Eli Manning had six interceptions in the first nine games of the season.
He almost matched that total in four quarters on Sunday. Manning was picked off five times as the Giants wasted a very good defensive effort against the 49ers in a 16-10 loss in their home stadium. Manning’s interceptions came in all different flavors — under pressure, terrible read, good defensive play, deflection — but all of them were crushing for a team trying to end a losing streak on a day when that opportunity absolutely produced itself.
The 49ers could only manage one touchdown and four field goal attempts despite the gifts handed to them by the Giants offense and they blew a chance at adding even three more points of breathing room when they botched the snap on a field goal try. They did run the ball well, although allowing 148 yards on 37 carries qualifies as a major improvement for the Giants defense. Time and again, though, the 49ers would see promising drives peter out because they couldn’t convert on third down or in the red zone.
Their defense also showed some signs of cracking in the fourth quarter when Manning finally started finding Odell Beckham and drove the ball to the four-yard line. The Giants called three straight fades that fell incomplete against solid coverage, however, and Manning’s fourth down throw wound up in 49ers linebacker Chris Borland’s hands after caroming off Giants receiver Preston Parker.
It’s been that kind of the season for the Giants, who haven’t figured out how to have multiple parts of their team playing well at the same time. The 49ers haven’t really done that either, but their defense has remained solid enough that their offense keeps getting time to figure things out. They’ll be home for their next two games, culminating in a Thanksgiving night game against the Seahawks.
Both teams have the same 6-4 record right now and there might not be seats for both at the playoff table. That should make for a pretty nasty fight at the Thanksgiving one.