The San Francisco 49ers were handed their second loss of the 2012 regular season on Sunday. Their long-anticipated Week 6 rematch versus the New York Giants did not go according to play. The Niners were slayed in the Bay Area in front of their home crowd.
For the Giants, Eli Manning showed up, Victor Cruz showed up and the Giants pass rush showed up. Those are three key elements that have led to the team's success the past two seasons. The Giants brought it to the 49ers, winning the game outright.
On San Francisco's behalf, there were numerous no-shows. Too many big-time contributors with either neutralized by New York or not used by San Francisco.
Frank Gore: This is far from Frank Gore's fault. He started off hot, rolling through the Giants front, dancing in between the tackles for yards. It looked like the 49ers were going to try and take advantage of the Giants porous run defense, which would be a huge advantage for San Francisco.
However, the 49ers were suddenly down points early, and abandoned the run. It became a lopsided offensive attack which is a not a formula for success. The Niners require balance to move the ball efficiently. Gore finished the day with only 8 carries for 37 yards, averaging nearly 5.0 yards per carry. The rushing attack was San Francisco's edge going into the game and they completely got away from it.
Vernon Davis: Hats off to the Giants for shutting down the 49ers elite tight end. Davis was taken away by the New York secondary, who paid very careful attention to him. There were no big-gainer wheel or crossing routes to be had. Davis has been the Niners' primary source of downfield plays and momentum builders on offense. He was held to three catches for under 40 yards and no touchdowns.
49ers Defense: This includes Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and the Niners' secondary primarily. The San Francisco pass rush was almost non-existent. Manning's jersey was just as white leaving the game as it was in the 1st quarter. The Giants neutralized Willis as they ran wild on San Francisco.
Ahmad Bradshaw not only broke 100 yards on the ground but also broke the plane rushing. Willis hardly had his name called and his unit's terrible, uncharacteristic day against the run highlighted his absence.
The Smith brothers - Justin and Aldon - were non-factors on Sunday. They were not penetrating the Giants' blocking schemes, and were hardly in the opponent's backfield. Together, they are usually a terror for offenses - it's rare to see them disappear like that. It truly affected San Francisco's game day performance.
This can't happen.
This will continue to cost the 49ers games if they can't overcome. Their inability to adapt has cost them two games in six outings this season. This issue is the responsibility of players and coaches, both of whom need to work on this going forward. The Niners are working off a short week with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, so San Francisco needs solutions in a hurry.