The San Francisco 49ers did not need to deliver a perfect performance on Thursday to defeat the New York Giants, but they did more than enough to coast past the NFC East foe. The Niners cruised to a 30-12 victory and improved to 3-0 on the season. After getting through the needlessly short week, since the NFL continues chasing that Thursday Night television cash, San Francisco will now try to capitalize on some added rest before their Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
I was gearing up to hand Brock Purdy a low C or high D for most of the game. He started very slowly, missed some more downfield throws and, unlike last week’s misses, easily could have had at least a couple of throws picked off. He also fumbled another snap, although it looked like a timing issue that could have been on center Jake Brendel.
In his defense, the Giants were constantly blitzing Purdy all day and his offensive line was overwhelmed at times. Of course, the Niners offense kept moving the ball in large part due to the amazing skill players around him. Despite the up-and-down performance, Purdy made some big-time throws, especially on the final touchdown of the game to Deebo Samuel.
Running backs: A-
The Niners were able to run over the Giants for most of the game, particularly in the first half. Likely motivated by the short week, head coach Kyle Shanahan gave Elijah Mitchell more than a dozen touches, but Christian McCaffrey continued to be a game changer. While McCaffrey had a large rushing total propped up by one big play last week, he was far more consistent against the Giants. McCaffrey’s longest rush went for just 12 yards, but he averaged nearly five yards per carry anyway.
Tight ends: A
George Kittle had his first standout game as a receiver this season, hauling in seven of his nine targets for 90 receiving yards and saving Purdy from an interception with an excellent play to knock the ball away from Adoree’ Jackson on one of the targets he was unable to catch. Kittle’s blocking almost always makes him a positive, but it’s always fun to see him wreck shop as a receiver.
Wide receivers: A-
This grade feels low given how dominant Deebo Samuel was. With Brandon Aiyuk out, Samuel seemed to rekindle his 2021 form and racked 129 receiving yards. He did it as a bowling rusher in the screen game, but also as a receiver on intermediate and deep throws. Ronnie Bell also made excellent plays on his two receptions, one of which was catching a tipped pass and the other was a highly contested catch for the 49ers first touchdown of the game. The only knock on the Niners receivers was some struggles to generate separation against press man coverage.
Offensive line: C+
The 49ers offensive line had to deal with extra rushers throughout the game, but Purdy did a fairly good job covering up the offensive line’s mistakes. Trent Williams also should have been ejected for throwing a punch before halftime. Of course, they also kept the Giants talented defensive line from shutting down the run game.
Defensive line: A+
Javon Kinlaw is quietly living up to the lofty prospect status that made him a first-round pick. He added several more pressures on Thursday, making the Niners interior defensive line even more nightmare-inducing for offensive line coaches. Javon Hargrave added another sack to his tally and Arik Armstead had a quarterback hit of his own. Oh yeah, Nick Bosa got a sack too.
The 49ers defensive line did the bulk of work shutting down the Giants offense, taking some of the load off Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw’s shoulders. Greenlaw did have another head-scratching personal foul penalty. Greenlaw has not cost the 49ers yet this season, but it inevitably will if he keeps it up.
The 49ers secondary had an easy job against a fairly limited quarterback and receiving corp while the pass rush dominated. Mooney Ward tallied a couple passes defended, but most importantly they didn’t make any big mistakes.
After a relatively quiet Week 2, Talanoa Hufanga capped off the victory with a game-clinching interception. The dude makes big plays.
Special teams: B+
The 49ers punt coverage unit ran into the return man early for the second consecutive week, but that was once again the only knock. Jake Moody made all his kicks and Mitch Wishnowsky had another good day punting.