49ers: Closed the Book of Eli Manning with a win over the New York Giants

After nine excruciating and heartbreaking losses, the San Francisco 49ers put together a total team effort resulting in their first win of the 2017 season; a 31-21 win over the New York Giants. Niners Live gladly gives out game balls to the stars, grades their performances and tells you what this win means in the grand scheme of things.


It has been nearly 11 months since the 49er Faithful could rejoice in a regular season victory, but alas the rebuilding project known as the “Brick by Brick” campaign reached a milestone on Sunday with a win over the New York Giants. This game, in many ways, closed a chapter on both the Eli Manning led Giants of old, as well as the winless aftermath left by the Trent Baalke regime. It was the most complete performance to date of the 2017 San Francisco 49ers.

Defensive Summary Breakdown

The 49ers Defense forced a fumble and had 3 sacks to go with 5 quarterback hits and 4 tackles for losses. They held the Giants to 5-14 on third down, but allowed them to go 3 for 3 on 4th down. Eli Manning was constantly pressured throughout the game. He completed 76 percent of his passes (28 of 37) for 273 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 9.75 yards per completion, generating a 71,6 QBR and a 113.9 RTG.

Stats to know: The 49ers gave up 114 rushing yards as a defense and 70 of those yards were gained on 14 carries by Orleans Darkwa. As a team, New York ran the ball 23 times and averaged 5 yards per carry.

Sterling Shepard was the receiving star for the Giants, as he had 11 catches for 142 yards, averaging 12.9 yards per catch. Shepard also had the longest reception on the team for 26 yards (game stats courtesy of ESPN.com).

Grades for the defense break down as follows

  • Ahkello Witherspoon, and Dontae Johnson were much better this week. The duo combined for 8 solo tackles and a lone pass defended by Witherspoon. While Johnson and Witherspoon were penalized on a holding call, Witherspoon took a big step towards growing into a starting role. (B)
  • Eric Reid (Box)– Had another good game in which he recovered a fumble, was second on the team with 8 total tackles and led the team in solo tackles with 7. (A-)
  • Adrian Colbert (Eraser)more than held his own this week as all 4 of his tackles were solo efforts. He was stellar in coverage with 2 passes defended. (B+)
  • K’Waun Williams (Nickel/Slot)returned with a vengeance with 4 solo tackles.
  • Linebackers – Reuben Foster completed his second straight game as a starter and, once again, led the 49ers in tackles with 10; 6 of those were solo tackles and one QB hit. Brock Coyle had 6 tackles, 3 of those solo. Eli Harold had one solo tackle. A much better effort this week overall. (B)
  • Defensive Line – DeForest Buckner had 4 total tackles all solo.
  • Elvis Dumervil managed to leave the building with a sack, bringing his total to 4.5 sacks this season, 1 tackle for loss and 2 QB hits.
  • Leger Douzable had another good game with 6 tackles, 5 solo tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
  • Earl Mitchell managed 3 tackles, 1 being solo and a pass defended.
  • Ronald Blair had the best game of his NFL career with 2 sacks, which highlighted his performance of 4 tackles, 3 of them solo, and a forced fumble. The presence of a pass rush and not allowing a 100-yard rusher this week gives this group something to build on. (B+)
  • DC Robert Saleh – His unit held tough this week and got stops when they needed to on third down. They controlled the line of scrimmage. Eager to see what they do against Seattle in week 11. (B) (Player stats courtesy of ESPN.com).

Offensive Summary Breakdown

The 49ers had (21) first downs, (8) rushing, (12) passing, (1) penalty; converting on third down 8 times on 12 attempts and 0 for 1 on 4th down and were 1 for 3 in the red zone. The 49ers accounted for 58 plays for 474 yards; 288 of those yards were from the passing game on 10 drives for 8.2 yards per play average. On the ground, the 49ers improved dramatically, gaining 186 yards on 33 carries for 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Stats to know:  The 49ers ran 58 plays for 474 total yards controlling the clock for 29 minutes.

Grades for the offense break down as follows

  • C.J. Beathard – completed 19 of 25 passes for 288 yards at 11.5 yards per pass attempt, 2 TD’s and 1 interception while posting a QBR of 92.5.and a 123.4 RTG. Beathard did rush for 15 yards on 5 carries and an 11-yard touchdown run, but still needs to learn how to slide. Still, Beathard’s timing was much improved this week and his ball placement was very accurate. He clearly thrives in a bootleg style offense. (A-)
  • Carlos HydeMatt Breida – Hyde had another great performance 98 yards on 17 carries averaging 5.8 yards per touch. Breida touched the ball 9 times for 55 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run, which showed why his style is more suited for the type of offense Kyle Shanahan likes to operate. Kyle Juszczyk made no impact rushing, but did have 5 receptions for 27 yards.
  • WR’s and TE’s– Marquise Goodwin had his best game in a 49ers uniform with his lone catch on two targets resulting in this 83-yard touchdown reception. He also had a run of 18 yards and made a key block leading to another touchdown. He wore his heart on his sleeve today, as he and his wife Morgan suffered the loss of their baby boy due to pregnancy complications (Via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area). Niners Live sends our condolences and prayers to Marquise, Morgan and the entire Goodwin family.
  • Aldrick Robinson caught his lone target for 12 yards, leading to a first down.
  • Garrett Celek continued to show why he is worthy of the starting role at tight end, as he caught 4 of his 6 targets for 67 yards, one of which resulted in a 47-yard touchdown.
  • Kendrick Bourne is beginning to show the ability he was known for at Oregon State, catching all 3 of his targets for 42 yards. Look for him to build a strong case to make next year’s squad.
  • Louis Murphy – Fresh off the scrap heap, the veteran who was with the 49ers until the final week of training camp, filled in nicely, grabbing both of his targets for 48 yards.

If anyone questioned whether these guys would show up for Beathard, this performance answered that question with an emphatic yes. (A-

  • Offensive Line –For all of the criticism this unit has taken this year (and deservedly so)we must give credit, where credit is due. No sacks and only 2 QB hits given up. They gave Beathard time to throw and opened up running lanes for both Hyde and Breida. Best performance of the year by far  (A-)
  • OC/HC Kyle Shanahan – Finally got to see his offense in its glory, albeit against an inferior opponent. One can only imagine what will happen when upgraded personnel operates this offense on a weekly basis next season (A-)

No wrong decision

When you win, everyone gives you a pass, and Kyle Shanahan has earned that much going into the bye week. The Beathard versus Jimmy Garoppolo debate will intensify, just like in 1979 when it was DeBerg versus Montana. Beathard’s performance today made that decision a little more complicated. Maybe that’s exactly how Shanahan played it. After all, this win was against the Giants, not exactly a team that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone. Is this performance enough to hold off the arrival of #10 for one more game? Or will Shanahan take his new toy out of the box to play? As much as the 49er Faithful complains, this is a topic that takes a much-needed break from dissing yet another defeat, despite losing a grip on the number one draft position for 2018.

49er updates, interviews and news:

Beathard recaps his play, Quote Roundup by players highlights, and here’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan had to say about Sunday’s performance (via the team’s website).

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson. Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims