This game was largely lost because of the mental mind set of the coaching staff, and therefore the players as well. The past 2 games made us think we were an unstoppable force, and we are close to it if we run the ball consistently. The downside of this is the success Kap had before defenses could study him a bit. Roman thought that the past success with the WildKaep, which was largely based on the element of surprise, was an indicator it would continue to work and should be used more often. This was clearly the game that showed that gimmicks are far less effective if used too often. Particularily if you use it so often it disturbs the flow of the starting QB.
We are a run first team. The entire team is built this way. Our o-line is far superior run blocking vs pass blocking, and Gore has everything teams look for in a back besides breakaway speed - which Hunter has. As many have said, we ran the ball well in the first half then got away from it b/c we perceived we were down to much to stick with it - probably because the last 2 games had been so easy. We got shell shocked and felt we needed to come back quickly when there was plenty of time left in the game at 17-3. So we stat trying to continually be tricky with Kaep who had one successful play the entire game. Sure Alex was shockingly error prone, trying to force the ball into tight areas rather than playing his game and simply taking the sack when his WRs didn't have separation. Kaep showed he is not ready for a good defense that is prepared for him, and Alex is still easily the QB that gives this team the best chance to win as long as he plays within himself. Which Harbaugh has him doing the VAST majority of the time. The coaching staff needed to stop trying to be cute and run the ball, because nobody, including the Giants can stop the Niner running game. Everyone thinks they ran well and we didn't. The reality is the Giants ran for 4.0 per carry and we ran for 4.7. The trouble was we panicked and got away from the run too early, while the Giants stuck with their plan (this was helped by the score getting out of hand with the missed FGs even though we were moving the ball ok until we stopped running). All the Giants big runs came late in the third quarter/fourth qtr when our D that had been on the field way too much. We got tired and lost our mental fight from being down big because the offense and special teams kept handing the Giants great field position. Despite 3 possessions in a row that started at the SF 32, 12, and 5 yard lines, the Giants only scored 26 points in the game. Because while our pass rush is not what is was last year, our coverage is very solid.
Meanwhile Alex threw 3 passes that could have legitimately been picked, the Giants caught all 3. Eli only threw one truly ill advised pass, and Rogers dropped one right in his hands - with all kinds of room in front of him. The Giants made the most of the biggest opportunities in the game. We didn't.
When we play this team again, and we will, the Giants will very confident, and I feel it will be false confidence. The media will be pumping them instead of pumping us - never a good thing for the team that has "arrived". We will have no choice but to quietly believe in ourselves and prepare while feeling disrespected. I think these teams will see each other again, and the result is likely to be very different. We were feeling too good about ourselves, and then all the sudden we had to play a football game against the Super Bowl champs that our players and the media had said we'd win all week. We got down and then wanted to strike back right away instead of playing the way that we play. Even things we take for granted like Akers making his FGs didn't happen, and this played a major role in us getting away from the run game. Is it really that surprising we got spanked?
The questions we have to ask ourselves for next time are:
Will Akers miss multiple, makeable FG attempts?
Will Frank not carry the ball for the last 39 minutes of the game, and the team only run 17 times the entire game?
Will the most careful QB in the league throw 3 picks again?
Will we be grossly overconfident after high profile losses to the same team?
Will the Giants be leading enough to able to run the ball effectively because our D is completely left out to dry?
Will our D get no pressure on the QB?
Will we pull our QB who was the highest rated passer in the league in and out of the lineup repeatedly?
Will we force no turnovers for a third straight time playing the same team?
Not saying we are just going to walk into NY or even beat them in SF if we are lucky enough to get them at home again. But we will have more fuel than they will next time, and we will know what will happen if we don't play our game. Chances are we will not do all the things we almost never do. The NFL may be a crapshoot, but this game will be a valuable lesson, and we will play a lot better when we see this team again.
[ Edited by bpg4980 on Oct 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM ]