It is time for our 'Kudos & Wet Willies' review of the New York Giants' 26-3 dismantling of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Let's get this out of the way right now ... there will be no 'Wet Willies' this week. Unless I want to hand out WW's to some of the 49ers I can't really find any reason to hand out any.
So, let's get started with this's edition of 'Kudos, Kudos & More Kudos.'
Kudos to ...
The Bodyguards -- What? Bodyguards? Has Ed lost his mind? No, I haven't. The Bodyguards are the big boys up front on the Giants' offense, including the fullback and tight ends. By name they are linemen Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Chris Snee and Sean Locklear, tight ends, Martellus Bennett and Bear Pascoe, fullback Henry Hynoski and even extra lineman David Diehl.
These guys did a phenomenal job keeping Eli Manning well-protected all day. No sacks and not a lot of hits. This group also wore down a San Francisco defense that usually does that to opposing offenses. It really was amazing to watch the 13-play, 72-yard fourth-quarter drive by the Giants that took 7:10 and for all intents and purposes ended the game. Twelve straight running plays (yes, 12) and no passes led to a 32-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal. I mean, who does that in the NFL in 2012? More to the point, who does that to the 49ers?
Ahmad Bradshaw -- Took advantage of all of that great blocking to gain 116 yards on 27 carries, with 16 of those carries and 93 of those yards in the second half. You have to wonder what Brandon Jacobs, in street clothes on the other sideline, was thinking while watching that.
Eli Manning -- Not a great game statistically for Manning, but he did complete nine straight passes in the second quarter to help the Giants turn the game over. Also, did a great job handing the ball off to Bradshaw and David Wilson in the fourth quarter.
The Defensive Line -- Tom Coughlin said "I think the defensive line finally decided they were going to come to play today and they did." Indeed. Jason Pierre Paul had a pair of sacks. Linval Joseph had a sack and four tackles, two for loss. Osi Umenyiora had only one tackle and one quarterback hit, but it seemed like he was in the backfield all day. Adrian Tracy -- yes, Adrian Tracy -- had four tackles and a sack in just 12 snaps. Mathias Kiwanuka, playing a variety of spots along the defensive line -- even on the nose a few times -- had a sack and a tackle for loss.
Antrel Rolle -- Two interceptions, both on good catches, two passes defensed and six tackles.
Prince Amukamara -- An interception, three passes defensed and six tackles. Yes, it looks like the Giants' Prince has come.
Lawrence Tynes -- Made four field goals, and it probably would have been five with a little better blocking at the end of the first half.
Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon -- Six catches for Cruz and one salsa dance. Hixon continues to play better than could have been expected, with four catches for 78 yards. A couple of those were high degree of difficulty grabs, too.
David Wilson -- His 66-yard kickoff return set the tone for the second half. He also carried seven times for 35 yards, with the explosiveness, determination and ball security he showed on those runs practically screaming at Coughlin "I demand more carries."
Coaching Staff -- Coughlin always seems to know when to push the "no respect" button with this team. He did it again last week, and it worked. The Giants can make you crazy playing down to mediocre, or worse, teams. Credit goes to Coughlin, though, for making this team believe there is no football game it can't win. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had a terrific day. How often do we hear criticism of Gilbride for abandoning the run too quickly. Not Sunday. In a game where no one thought the Giants could dominate the game by handing the ball off, that is exactly what they did. Two tight ends, an extra lineman, the fullback on the field for nearly half the offensive snaps (32 out of 65) the Giants simply challenged the 49ers' defense physically and beat them up. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell similarly deserves credit. He unleashed Tracy, which no one could have expected. He used Kiwanuka on the defensive line frequently, moving him all across the front. He did the same with Pierre-Paul, moving him inside and out. There seemed to be more stunting along the line than usual. Also, give Fewell credit for designing coverages that held San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis to three inconsequential catches.
If I wanted to quibble ...
I said I would not give out any 'Wet Willies,' and I won't. If I wanted to quibble, though, there are a few things that need to be mentioned.
- Amidst all the great work by the defensive front with six sacks and I have no idea how many hurries, as well as pretty good run defense, the name Justin Tuck does not even appear on the stat sheet. Tuck played 40 of 61 defensive snaps without registering even an assist, though he did get one quarterback hit. How does that happen?
- Rolle did, as Troy Aikman rightly pointed out, let Randy Moss run right by him for a long completion. Can't let that happen when you are in complete control of a game.
- Reuben Randle returned two punts for a total of two yards. Most importantly, though, he handled four punts in all without incident.
- What was Bear Pascoe doing on the blocked field goal? Bear, dude, you have to do more than just watch the guy come around the edge.
- Why did Coughlin call timeout with 15 seconds left in the first half? The Giants had the ball, they were in field-goal position and the clock was running. The Giants could have let the clock tick down to the final couple of seconds and then tried the field goal. Maybe I missed something, but I would love for someone to explain to me what seemed like some uncharacteristic clock mismanagement there.