The All-Pro defensive end, who had just 1.5 sacks in the first five weeks, chose the right time as he more than doubled his 2012 numbers against a fellow NFC contender.
Part of a six-sack performance by the Giants, Pierre-Paul accounted for two of them and helped contain the San Francisco 49ers to one field goal in a 26-3 victory.
“All week coach preached that we have to come out here and do our jobs, don’t try to do anything extra,” Pierre-Paul said. “And that’s what we did. We kept saying it’s coming, it’s coming, even though nobody expected us to win. But as a team we know where we stand and we’re just getting better and better each day.”
Where the team stands is 4-2 overall and in first place in the NFC East as both Dallas (2-3) and Philadelphia (3-3) lost on Sunday. Washington (3-3) was the only other team in the division to win on Sunday.
Coming off two straight wins, Pierre-Paul knows the defense can get better given the injuries to the unit, including defensive tackles
“It was fun today,” said Pierre-Paul, who has been candid recently about his frustration. “But it can be better as a defense. We still have guys out like Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard…So it is what it is, but once those guys come back, we’re going to get rolling again. For them to be out and still win this game, that’s a big thing.”
Aside from getting to the quarterback, the defense limited the NFL’s top rushing attack to 80 yards on Sunday. Entering the game, the 49ers averaged 196.2 yards before their leading rusher Frank Gore was held to just 36 yards on eight carries. San Francisco rushed 17 times against 37 passing plays.
“It’s all about discipline and seeing what they’re going to do,” Pierre-Paul said. “There’s a whole lot of contain, hold the edges, set the edges, playing the middle – don’t let them run up the middle – and we were doing that. Yeah, they got a couple of runs here and there, but we held them to under 100 yards. And that’s good.”