What We Saw: Giants at 49ers

The weakened Giants headed into the California Cauldron to take on the 49ers in prime time. Yikes!

Giants @ 49ers

Final Score: 49ers 30, Giants 12

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


After a somewhat underwhelming first half, the San Francisco 49ers showed their quality after the break to ease past a New Yorks Giants outfit that once again looked hamstrung on offense, even more so without the injured Saquon Barkley. Quarterback Daniel Jones could not mustered the miracles he performed last week against the Cardinals and the Giants defense was abysmal all night. The play calling from the Giants was also unacceptable. Last week’s leading receiver Jalin Hyatt wasn’t targeted and only played 15 snaps. Criminal!

Could the legend of Brock Purdy be a fallacy? In one corner he did what he has become accustom to do – make simple throws to his offensive weapons as to give them opportunity to get into space and hurt defenses. In the other corner, he was largely unimpressive until a late fourth quarter throw to Deebo Samuel, that was perfectly weighted and placed, put the nail in the coffin of the Giants. But, that’s all he needed to do. Saying that, the Giants defense will be doing extra tackling drills all week as they were out-fought and stiff-armed on many occasions by a 49ers team who wanted it more.


Three Up

  • Deebo Samuel – the absence of Brandon Aiyuk meant that Deebo was the number one target in the passing game and he unleashed to the tune of 132 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. A reminder that first and foremost, he’s an elite receiver.
  • George Kittle – after multiple years with injury concerns, Kittle looks healthy and showed that extra power and determination that made him who he is. A monster run in the second half in which he threw aside Xavier McKinney was a wow moment.
  • Elijah Mitchell – after Christian McCaffrey handled every snap in Week 2, Mitchell finally got the chance to show he should not be underestimated as a flex option going forward with some explosive runs to move the sticks.

Three Down

  • Darren Waller – a dreadful night for the tight end whose move to New York was seen as a positive amongst the fantasy community, who reacted by drafting him high on draft nights. But mistakes, poor hands and an ineffective offense doesn’t bode well.
  • Matt Breida – the Giants only achieved 29 yards on the ground despite Breida breaking off a strong run for a score. The game script didn’t help him and any hopes of a fantasy breakout in relief of Barkley looks doubtful.
  • Daniel Jones – Two carries. 2! Jones might be a dead duck as a fantasy quarterback.


New York Giants




Daniel Jones: 22/32, 137 Yards, INT, 2 Sacks | 2 Carries, 5 Yards


Despite Daniel Jones working a nice opening drive to the 49ers red zone in the “death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts” style of Kyle Shanahan, utilizing short passes over the middle and productive runs, his night was a smorgasbord of limited options and poor execution from him and his receivers. Even the Giants’ third quarter touchdown drive was the result of defensive penalties (a fair catch interference and pass interference call) as they only earned 15 yards on two plays to hit pay dirt.

Jones tried to negate the 49ers pass rush by getting the ball out quickly but his meagre 4.3 yards per attempt didn’t come near to hurting the defense. Short connections over the middle and swing passes to the sideline were met by an athletic side-to-side defense who kept the Giants from converting on third down for much of the night (Giants were 3-0f-12 on third downs) . Jones spread the ball around to seven different receivers, yet nobody mustered more than 32 receiving yards.

The offensive line didn’t help but they weren’t terrible, apart from when they asked tight end Daniel Bellinger to block Nick Bosa.


And we are not putting his interception on him either – Jones nailed a third-and-long right where Darren Waller wanted it but the tight end let it bounce out of his hands and into the air of the 49ers secondary. A bad end to a disappointing night for Jones, who wasn’t helped with play calling and his skill position players.


Tyrod Taylor: 0/1 | 1 Carry, 2 Yards


Running Back


Matt Breida: 4 Carries, 17 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 1 Yard


Somewhat inexplicably, Matt Breida was only given four chances to carry the rock in the absence of Saquon Barkley. The Giants ran the ball just 11 times for a meagre 29 yards and even ignored the option of using their backs out of the backfield – just six targets between Breida and second-year guy Gary Brightwell, who didn’t show anything special bar one sideline run off of blwon coverage. They didn’t use Jones’ legs either. The game script wasn’t that bad for a lot of the game and it was still close enough in the third quarter so you can to question the game plan and play calling. Breida showed a nice burst between the tackles for his touchdown run, which salvaged his fantasy night. They clearly aren’t going to use him like Barkley though.


Gary Brightwell: 4 Carries, 5 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 31 Yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Darius Slayton: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 32 Yards


The underrated, underused Darius Slayton was the only receiver to fight for his balls and come away with his head held high. Slayton went up to grab a contested catch down the left sideline to setup the Giants’ field goal attempt prior to half time which Graham Gano nailed from 57 yards. This was the longest play of the night for the Giants but it only went 17 yards. Slayton was the only Giants receiver who seemed to be up for the fight and use his skillset to make plays – he needs to be given more contested opportunities. Has the ability but not the opportunity. These statistics do not help fantasy managers.


Parris Campbell: 6 Targets, 6 Receptions, 24 Yards


Predominantly used on swing passes to the side and short passes over the middle in tight coverage, which left him one-on-one to try fight for a few yards.


Wan’Dale Robinson: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 21 Yards


The second-year wideout returned to action after missing the back half of his rookie season with an ACL injury. Robinson was used out of the slot and made a couple of nice catches to move the sticks. He split snaps with Campbell. Not ideal.


Darren Waller: 7 Targets, 3 Receptions, 20 Yards


A disastrous night for the tight end, who only saw his first target with a minute remaining in the first half. A few plays later he dropped a catchable pass over the middle on second-and-long in 49ers territory, taking away a chance at a touchdown before half. The only positive was Waller drew a pass interference call in the third quarter in a mismatch with the cornerback, a play that setup the Brieda touchdown run. As previously stated, Waller was at fault for Jones’ interception by allowing a perfect pass to bounce straight up off his hands.


Daniel Bellinger: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards

Isaiah Hodgins: 1 Target


San Francisco 49ers




Brock Purdy: 25/37, 310 Yards, 2 TD, 2 Sacks | 4 Carries, -1 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)


Is the notion that Brock Purdy is a golden boy a fallacy? I think so. The 49ers quarterback has received extensive praise from across the media for his play-it-safe playing style. And for a seventh-round pick, he has clearly exceeded expectations. But can he be the quarterback who takes the 49ers all the way? On this performance, I highly doubt it. Purdy was unimpressive for long periods of this game – he made plenty of early mistakes, threw behind his receivers too often and should have been picked off on the 49ers opening drive twice but was saved by his receivers (George Kittle batted down a floater to the right side and Deebo Samuel prevented the cornerback from hauling in a poor throw in the end zone).

Eventually he found some rhythm with those simple throws over the middle Shanahan loves and swing passes for his recievers to work after-the-catch. Boring but effective. Purdy gained 215 of his 310 passing yards after the catch (69.4%), that’s ridiculous. Purdy was also very lucky to get away with a dangerously high throw on the 49ers decisive touchdown drive prior to half time. If this bounces up like Jones’ did in the fourth quarter it could have been a different story.


Purdy did throw those two excellent touchdown passes but the Giants defense was an open door and often left the 49ers two main threats, Deebo and CMC, in space. Credit must be given to him but this performance opened a few cracks for other teams (better defenses) to exploit.


Running Back


Christian McCaffrey: 18 Carries, 81 Yards, TD | 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 34 Yards


A dominant, aggressive performance from the stand out running back in the NFL right now. Christian McCaffrey did it all for his team tonight and eclipsed 20+ fantasy points for the third game in a row. He is the cornerstone of this offense and inspires players around him. His ability out of the backfield also opens up opportunities for the receivers, as Deebo found out tonight. An all around elite showing from the best back in the league.


Oh, and he’s the main threat int he red-zone due to his determination to fight for extra yards after every touch of contact.


Elijah Mitchell: 11 Carries, 42 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 2 Yards


Playing on four days rest, Elijah Mitchell was active after McCaffrey handled all work last week. He mainly spelled CMC for a breather but his biggest contribution was an explosive 18 yard gain on the 49ers scoring drive near end first half. Mitchell will be in line to handle more touches going forward as the 49ers manage CMCs work deeper into games.


Jordan Mason: 3 Carries, 11 Yards

Kyle Juszczyk: 1 Carry, 3 Yards



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Deebo Samuel: 12 Targets, 6 Receptions, 129 Yards, TD | 1 Carry, 3 Yards


Welcome back to fantasy stardom Deebo Samuel, who showed he is actually a wide receiver after all with a number of excellent grabs through the air including a game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter. Still, most of his damage was done with yards after the catch. Deebo earned 81 of his 129 yards after the catch as the Giants defense couldn’t handle his elusiveness. HE also bulldozed through tackles and took advantage of some very average Giants tackling.


It remains to be seen whether this kind of production will become regular once again once Brandon Aiyuk returns, however Samuel has earned the opportunity and trust from his quarterback. Deebo also looks healthy for the first time in two years, his burst in space was notable off the line to point of catch. Purdy probably owes him a nice bottle of something for this game.


George Kittle: 9 Targets, 7 Receptions, 90 Yards


Welcome to the 2023 NFL season, George Kittle. After being the hero in preventing a Purdy interception on the first drive of the game, the quarterback rewarded him with a season-high nine targets which the big tight end took for seven grabs and 90 yards. His most impressive run was a dump off he took well short of the line to gain and took it deep into Giants territory thanks to a big stiff arm. Kittle looked more like his old self and the holes in the Giants defense contributed a lot to that.


Jauan Jennings: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 31 Yards

Ronnie Bell: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards, TD


The seventh-round rookie only saw the field due to Aiyuk’s absence but made his presence felt with a touchdown on his very first reception. It was clearly a play designed for him through the week as Purdy threw the ball up way before he broke away to the outside before bringing the pass in nicely with two feet inbounds. Bell was also on hand to grab the air ball from Purdy that bounced up for grabs in the second quarter.


Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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