All playoff teams are not built the same. That was readily apparent Thursday night as the 49ers slowly dismantled the Giants 30-12 in a game that never felt winnable for the Giants outside of early in the first quarter.
These teams exist in two different realms of competence and, for the second straight year, the Giants have put together a squad that can’t compete with the NFC’s dominant teams. They can scrape together wins against some of the worst in the league, but when they run into a team with real Super Bowl aspirations, it can be bleak for them.
The Giants had a choice to make after last season. Play it slow after a season filled with close game wins and franchise tag Daniel Jones while working out a contract with Saquon Barkley, or commit to Jones to some degree with an extension and the team that was around last season. They chose the latter, giving Jones a four-year, $160 million extension that locks him in as the starting quarterback for at least two seasons. That was a nod to the idea that the season they had in 2022 was the start of something special.
So far the Giants don’t look all that different than they did a year ago. They just don’t have the horses to go blow for blow with the top teams in the conference, especially with Barkley out with an injury.
The 49ers outgained the Giants 441-150 over the course of the night. The 49ers generated 26 first downs to the Giants’ 10. Deebo Samuel, by himself, almost accounted for as many total yards as the Giants’ offense. It was a complete beatdown by one of the best teams in the NFC.
The mission hasn’t changed for the 49ers this season: win the Super Bowl. Through three games, they once again look to have the talent and makeup to at least get close to that goal and obtain one of the top seeds in the NFC. They have some tough competition with Dallas and Philadelphia, but this is clearly one of the contenders in the NFC.
The 49ers found a starting caliber quarterback with the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, giving them a steady hand under center to run the offense. They’ve been less reliant on play-action this season than in the past and are still shredding defenses with their efficiency. The Giants don’t look poised to make the playoffs this season, but the 49ers can say they scored 30 points on a recent playoff team without the services of Brandon Aiyuk, one of the better young wide receivers in the league.
“Thursday Night Football” spun a tale of how every team that has success in the NFL isn’t built the same. The Giants clearly are a few years away from being that serious contender unless Jones takes the big leaps necessary to develop into an Atlas-level quarterback capable of carrying the team on his shoulders. He hasn’t been that guy against the elite teams in the NFL, which is fine, but it accentuates the rest of the roster — for better or worse. The 49ers, on the other hand, got this thing locked down and are moving forward at full steam, which is a terrifying thought for the rest of the NFC.
Teams often have a day when they “tell the truth” after a tough game. Usually it’s a Tell the Truth Monday, but today is a Friday — and the truth of the matter is the Giants aren’t all that close to being the team they want to be. The 49ers painfully reminded them of that fact.