the field. Only six more traveled more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The Giants knew their inexperienced, makeshift offensive line couldn’t protect Jones. So, they protected him by throwing short and getting the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, you can’t keep up with an offense as good as San Francisco’s when you really never threaten it. The Giants didn’t even target rookie speedster Jalin Hyatt on Thursday night.

“No excuses,” Daboll said. “We could do a better job.”

Star tight end Darren Waller didn’t have the best night. The interception Jones threw is a ball that went off Waller’s hands and ricocheted into the air. On the initial replay it looked like Waller could have been more aggressive in attacking the ball in the air.

“We just didn’t make enough plays,” Jones said. “Obviously it’s a good defense, going up against them and credit to them. They play well, but we have to convert a couple of those opportunities. When you play a good team like that, you have to be crisp. We have to be clean and we didn’t do that.”

Aggression was actually another theme. The 49ers were clearly the tougher, more physical team. They dominated the line of scrimmage. They also dominated Giants defenders in the open field, running through and over defenders as the Giants struggled once again to tackle.

At least the Giants finally got their first two sacks of the season. The much-maligned Kayvon Thibodeaux got one, with Leonard Williams and D.J. Davidson splitting the other. Wink Martindale, though, went to ridiculous lengths to create that pass rush.

I also think all is not lost for the Giants. Thomas and Bredeson should be back for the Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks. That should help settle the offensive line. Maybe Justin Pugh will be a Giant by then, too. If not, the Giants will have the option of moving Joshua Ezeudu to a guard spot if they want.

Barkley seems to be talking about perhaps being ready to return against Seattle, as well.

The Giants still have a chance to be a good team this season. We have learned already this season, though, that there is a big jump from good to championship-caliber. The Giants aren’t ready for that jump yet.


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