AT A GLANCE: Eli Manning engineered the 36th game-winning drive of his career in the regular season, leading the New York Giants to a 27-23 road win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium. Big Blue opened the second half of the season with its second victory while San Francisco fell to 2-8
UP NEXT: The Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who fell to 3-6 on the season after a loss to the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins in Week 10. The Giants are 7-1 as the home team against the Buccaneers, part of a 13-7 overall lead in the regular-season series. They have met once in the postseason, a 24-14 Wild Card road victory en route to winning super Bowl XLII.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*Jamon Brown, who was acquired from waivers on Halloween, became the ninth different offensive lineman to start for the Giants this season (the 10th to take snaps in a game). He lined up at right guard, a spot that has changed hands three times this season. John Greco had replaced Patrick Omameh, an offseason acquisition who started the season’s first six games but was released on Saturday. Last season, Brown started all 17 games at right guard for the NFC West champion Rams. This year, he played in six games for Los Angeles, which was the NFL’s last unbeaten team.
*Odell Beckham Jr.’s first target of the game was a dropped pass on the first play from scrimmage. His second? A 10-yard touchdown from Eli Manning after the defense flipped the field on an interception. Brown made a key block on the play, giving Manning enough time to bounce around in the pocket and find Beckham untouched in the back of the end zone. Manning and Beckham hooked up for another touchdown midway through the third quarter in response to the 49ers’ own scoring drive to bring it back to a one-possession game. It was Beckham’s 11th career multi-touchdown game and his first since Week 3 of last season at Philadelphia. He doubled his 2018 season touchdown total on Monday night.
*Trailing by three points with 2:46 left in the game, Manning eyed his 36th regular-season game-winning drive. A 31-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram got things going, but a false start penalty on rookie left guard Will Hernandez later brought it to third-and-12 at the 49ers 46. San Francisco then committed a holding penalty on the next play, giving the Giants a fresh set of downs with 1:55 to play. A flag was then thrown on the third consecutive play when Brown was called for holding. Two plays later, the 49ers were called for passing interference on Manning’s attempt for Beckham down the left sideline. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley then broke a 23-yard catch-and-run and Engram had another catch for nine yards, setting up Manning’s three-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with 53 seconds remaining.
*Barkley had as many carries in the first half (15 for 53 yards) as he did in six of his first eight games. He finished 67 yards on 20 rushing attempts in addition to four receptions for 33 yards. The Giants’ longest run of the game was a 27-yard reverse to Shepard late in the third quarter.
*Entering Week 10, Manning had been sacked 31 times, matching his entire 2017 total. He wasn’t sacked on Monday night until a third-down play in the middle of the fourth quarter of a tie game.
*According to NFL Research, the Giants have now trailed at halftime in eight games this season (most in the NFL). They had not won a game after trailing at the half since Week 14 of the 2016 season vs. Dallas.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*Third-year linebacker B.J. Goodson recorded his first and second career interception on Monday night. With the offense pinned inside its 20 after a Riley Dixon punt, cornerback Janoris Jenkins got a hand on Nick Mullens’ pass to the left side, deflecting the ball into the hands of Goodson. Three plays later, Manning found Beckham in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and a 7-3 first-quarter lead. Goodson then opened the fourth quarter with another interception on a tipped pass, this time off wide receiver Marquise Goodwin near midfield. The Giants, however, failed to turn that one into points. Mullens, who at this time last year was playing safety on the 49ers’ practice squad, had the highest passer rating (151.9) in an NFL debut since the 1970 merger last week against the Raiders.
*After the Giants took a 27-23 lead with less than a minute to play, the defense needed to make one last stand, something it had failed to do multiple times in the first half of the season. The 49ers had a final chance from the Giants 21 with one second remaining, but Mullens threw it over the back of the end zone as time expired.
*Linebacker and defensive quarterback Alec Ogletree returned to the field after missing the last game before the bye week with a hamstring injury. He was the closest defender on Matt Breida’s 11-yard touchdown reception to give the 49ers a 20-10 lead in the third quarter. There was some scrambling on the part of the Giants’ defense after the 49ers snapped the ball quickly on the play. Breida also had a rushing touchdown for San Francisco’s top-five rushing offense.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*Wide receiver Corey Coleman made his Giants debut on Monday night as a kick returner. He broke a 51-yarder after the 49ers took a 20-10 lead midway through the third quarter, the longest of the season for the team. The 15th overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft was signed by the Giants last month after stints with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. He was originally chosen by the Cleveland Browns for whom he played 19 games with 18 starts in two seasons with the team. He caught 56 passes for 718 yards (12.8-yard avg.) and five touchdowns.
*Riley Dixon entered Monday night ranked fourth in the NFL in net punting (42.0 yards per attempt) and downed three inside the 20 against the 49ers.
*Kicker Aldrick Rosas remained perfect on the road this season, making both of his field goal attempts from 20 and 31 yards. He is now 11-for-11 on the road, 19-for-20 overall.
INACTIVES: NYG – QB Kyle Lauletta, DB Tony Lippett, S Kamrin Moore, C Evan Brown, WR Jawill Davis, DL RJ McIntosh, DT John Jenkins. SF – QB Tom Savage, WR Pierre Garçon (knee), S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), LB Reuben Foster (hamstring), OL Erik Magnuson, DT Jullian Taylor, OT Shon Coleman.
LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Jamon Brown for John Greco at C. SF – Kendrick Bourne for Garçon at WR, Antone Exum for Tart at SS, Malcolm Smith for Foster at WILL, Mark Nzeocha for Smith at SAM.