The 49ers offense opened the game with a 15-play, 64-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock. But the drive ended in a field goal after Brock Purdy was nearly intercepted, which wasn’t the first time that happened on the drive.
The good news is that the offense converted its first three first downs. Purdy found Deebo Samuel for 14 yards, and Jauan Jennings for 24 yards. The other near interception came on a deep crossing route, where George Kittle had to play defensive back. That would be something to keep an eye on during the game, whether the 49ers wideouts would need to play defensive back.
The Giants first drive looked a lot like the Rams. New York had an 11-play drive after converting a pair of third downs of their own. Daniel Jones had an 18-yard completion after scrambling that was the highlight of the drive. But the 49ers were fortunate to have a dropped pass, and held New York to a field goal from 44 yards out, which tied the game at three.
Up to that score, New York had been outscored 26-0 in the first half.
Purdy came back with a dime to Kittle on the ensuing drive for 15 yards. We also saw more Elijah Mitchell in the first quarter than we did all game against the Rams.
A target to Jennings on third down was shy of the first down marker, and Kyle Shanahan elected to send Mitch Wishnowsky out to punt from midfield on 4th & 2. I wonder if Shanahan would have elected to go for it if the Giants hadn’t gotten early pressure.
It proved to be the correct decision, as Nick Bosa knifed in the backfield for his first sack of the season. The Giants faced a 3rd & 18 from their 1-yard line in a blink of an eye. New York elected to use a tight end to block the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. The results went as expected.
The 49ers offense once again had no issues moving the ball. Deebo took a screen 30 yards, and McCaffrey converted a 3rd & 13 for 17 yards on a screen. The Niners were playing with fire by needing to convert so many third downs. They were 5-for-7 at one point. On 3rd & 5 from the Giants 9-yard line, Purdy threw it to the corner, where Ronnie Bell came down with a touchdown. That was Bell’s first touchdown of his career, and it gave the home team a 10-3 lead.
After looking a bit shaky during the first drive, Purdy looked more like his usual self on this scoring drive. Through three drives, McCaffrey and Samuel had accounted for 67 percent of the 49ers offense.
The Giants' offense looked lifeless, as they could not block Javon Hargrave, who picked up his second sack of the season.
The 49ers did not share those same issues, as McCaffrey exploded for a 15-yard run. But Mitchell did his part, too. Eli caught a pass for nine yards, then had an 18-yard run. There was another “oh no” moment on the drive, as Samuel had his target tip into the air. But Bell caught the ricochet for 15 yards, and all was well.
Facing a 3rd & 12, George Kittle converted, after breaking a tackle and fighting for a first. But a personal foul call on Leonard Williams for hitting Purdy late put the Niners in prime position to score a touchdown. McCaffrey did, and the Niners were up 17-3.
The 49ers are 8-of-10 on third down today, averaging 6 yards per play, and have scored on three of their four possessions without Brandon Aiyuk.
McCaffrey had ten carries in the first half for 61 yards, compared to Mitchell’s five for 27. With the way the score was, the only discussion was how much we’d see of McCaffrey in the second half.
The Giants added a field goal, and may have added more had it not been for Parris Campbell falling in bounds on a reception. The score was 17-6 at half, and New York would receive the ball.
The second half didn’t start the way the 49ers had hoped. While the defense forced a punt to begin the third quarter, the offense went three-and-out. That drive was stalled after Purdy botched the snap on third down.
After a pass interference by Deommodore Lenoir, Matt Breida ran it in for a score from eight yards out to bring New York within five points. But Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa sacked Daniel Jones on the two-point conversion, which kept the score at 17-12.
San Francisco needed to answer a score with a score, as that’s what the great teams do. Sure enough, Samuel caught an in-breaking route, then seemingly broke 12 tackles en route to a 40-yard gain. Samuel was incredible on the evening.
But it seemed as though the 49ers would punt the ball back to the Giants after Purdy was sacked on first down. The ceiling is higher with Purdy under center, even if there’s more variance. Purdy found Kittle for 12 yards on 2nd & 16, then threw it deep to Samuel, who drew a defensive holding penalty. That gave the Niners a first down.
The Giants revved up the pressure near the goal line, and the 49ers were forced to settle for a field goal, making the score 20-12.
New York would go three-and-out on their ensuing drive. What was notable here is that Isaiah Oliver had no issues running down the field with Darren Waller on a double move.
San Francisco answered with another scoring drive, after Kittle broke a couple of tackles en route to a 29-yard gain. But Mitchell was tackled for in the backfield for a loss of five, and the offense couldn’t recover. Jake Moody’s field goal from 36 yards was good, and the Niners had a two-possession lead, 23-12, with just under 13 minutes to play.
Jones airmailed a throw to Waller on the next third down. New York punted once again, which was the fifth time in eight drives. Through those eight drives, the 49ers defense limited the Giants to 3.7 yards per play, and a 30 percent conversion rate on ten third downs.
The Niners delivered a haymaker on the following drive. They marched 70 yards on eight plays, while taking over five minutes off the clock. Samuel and Kittle did what they usually do, and added yards after the catch. But when the Giants needed a stop, Purdy delivered a beautiful strike on 2nd & 7 to Deebo, who ran a double move and beat Adoree Jackson.
That was the dagger, and the third consecutive game that the 49ers scored 30 points.
Talanoa Hufanga was the beneficiary of a ball that hit Waller in the hands, and caught his second interception to seal the deal.
Thursday night games are ugly. They’re sloppy. Neither team is healthy and there isn’t enough time to prep and scheme as you’d usually be able to with a full week. The 49ers were far from perfect, but they still had over 430 yards of offense and converted more than 50 percent of their third downs.
30-12, with the Arizona Cardinals on deck.