RT Sean Locklear: -4 (-1 pass, -3 run)
RG Chris Snee: 3 (-1 pass, 4 run)
C David Baas: -1 (0 pass,-1 run)
LG Kevin Boothe: 5 (1 pass, 4 run)
LT Will Beatty: 2 (2 pass, 0 run)
...Kevin Boothe came in as the high scorer with a grade of 5 in what was easily his best effort of the season. The guard played a great game for the Giants especially considering he was often responsible for blocking Justin Smith in the run game. Snee recorded a 3 and just continues to pile up great game after great game. On track for another all-pro caliber season.
...good to see David Diehl back and Tom Coughlin said yesterday he is getting very close to full strength. Have to think when that happens he will get a shot at his RT spot. Sean Locklear he has played well at RT, especially in pass pro, but I have yet to see him get any real consistent push in run blocking.
…I understand that there are 1000s of “coulda/woulda/shoulda’s” in an NFL season but doesn’t it feel like the Giants coulda/woulda/shoulda hung 40 or so points on the 49ers in this game. Same feeling we got after last year’s divisional game at GB, when they also left a ton of points on the board.
…I have yet to see a LB this year, or in a while, make reads the way Navarro Bowman does. He is rarely fooled and it is so tough to get a piece of him at the second level. He never stays in one spot and is always in a position that makes it tough for OL to come up and make efficient block. The DL is also excellent at getting the OL out of position. They do the little things, like delivering the blow on the right half of the blocker so that they can control the gap and alter the play. I say this so you can really appreciate how good the Giants OL was in this one. Anything, even a stalemate (I’d say 149 yards is no stalemate), has to be considered a win when facing these guys.
…between Bowman/Willis in the middle and Brooks/Smith on the edges, this is clearly the best LB group in the league. It is the key to why their defense is so dangerous—THEY ARE ALMOST ALWAYS IN BASE. You can never get them to tip their hand because they pretty much always have the same personnel out there. Sometimes they send five, sometimes Brooks or Smith will drop or they will sometimes run a zone blitz. Only change they really do is take out NT and bring in extra DB. 2-4-5.
…as great as the OL has been in protecting Eli, and they have been great, a ton of the credit needs to go to him as well. He has done an excellent job of getting rid of the ball in less than three seconds nearly every time the Giants throw. Next time you are watching on TV and the Giants pass, see if you can ever count to “three-one thousand” from the snap to the time he gets rid of the ball. Won’t happen. This is probably why…..
…teams have been dead scared to blitz Eli this season and rightfully so. Once again just a handful of blitzes against Manning and a great job by Eli and the pass pro for keeping him clean on all but two passes in this one.
…the Giants rebounded in a BIG way after a somewhat shaky ending to the first half (although they did dodge a bullet with the missed FG). Wilson’s KOR followed by Bradshaw’s biggest run of the day set the tone for a physical half of ground football for the Giants.
…Martellus Bennett (although not graded by me) has shown flashes in run blocking. He has shown that he has the ability to go along with the size to make him a great run blocker. Problem is there are too many times where he completely blows an assignment or makes a mistake that compromises the play. Also Sean Locklear he has played well at RT, especially in pass pro, but I have yet to see him get any real consistent push in run blocking.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
…outstanding effort for the wide receivers once again. Although it was pretty clear Nicks wasn't 100%, this unit looked great while having Cruz, Hixon, and Nicks on the field at the same time. Hixon showed once again that he can be as constant a receiver their is in the league (when healthy). He does a great job coming back to Eli when his first and second read isn't there and made a few nice catches doing so against San Fran
...Cruz's route running is as good as it gets. It goes unnoticed but watch how quick Cruz's steps are, especially during he is making a cut. His ability to run precise routes allows for Eli to know exactly where he is at the field at all times and also gives Cruz some extra separation from his man (although he doesn't need much because of Eli's accuracy). Those are the reasons why Cruz is one of the most heavily targeted wide receivers in the league through six weeks (13 more this past Sunday).
...Bennett wasn't much of a factor in the passing game against the Niners (only two targets) but that seemed to be a part of the game plan. The Giants attacked the outside and established the run all game long. Bennett was asked to block a lot. He did a solid job getting off chip blocks when coming off the line and getting into his routes but he was frustrating once again in the run game. He seems to check out during some plays and gets a late start off the line (especially when the run isn't to his side). Don't think the coaches aren't taking notice of this. David Diehl was used as an extra blocker at several points in the game during running plays and Bear Pascoe seems to be more reliable, especially in "heavy" formations.
...sometimes doing only what is needed works better than trying to do what makes the big headlines. Eli Manning’s statistically unimpressive game against San Francisco is a case in point. While completing 54% of his passes for 193 yards, Eli executed the Giants’ schemes like a master, promoting success for his receivers and his backs. He did the little things that win games and avoided those that lose them.
...Eli is the past master of the play-action pass. His ability to keep selling the defense on the run and then cashing in on the pass has become one of his greatest strengths. That strength was in strong evidence against Cleveland in game five and conspicuous again against San Francisco. Look at what Eli does with 10:08 remaining in the second where he spreads just enough confusion to help Cruz get open for the TD. And he does this for Cruz again 12:58 left in the fourth.
...some say the play-action is a two edged sword. If that’s the case, both edges were sharply under Eli’s control and caused real carnage in the 49ers’ defense. Eli faked the run convincingly to open up the pass in the first parts of the game and had the SF defenders scratching their heads. Then, when he had conditioned them to suspect that every apparent run was a pass, he turned Bradshaw loose and San Francisco’s previously impermeable run defense, which had given up an average of 81 yards per game in the first five games, turned porous. Even when he did not choose play action, Eli’s composure and his ability to look one way, get the defenders to go that way and then pass to the opposite side are signs of a true master.
...the Giants played a lot of Cover 3, and almost exclusively in the second half. I'm not sure if it was to get an extra safety in the box, the fact that Blackburn has been exposed a little bit when asked to run with seam routes, or because of the ability of a guy like Vernon Davis to make plays down the middle of the field. Even when we did play some Cover 2 in the second half, Blackburn was not asked to run to the hole, and I thought he was much more confident with his run reads as a result of not having to worry about getting back there.
...Adrian Tracy impressed me with some limited snaps he played at linebacker. I am not responsible for him on the grade sheet because we technically have him listed as a DE, but I wouldnt mind seeing him lining up at backer a little more. Good to see one of our younger guys who had a rough start to his career running around and making plays.
...Blackburn gave me little reason to feel better about his ability to tackle in space, but he is outstanding between the tackles. Him and Boley both had exceptional games.
...Boley and Williams have gotten a majority of snaps this year in long yardage situations and Williams has been handling the lion's share of the blitzes that have come from the linebacker position. I have been less than impressed with his pass rush abilities, but we saw why he is valuable in this role on Sunday. When you want to bring man pressure and the quarterback breaks the pocket, everyone has their back turned to the ball leaving a lot of open space. Williams showed the ability to run down an athletic guy in Alex Smith on a 3rd down late in the game like not many linebackers in the league can and actually got credit for a sack on the play.
...Kiwanuka has done an admirable job making himself into a linebacker but I still believe his natural position in on the defensive line. He showed how versatile he really is with a sack from the DT position. The Giants are starting to realize this too as he only logged two snaps at LB.
...Rolle stepped up and played big. With a little guys in and out of the lineup, we need to get good, consistent player from our leaders, and Rolle delivered. He had great breaks and played different situations very well. My only concern is his susceptibility double-moves going forward after other teams see him drive on slants. (Rich's note: Rolle also coined the term "sugared" this week as in, "I sugared Smith into thinking it was Cover 1 but it really wasn't)
...Brown showed he can hang in there and play a full game. However, he does not play with the same aggression or sense of urgency as Phillips or Hill. I'd like to see him make better reads off the snap so he can either get off the hash into coverage, or get downhill and make a tackle. There were too many plays where he could have made a hit or help on a gang tackle where he did not insert himself. For the most part, though, he was solid.