The Giants didn’t score any points in the first half in either of their first two games, so the six points they put on the board Thursday night were an improvement.
It wasn’t enough of one for the team to avoid landing in the wrong spot on a list of teams with the worst first half point differential through three games of a season. Josh Dubow of the Associated Press reports that their -57 point differential through three weeks is the worst of any team since at least the 1991 season.
Quarterback Daniel Jones said that the slow starts are something the Giants have to eliminate before they return to action against the Seahawks in Week Four.
“Yes, it’s not what we’re trying to do, so we have to find a way to figure that out,” Jones said, via 49ersWebzone.com. “Execute better early in the game, finish in the end zone, take advantage of opportunities, but it comes down to making plays and executing better in those situations.”
The Giants were able to rally for a comeback win in Arizona despite trailing 20-0 at halftime, but they were outscored 70-12 in their two losses and that makes it plain that spotting opponents big leads is generally a bad idea in the NFL.
Giants first-round pick Deonte Banks couldn’t finish Thursday night’s game against the 49ers because of an arm injury and the cornerback will be getting further tests on it Friday.
Banks told reporters that he will have an MRI to assess the damage. Banks was injured when he was kneed in the upper arm during the first half of the game.
Banks had two tackles on Thursday night. He has seven tackles and three passes defensed through his first three NFL games.
Right tackle Evan Neal and defensive lineman D.J. Davidson also left with injuries on Thursday night, but the biggest news on the medical front for the Giants was running back Saquon Barkley saying that he’s dealing with a high-ankle sprain. That injury typically comes with a longer recovery timeline than the low-ankle variety, but the Giants aren’t likely to make any call about Barkley’s availability until much closer to their Monday night game against the Seahawks in Week Four.
Tying a mark set by Jerry Rice is a feather in the cap for any player, but doing it while playing for Rice’s old team adds a little something to the milestone.
Running back Christian McCaffrey did just that on Thursday night. McCaffrey’s four-yard touchdown run in the first half ran his streak of games with a touchdown to 12, which ties Rice’s team record and leaves him behind only Emmitt Smith — who had 14- and 13-game streaks — and Arian Foster for the longest streaks in NFL history.
“That’s a huge honor,” McCaffrey said after the game, via the San Jose Mercury News. “Obviously scoring touchdowns is a team line. O-line did a great job blocking, I just had to hit the hole.”
McCaffrey has played 17 games for the 49ers and he’s scored in 14 of them. The 49ers have won 16 of those contests with the only loss coming when they ran out of healthy quarterbacks in the NFC title game, so it’s fair to say that the trade has proven to be a very fruitful one for them.
49ers left tackle Trent Williams appeared to punch Giants defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson during an altercation shortly before halftime on Thursday night, but Williams and Robinson received offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties and Williams was not ejected from the game.
After the game, NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson spoke to pool reporter Matt Barrows of TheAthletic.com about why the league did not disqualify Williams. Anderson said league officials reviewed the video of the incident and “couldn’t confirm that 100 percent from the standpoint of was it truly a closed fist with a strike.”
“When we have a flag thrown on the field for unnecessary roughness, members of the officiating department are able to review available video, Rule 19, to determine if there is a flagrant action that should result in a disqualification,” Anderson said. “We ended up looking at the video we had available to us, and we just didn’t see anything that rose to the level of flagrant, which is the standard that we have to apply to disqualify the player.”
Williams said he gave Robinson a “love tap” when he spoke to reporters after the game and said he doesn’t expect to be fined.
San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy turned in another outstanding game on Thursday night, shredding the Giants’ blitz repeatedly.
Purdy dropped back to pass 39 times and the Giants blitzed him on 33 of those, a blitz rate of 84.6 percent, according to Next Gen Stats. As far back as Next Gen Stats has data, that’s the most that any defense has ever blitzed in any game.
Purdy made them pay, completing 20 of 31 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the 49ers’ 30-12 win.
“When they’re blitzing, we can capitalize on offense with some big plays, and we had some stuff dialed up for what we were going to do when they did blitz,” Purdy said after the game, via Newsday.
Still, Purdy wasn’t celebrating too much after the 49ers improved to 3-0.
“I don’t want to get caught up in stats and stuff,” Purdy said. “There’s some throws out there that I missed.”
Purdy will keep improving, but he’s already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.