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Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel lead 49ers over Giants in home opener


The San Francisco 49ers took care of business in its home opener against the New York Giants, remaining undefeated on the season with 30-12 victory on “Thursday Night Football.”

The 49ers used its stellar run game to operate its offense against a Giants defense that’s allowed an average 138.5 yards on the ground in two games. And of course, it was Christian McCaffrey leading that charge with 85 yards on the ground as well as 34 yards through the air. 

But the Giants’ front seven needing to be focused on the run game led to Deebo Samuel getting the 1-on-1 matchups head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to see. Samuel had 12 targets, catching six of them for 129 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown to put a dagger in the Giants’ hopes for another comeback in the fourth quarter. 

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Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter in the game at Levi’s Stadium on September 21, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

49ers quarterback Brock Purdy started off a bit slow in this game, but he started to heat up when he got the ball out of his hand quickly and found his playmakers in Samuel, McCaffrey and tight end George Kittle (seven catches for 90 yards on nine targets). 

Purdy finished 25 of 37 with 310 yards through the air and two touchdowns. 

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The game began with long drives from each team, but stellar defense resulted in field goals to make it 3-3. It wasn’t until the Niners’ third drive of the game that rookie receiver Ronnie Bell, playing for the injured Brandon Aiyuk, scored his first career touchdown on a nine-yard out route that needed a toe tap to stay in bounds in the end zone. 

Bell did well in this game in Aiyuk’s absence, catching two balls for 24 yards, including a wacky tipped ball by Giants corner Adoree’ Jackson that he tracked through the air and brought down for a first down. 

Matt Breida celebrates touchdown

Matt Breida #31 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring  a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in the game at Levi’s Stadium on September 21, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

On New York’s sideline was Saquon Barkley, who suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and couldn’t fight through the pain on a short week. Without a threat in the run game, the 49ers were able to tee off on an offensive line that was already shaky before left tackle Andrew Thomas was ruled out for this one. 

Quarterback Daniel Jones was under duress thanks to pressure created by Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw, Javon Hargrave and others on San Fran’s front seven. He finished 22 of 32 for 137 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. 

The Giants’ only touchdown of the game came thanks to a forced punt that resulted in a start from San Fran’s 37-yard line due to a penalty on the fair catch from rookie returner Eric Gray. Matt Breida, filling in for the injured Barkley, punched in an eight-yard run two plays later.  

But that’s all the Giants could muster in this game. 

Christian McCaffrey eggs on crowd

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants during the second quarter in the game at Levi’s Stadium on September 21, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Jones tried to close the gap late when the game was 30-12 after Samuel’s touchdown, but a ball that hit off tight end Darren Waller’s hands ended up an interception by Talanoa Hufanga to seal the win. 

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The 49ers will look to keep their win streak alive next week when the Cardinals come to town, while the Giants will try to get back on track against the Seattle Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.”



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