Every Monday throughout the season, 49ers.com will ask a different player to break down Sunday's game in this Team Issued column. This week, we asked middle linebacker Takeo Spikes, who had six tackles against the Giants, to review the game from his perspective.**
After watching the game film, I think we played a good game as a defense. The only thing we didn't do that we had hoped for was getting some turnovers. In spite of that, we were able to put everything together and be successful in the red zone. We stopped them twice and forced them to kick field goals after turnovers by our offense gave them short fields. Like I said, overall, we thought we played a good game on defense.
And we did have our shot on a couple of turnovers, but we missed out. On the opening drive of the game, we almost forced two fumbles. One was forced by Joe Staley, but it was on a third down and was ruled a dropped catch, in favor of the Giants, so we didn't challenge the play and elected to return their punt.
The other almost came when Brandon Jacobs fumbled the ball. I would probably say most of our guys didn't realize it was a fumble at the time the ball was on the ground. I think either Nate Clements or Walt Harris almost picked it up, but we didn't know that the whistle wasn't blown. It could have been a big momentum change for us.
While we were able to force them to a three and out on the opening drive, we weren't able to hold them out of the end zone on their second drive. Brandon Jacobs scored from 26 yards out and we had some wrong fits on that play. Some of our guys kind of got out of position. We talked about it and everything began to tighten down for us. In the second quarter we held them to three-and-outs twice.
Going into the game, we wanted to stop the run, limit their gains on first and second down and not give up the explosive play. And for the most part, I think we did that.
What we had planned for the Giants was a good game plan. Everybody understood it and for the most part we were able to limit the number one offense in the NFL.
Though we were unable to tie the game going into the half because of an interception in the end zone, we came out in the second half ready to play and we forced them to a punt on their opening drive.
Unfortunately we had a couple of times where we had to defend short fields in the third quarter, but as far as I'm concerned, we win together and we lose together. And we all lost this game. But defensively, I really felt that we took a step in the direction of being able to do what you're supposed to do, regardless of whatever may happen.
Because whatever our offense did in the game – didn't matter. Just because we were given a shorter field because of an interception or fumble, I don't care, we're not trying to let them make any plays. We're trying to get a turnover in that situation. Either a three and out or a turnover.
Coming into the game, I had three consecutive games with interceptions, and at one point in the game I thought I'd have number four. I had one opportunity, but Eli Manning didn't throw the ball. I was in the throwing lane, but he must have seen me there, because he threw it somewhere else.
While we played better as a defense, we still lost and we still have to deal with a 2-5 record. But what I think is most important for us on the defensive side of the ball, because I'm over there and I can speak for that side of the ball, is that we were able to take something away from that game.
What we talked about doing for the entire week, we did. Other than some of our penalties that we gave them in the first quarter of the game, there were many positives for us in the game. And that's confidence building going into the next game this Sunday at home against Seattle.