Defending Champions Flex Muscles on the Road

The New York Giants dominated the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park Sunday afternoon, and in doing so, proved that they are still the team to beat in the NFC.

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, Tom Coughlin’s boys thoroughly dominated Jim Harbaugh’s favored team 26-3. Coughlin used his patented “nobody believes in us” mantra yet again to get his team up for what was supposed to be one of the toughest matchups on its schedule.

Eli Manning didn’t put up the gaudy numbers that Giants fans have become accustomed to, but his 15-of-28 for 193 and a touchdown were more than enough.

More important than his yardage and touchdowns is Manning’s ability to be careful with the ball. The 49ers defense has put up some of the top turnover numbers in the NFL since the beginning of last season, and Manning’s refusal to make a mistake allowed the Giants to grab the lead and keep it.

It was a tale of two quarterbacks in San Francisco in Week 6, as Alex Smith, who had thrown just six interceptions since the start of the 2011 season, saw himself intercepted three times (twice by safety Antrel Rolle in the third quarter).

Perhaps the most impressive stat of the day came from the Giants’ “suspect” running game. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive game. The 26 year old became the second back to top 100 rushing yards against the 49ers over the last 44 games (via New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano).

Oft-injured wide receiver Hakeem Nicks played for the first time since Week 2, catching just three passes for 44 yards. It was clear that his balky foot was a problem from the outset, but Victor Cruz picked up the slack by catching six balls for 58 yards and the team’s first touchdown of the afternoon.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter, the Giants showed their resiliency in a hostile environment, rattling off 26 unanswered points to close out the game.

It’s hard to nitpick when a team just dominated an opponent that was thought of as a force in the conference, but Coughlin probably wasn’t happy when his team failed to score on short fields following Rolle’s pair of picks in the third quarter. Lawrence Tynes was busy because of the team’s Red Zone ineptitude, and hit four-of-five field goals on the day.

Don’t expect the Giants to rest on their laurels, as a Week 7 matchup against the sneaky Washington Redskins looms. Big Blue already has an 0-2 division record, and another loss would be highly detrimental to the team’s division title hopes.

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