Offensive line has score to settle with 49ers

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
7:12
PM ET
The San Francisco 49ers may be the ones looking for a measure of revenge when they face the New York Giants on Sunday.

But the Giants' offensive line will be looking for some redemption as well.

During the Giants' 20-17 overtime victory over the Niners in the NFC Championship game last season, Eli Manning was sacked six times and officially hit 12 times -- although it was more like 20 times.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesThe 49ers will certainly be looking to put more pressure on Giants QB Eli Manning on Sunday.
The Niners' defense punished Manning, who delivered perhaps the toughest performance of his career.

Even though the Giants won one of the most physical conference championship games in recent memory, the offensive line still remembers seeing its quarterback get hit way too much.

"We need to go out there and do a better job," center David Baas said. "They touched Eli way too many times. That is something we have to focus on."

The Giants are fresh off a victory over Cleveland. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 200 yards against the Browns -- but the Niners are only giving up 81.4 rushing yards per game.

"They pride themselves on stopping the run," Baas said. "So we got to build on what we did."

The 49ers are second in total defense and the Giants will have to find a way to move the ball and score points against San Francisco, which has won its last two games by a combined score of 79-3.

"Hopefully, we can run the ball successfully and pass protect," Manning said Monday on WFAN radio. "It is one of those games where you can't afford to make mistakes."

The Giants had no turnovers and controlled the ball for 39 minutes –- 11 minutes longer than San Francisco –- in the NFC title game.

"You can't force things," Manning said of facing the Niners' defense. "You can't get into situations trying to do too much when they get a good pressure. You got to be smart and take your medicine sometimes.

"I think that is what we did great last time we played them," Manning continued. "No turnovers. They are talented. They got good players all over the field. It is one of those days when everything has to be done correctly."

And that starts with protecting Manning up front. After seeing how many times Manning was hit by the Niners, the Giants have done a solid job of protecting their quarterback this season. Manning has been sacked four times this season but only once since the season opener, when the Cowboys sacked him three times.

The offensive line is looking forward to the challenge of facing perhaps the league's best defense again.

And this time, the Giants hope to see Manning show his toughness without having to be hit some 20 times.

"We talk about Ahmad Bradshaw, and he is super tough, but Eli is just as tough," Baas said. "I feel like he is definitely somebody who will stand in there no matter what. And that is our job. We got to keep him clean. We know it is going to be a challenge, but we are up for it."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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