The San Francisco 49ers week ten victory over the New York Giants was a great team effort that saw every unit step up in some form or fashion. David Akers was really the only player with a "perfect" day, but offense, defense and special teams all made huge contributions in the 49ers 27-20 victory. Rather than assign one, here is a rundown of guys who deserve game balls. Feel free to contribute your own suggestions.
Justin Smith: The man they call Cowboy had another big game for the defensive line and continues to get internal plaudits as a potential MVP candidate. A 3-4 defensive lineman is highly unlikely to get such an award, but I am curious to see how he does in Defensive Player of the Year balloting. Smith had six total tackles and one pass deflection. Oh, but what a pass deflection it was!
David Akers: He was perfect on the day with four field goals. However, he was just as important in the kickoff unit. The onside kick was a huge play, but he also was solid in his normal kickoffs, as he has been all year. The Giants best starting field position off a kickoff was the 22. That's not too shabby. Oh, and he added in a tackle on a kickoff.
Carlos Rogers: The former Redskins cornerback who was dogged for his inability to haul in interceptions. Apparently all he needed was to get his eyes checked! Rogers had two interceptions on the game, one of which resulted in a Kendall Hunter touchdown.
Kendall Hunter: He came in for a banged-up Frank Gore and put together a very solid effort on the ground. He rushed six times for 40 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run. His numbers didn't blow anybody's mind, but he had several big runs to set up 2nd and short situations. And on that 17-yard touchdown run we saw just how fast he can be.
Offensive Line: It was not a perfect performance, but the Giants brought in the leading pass rush in the league. They were selling out for the run so that helped, but nonetheless, holding them to two sacks when Alex Smith was throwing as frequently as he was is a good thing. The rushing game struggled to get going, but that could have been as much because of Frank Gore's ankle as anything else. Kendall Hunter put together some solid runs once he came in and averaged 6.7 yards per carry.
Alex Smith: The 49ers coaches put the game plan on his shoulders and he did not let them down. He didn't throw for absurd passing totals, but it was a great performance nonetheless. There will always be little things to critique about Smith's game, but he brought his A-game on Sunday and helped lead the 49ers to victory. The turnaround for Smith in the eyes of fans has really been quite amazing.
NaVorro Bowman/Patrick Willis: It really seems like they get a dual game-ball every single week. Willis had his second sack of the season to go with 11 tackles. Bowman had 15 total tackles and currently ranks second in the NFL in tackles. They both rank in the top ten in tackles. Indianapolis also has two players ranked in the top ten in tackles, but I think it is for very different reasons.
Feel free to suggest any players I have missed. It was a great team effort and the entire team deserves praise.