Eli Manning's five INTs doom Giants in loss to 49ers

  • EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Barring an epic collapse by two teams in the NFC East, the Giants effectively eliminated themselves from playoff contention after falling to the equally ho-hum 49ers, 16-10 on Sunday. Here are a few quick takeaways: *
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  1. Aldon Smith is a difference maker. The premier pass rusher returned from his nine-game suspension and caused the Giants, who were already a man down due to Justin Pugh's quad injury, to attempt some uncomfortable adjustments. At one point, Smith was triple-teamed by the entire right side of the offensive line. He played 50 snaps, by an unofficial count.
  1. Eli Manning was back to his old ways. He had not had a multiple interception game since the second week of the season, but in the team's most important game to date this season, he tossed five. FIVE. Odell Beckham's emergence was enough to hold teams at bay for a few weeks, but we could be seeing the re-emergence of a quarterback that is simply too turnover-prone to move this offense significantly.
  1. Speaking of Beckham, he is too much fun to watch. And Manning made no qualms about targeting him on nearly every passing play in the second half. There was a certain stretch where Beckham got five of six targets, including three straight on a crucial fourth-quarter drive. Beckham's night was highlighted by a phenomenal grab against Perrish Cox in which he tipped the ball to himself and hauled it in on the ground in a seated position.
  1. Giants fans will be second-guessing Ben McAdoo's play-calling with the game on the line for weeks. The young coordinator had first-and-goal from the 4-yard line and ran three straight fades, all of which fell incomplete. Manning's interception came next. McAdoo did almost the exact same thing in a similar situation against Detroit in the season opener, though he is not getting the same kinds of matchups.
  1. Despite the reports of dysfunction, this San Francisco team is showing elements of a unit that can make a serious run in the second half. Michael Crabtreemight not be a fan of Jim Harbaugh, but there are plenty of players who are.

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