I haven't reviewed the game and no doubt when I do, I will have some better analysis of what took place, but for now I'd like to post my initial gut feel of the game.
I thought the Giants should go into the game to try to make it a passing game, take an early lead and make it a QB duel. Apparently Gilbride disagreed and wanted to rely on the traditional balanced attack that he and Coughlin favor. The Giants did attempt 43 pass plays (two scrambles by Eli + a sack by the 49ers in addition to the 40 passes that came out of Eli's hand) and they ran the ball only 27 times. But it seems like they threw a lot in the 4th qtr when they were down by two scores and up until that point it was close to a balanced pass-run ratio. Regardless of the actual statistics, the Giants should have been aggressive when they were in the red zone on their first half drives and instead took a conservative approach, running on 1st and 2nd downs.
Giants needed to avoid giving the 49ers field position advantage on ST and on turnovers and they failed on both counts. Weatherford who has been punting well all year and hit a few great clutch punts last week against the Patriots when the Giants were backed up on their side of the field, Matt-Dodged a punt yesterday when the Giants needed a good one. Ahead by 13-12, Weatherford shanked a 29 yard punt which gave the 49ers the ball at midfield. One missed assignment on defense and the 49ers were ahead.
Another key field position loss that the Giants gave up were the punt coverage penalties. They were absolute killers and I wouldn't be surprised if Martin is looking for a new team by the end of this week. He might be saved by the fact that the Giants are so shorthanded at CB, with Ross potentially hurt now.
Statistically the Giants controlled the game - more yards, more time of possession - but statistics are for losers. One reason the Giants had more yards and TOP is that the 49ers got good field position twice in the 2nd half, scored quickly and did not compile a lot of yards or clock on those two TDs. The yards and TOP do indicate that the Giants could move the ball against the 49ers defense, but they lost the game nonetheless.
Giants lost the game on these few plays:
1. failure to score TD on either of the long first half FG drives. I blame Gilbride for over-conservative play calling at the goal line
2. missed defensive assignment leaving Vernon Davis unguarded in a man-to-man defense. It may have been S Rolle or rookie LB Greg Jones who blew the assignment, but it happened right after Bolley left the game with an injury. Bolley is the signal caller, gets everybody lined up and makes sure everyone knows their assignment
3. the second INT by Eli, which somehow should go in Manningham's column, because he decided to stop running his route, inexplicably, after Eli had released the ball. 49ers got the ball on 17 and scored on first play.
4. Poor play call by Gilbride on 3rd and 2 when Giants were at the 10 yard line trying to score the tying TD at the end of the game. A draw to Ware out of shotgun formation was too conservative. It went nowhere, 49ers knocked down Eli's 4th down throw and the game was over. Eli is the best player on the team, I want the ball in his hands at the key moments of the game.
More analysis later this week when I have watched the game again. (Ugh. I dread doing that)