“Now, it was Daniel Jones, not Matthew Stafford. But the creativity in coverage was apparent, as was the decision to blitz a bit more aggressively, as the Giants were doing the same to the 49ers’ offense.
Wilks’ decision to use five down linemen this season — the best group being Bosa-Armstead-Hargrave-Kinlaw-Jackson — has paid massive dividends. It all but assures one-on-one matchups all along the line. Hargrave seems to win almost all of those reps, and often decisively against the center.”
“The 49ers took a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter on Purdy’s 9-yard pass to rookie wideout Ronnie Bell on third-and-5. It was the first career reception for Bell, a seventh-round pick who was taken No. 253 overall, nine spots ahead of where Purdy was selected in 2022.”
“The 49ers did not handle the Giants’ blitz packages as well as they would have liked. Brock Purdy seemed off his game in the first quarter, and the 49ers’ passing attack looked choppy.
But when all else fails, just get the ball to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. And they responded with big performances.”
“But if this win taught anything, it’s that Aiyuk’s value to the Niners should not be discounted. The Giants entered this game having blitzed more than any team in the league since the start of 2022. They lived up to that reputation, relentlessly sending extra rushers at 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
Those blitzes were effective in the first half, not only in pressuring Purdy but in causing him to be off target and forcing Niners coach Kyle Shanahan to resort to more screens and quick passes instead of the intermediate routes he often prefers.
That is where Aiyuk would have made a difference. Dating to the start of last season, Aiyuk has 50 catches (tied for 8th in the NFL) for 679 yards (tied for 9th) against man coverage. Nobody on the Niners more consistently and quickly beats man coverage than Aiyuk.”