Cosell’s Watching the Championships: Why Giants O was Remarkable

From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Championship Sunday coaching tape: Giants offense vs. 49ers defense.

  • Giants tried to get Beckum involved in the pass game early
  • Manning went right after Rogers with Cruz in the slot, First 3rd + 10 he hit Cruz for 12 yds
  • Manning always willing to make stick throws into small windows, When it’s man coverage he pulls the trigger and expects his receivers to win

  • J. Smith in a 2 point stance in the middle of the defense again a featured part of 49ers nickel sub-package
  • Whitner was responsible for 4th + 1 stop of Jacobs in 49ers territory in the 1st quarter, FB Hynoski was leading up to Willis but Whitner attacked the hole first and that left Willis unblocked
  • 49ers safeties Whitner and Goldson both aggressive and physical, especially in the run game
  • Whitner great play on quick hitch to Cruz on the outside, Rogers slipped and Cruz had a lot of room to run – Great effort by Whitner
  • Giants did an excellent job with pass protection in the 1st half, Manning was sacked twice on 29 drop backs but for the most part the 49ers pass rush was not a factor
  • Manning continued to show his great improvement re: pocket movement; Ability to avoid pressure, keep his downfield focus and deliver accurate throws – No better example than Cruz 17 yds in 2:00 at the end of the 1st half
  • Giants did an excellent job with route concepts to attack and defeat 49ers man coverage
  • 49ers played nickel in the 2nd half versus “12” personnel when Beckum was the 2nd TE, They treated Beckum as a WR
  • NT Sopoaga very tough to move in the middle of the 49ers defense, He stalemated and defeated C Baas when it was one-on-one
  • 49ers front seven handled the Giants OL in the run game, The 3 inside defenders (Sopoaga, Willis and Bowman) won the matchups against the interior of the Giants OL
  • The 1 Giants OL who played well was Diehl, especially in pass protection; A. Smith was not a big factor as a pass rusher
  • C Baas did not have a very good game, He struggled versus Sopoaga in the run game and was at times out-leveraged in pass protection
  • 49ers pass rush became a factor in the 2nd half, Giants OL had protected well in the 1st half but they struggled in the 2nd half
  • McDonald was a force as a pass rusher, Played with great leverage and power inside versus Snee and Baas
  • Aldon Smith great ability to get skinny on stunts, Tremendous athleticism and lateral agility
  • 49ers defense as a unit very quick with play recognition, They get a lot of players to the ball quickly
  • Rogers did a much better job in the slot on Cruz in the 2nd half but the 49ers pass rush was also a much bigger factor, Manning not as comfortable in the pocket
  • Manningham 17 yd TD was a great throw by Manning, Manningham beat Brock on a dig route; 49ers rushed 3 and dropped 8 out of dime – Brock had replaced injured Brown at corner
  • Diehl had a more difficult time in pass protection with J. Smith than he did with A. Smith
  • Manning again showed his excellent pocket movement and downfield vision on Bradshaw 30 yds near the end of regulation
  • With Brown injured Culliver played in the base defense opposite Rogers
  • RT McKenzie struggled in pass protection, both with recognition and of stunts and pressures and with individual execution in one-on-one matchups
  • Great sack by J. Smith in OT, He drove back LT Diehl right into Manning – Unbelievable leverage and strength
  • Giants ran 90 offensive plays, which is remarkable even in an OT game
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