49ers vs. Giants preview: Offense must keep contributing

Brian Bahr - Getty Images

The 49ers defense and special teams haven't had the gaudy statistics they put up in 2011 thus-far. The offense however has taken a step forward. They need to keep it up in order to win certain games.

In recent weeks the 49ers offense has exploded for a combined 79 points in two victories. The unit currently leads the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carry while putting up a respectable 7.9 yards per attempt passing as well. Against the Buffalo Bills the offense put up a franchise high 621 yards and became the NFL's first team to rush AND pass for over 300 yards each.

Granted the two teams they've recently beaten were the seemingly hapless New York Jets and a porous defensive unit in the Bills, the offense must continue to pull it's weight in San Francisco. The 49ers defense hasn't had the same number of turnovers they averaged in 2011 and the special teams unit hasn't contributed many huge returns, turnovers or scores of it's own.

These were cornerstones in many of the 49ers 2011 victories that were decided by few points. While the team is disciplined and seemingly always turns in a strong defensive effort, there are always going to be times where the offense needs to pick things up in order to overcome a point deficit.

Against a potent offense like the Giants, this is probably going to be true. We can't look at this game as "back to the old way of winning games" where we rely on the defense and settle for field goals. We need to look at the last two games as "what the team is capable of" every game, not just against what would appear to be inferior opponents.

Granted better defenses will allow less yards and points than those we've recently faced, but scoring a little over half of the points from the last two games would still put the average at or above 20 points per game. If the defense allows a few touchdowns to the Giants, the offense had better be able to put up three of it's own to keep pace.

Besides, who wants the strategy to be "sit back and pray the defense holds them to a field goal or two"? We have weapons, let's use them, strike first.

I know I've used the dreaded "we" talking about a team by which I'm not employed nor for which do I play. But I can't help but put myself in the shoes of the guys on this squad going into this game. Don't force things, but don't shy away from big plays and scoring opportunities.

The Giants have come back from deficits a few times already this year. They've shown they can score points and then shut down an opponent in the second half. Let's not be another one of their victims.

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