The 49ers have moved past last week’s historic 45-3 win over the Buffalo Bills. When the reigning Super Bowl champions are coming to town, you don’t have much time to celebrate.
The New York Giants visited Candlestick Park twice last year, losing a heated 27-20 regular season matchup before escaping with a 20-17 overtime victory in the NFC Championship game. The contests were just the latest chapters in what’s been a decades-old rivalry between the two storied franchises.
Shortly after last week’s career day, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said there’s a little “unfinished business” to settle with the Giants given the recent history between the two teams. Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group previewed the NFC title game rematch and how both teams have evolved since January.
“The 49ers (4-1) are riding a wave of momentum into Sunday’s rematch against the Giants (3-2) at Candlestick Park,” Inman wrote. “As opposed to their last meeting, the 49ers look more capable of keeping pace with the offensive-minded Giants, who went on to win last season’s Super Bowl.”
Today’s Morning Tailgate also features news on Randy Moss, Jim Harbaugh and the NFC West’s impressive collection of defenses.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee detailed the steady contributions of Moss through five weeks with the 49ers. Barrows: “Moss’ mere presence on the field appears to have helped the 49ers. He was in on 20 plays in Sunday’s 45-3 win over Buffalo, often lining up as the lone receiver in the team’s run packages. In those instances, Moss attracts both a cornerback and a safety, meaning defenses can’t stack themselves entirely against the run.”
Kyle Bonagura of CBSSports.com also discussed the unheralded roles of Moss and Delanie Walker. Bonagura: “Harbaugh raved about Walker’s ability to contribute in many capacities — mostly blocking — on offense and even went to his defense after a tripping penalty.”
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that the 49ers currently lead the NFL in rushing. Branch: “In Sunday’s 45-3 win over the Bills, the 49ers collected 311 rushing yards, the fourth-most in franchise history and the highest total in the NFL since Oct. 24, 2010. The performance came on the heels of a 245-yard effort against the Jets, meaning San Francisco has rushed for more yards in their past two games (556) than 18 teams have collected this season.”
Branch also noted that Smith is currently the NFL’s highest-rated passer. Branch: “Since that infamous Eagles’ game in 2010, he’s thrown 24 touchdowns, three interceptions and posted a 106.5 rating (and 12-1 record) in home games.”
According to Cole Schultz of Pro Football Focus, Smith was one incompletion away from posting a perfect 158.3 passer rating on Sunday. Schultz: “San Francisco couldn’t have come out looking much better. Despite a sluggish start marred by a penchant for drive-killing penalties (all seven were offensive), the 49ers’ defense only let the Bills cross midfield on three drives, and prevented points on two of those.”
Inman highlighted 49ers general manager Trent Baalke’s Monday interview with 95.7 The Game. Inman: “General manager Trent Baalke said Monday on his weekly radio show that the 49ers indeed have “extra motivation” for their next game, a Sunday rematch against the New York Giants.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com examined the stingy defenses of the NFC West, noting how the teams are tough on opposing quarterbacks and running backs. Sando: “NFC West teams lead the NFL in shutting down quarterbacks. They also lead the league in yards per rushing attempt allowed on called running plays.”
49ers.com’s daily coverage included a look at Smith’s ascension into the NFL’s top-rated passer, his nomination for the FedEx Air Player of the Week Award and a look at Will Tukuafu’s growing role with the 49ers. We also brought you notes and quotes from the Week 5 win and Jim Harbaugh’s press conference.
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Tags: Alex Smith, Darius Fleming, Delanie Walker, Randy Moss
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