Giants, 49ers prepare for rematch of NFC title game
They're the only team in the league whose nickname consists of numbers, so it stands to reason that the 49ers are putting up some pretty impressive ones.
They've won their last two games by a combined score of 79-3, including a 34-0 win over the Jets two weeks ago. On Sunday, when they beat the Bills, 45-3, they didn't just have 621 yards of offense, they did it in a way no one in NFL history ever has. The 49ers (4-1) were the first team to have more than 300 yards rushing and passing in the same game (311 and 310, respectively).
The Giants are aware of those statistics. And though they will admit they are gaudy, they certainly are not considering them godly.
"You see it," Giants center David Baas, a former 49er himself, said Monday of the dominance. "But we scored 41 points, too . . . We're not going to [think], 'Whoa!' sit back there and think they're the Almighty, you know what I mean?"
The Giants begin an important stretch of three games against conference opponents with a rematch of last season's NFC title game in San Francisco on Sunday. It's a setting that will not intimidate the Giants, considering their win there last January. But it certainly represents a raise in the bar of competition.
The Giants' three wins this season have come against the Browns, Bucs and Panthers, teams with a combined total of two wins.
In other words, the Giants should not expect to fall behind 14-0 Sunday, as they did against the Browns, then cruise to an easy victory.
"We've been an up-and-down team," safety Antrel Rolle said. "It's not something that we're proud of, but we're 3-2 and trying and looking to get better each and every week."
The 49ers certainly have gotten better since last year, and some of that has to do with the addition of former Giants. They signed wide receiver Mario Manningham as a free agent this past offseason and also have running back Brandon Jacobs, although he has not played a down for them because of a knee injury suffered in the preseason. It certainly would be fitting for Jacobs to make his debut with his new team against his old one.
Rolle said he does not think Manningham will have any advantage in the game after playing with the Giants for four seasons.
"We can sit here and say he knows our defense pretty well, but that's like saying I know our offense to a T," Rolle said. "I don't know our offense to a T. We practice against them in the preseason and in training camp, but that's as far as it goes."
As for the prospect of tackling Jacobs, who could be running with 264 pounds of pent-up punishment, Rolle said he would be up for the task.
"We put on our pants the same way," Rolle said. "B-Jacobs, he's a homeboy, a very good friend of mine . . . but the game has to be played. There are no friends on the football field."
Certainly not between the Giants and 49ers. Last season's playoff game lived up to its billing as a "bloodbath," the term Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty gave it in the week preceding it, and Rolle said it was "one of the toughest games I've ever played, hands down."
The 49ers undoubtedly will be looking for some revenge, too, having been denied a trip to the Super Bowl by this team. The Giants are aware of that, just as they are of the prodigious numbers the 49ers have put up this season. Their reaction to both is pretty much the same, too.
"Honestly," Baas said, "I don't care what they think."