How Giants took apart the 49ers

In crushing San Francisco, New York provided a blueprint for others

Originally Published: October 14, 2012
By Matt Williamson | ESPN.com
Alex Smith AP Photo/Tony AvelarIf Alex Smith has to carry the 49ers, that's likely a win for the defense.

The New York Giants won in very convincing fashion in San Francisco on Sunday. They played a nearly flawless game and made the nation realize that the defending Super Bowl champions are not fading away in 2012.

In the process, New York showed us the offensive and defensive blueprint for beating the 49ers.

When asked on ESPN Radio's pregame show Sunday morning how I would attack the Niners' great defense, I immediately said that I would have put the entire game more or less on Eli Manning's shoulders. Especially with Hakeem Nicks active, I would have put Manning in the shotgun a very high percentage of the time with Ahmad Bradshaw as the lone back. Bradshaw not only is a good runner, but he is a valuable receiver, which could be key in dump-off and screen situations. But Bradshaw is also one of the very best backs in the league in pass protection.