Around the NFC West: Gilbride follows up

The New York Giants’ improvement against the San Francisco 49ers’ pass-rush twists played a role in their 26-3 victory at Candlestick Park in Week 6.

Around the NFC West: Oct. 15, 2012

San Francisco 49ers
Poole: Giants humble Harbaugh
Maiocco: Staley hurt, bad plan, replay
Barrows: Seahawks, flat, JH-era low
Branch: Giants had chance, after all
Diaz: Bid to host Super Bowl
Corkran: Run D struggles
Inman: No holds on Smith, or sacks
Kawakami: Not expecting QB change
Barber: Did the gap widen?
Espinoza: Seeking a bounce-back
That made Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s comments about 49ers defensive end Justin Smith relevant after the game, not just before it. The way Gilbride saw things, Smith had grabbed onto opponents, impeding their ability to handle the pass-rush twists San Francisco used effectively against the Giants last season.

“I have great respect for their front, and I have unbelievable respect for the guy [Smith], tremendous,” Gilbride told the New York Daily News after the game. But it [defensive holding] is something he does. He reaches out and grabs people.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh turned similar comments into national news with his response to Gilbride last week. Gilbride seemed to appreciate the publicity, at least after the fact.

“It was great,” Gilbride said after the game. “All of a sudden, now everybody in the country saw it. It worked well.”

Smith and the 49ers had zero sacks in the game. There were also no holding calls against the Smith or the 49ers’ defensive linemen.

Winners can say what they wish, of course. Perhaps these teams will face each other once again.

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