Editor’s note: Follow all the NFL Week 3 action with USA TODAY Sports’ live coverage.
On seldom occasions does "Thursday Night Football" produce the crispest game.
The Niners offense scored exactly 30 points for the third straight game to start the season, all victories. Per NFL research, the 49ers are the third team in NFL history to start a season 3-0 and score the same number of points in each game, joining the 2007 New England Patriots (38 points) and 1936 Pittsburgh Pirates (10 points).
The 49ers converted six of the first eight third downs they faced and finished 9-for-16. They finished with 291 more yards than the Giants (441-150) and ran 32 more plays than the Giants, holding the ball for a total of 39:10.
Running back Christian McCaffrey scored a touchdown in his 12th straight game, tying a franchise record set by Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice in 1987. He had 85 rushing yards on 18 carries and also had help from second-string running back Elijah Mitchell, who ran it 11 times for 42 yards.
San Francisco was missing wideout Brandon Aiyuk, the team’s leading receiver over the first two weeks.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was his typical yards-after-catch machine, posting 129 receiving yards on six catches (12 targets) to carry the workload. Briefly on the sidelines with the wind knocked out of him, he returned to catch a 27-yard touchdown from quarterback Brock Purdy.
Purdy, inconsistent with his accuracy early, finished 25 of 37 for 310 passing yards – his career best in a regular-season game – and two touchdowns. According to NextGen Stats, Purdy was 20-for-31 for 247 yards against the blitz; he also threw both of his touchdown passes when pressured. With less than two minutes left, backup Sam Darnold relieved the second-year starter, who now has a career record of 13-2.
Rookie wideout Ronnie Bell, a seventh-round draft pick like Purdy, caught the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter to cap an 11-play, 72-yard drive that made it 10-3. Kicker Jake Moody, a fellow rookie, made all three of his field-goal attempts (28, 21, 36). Giants kicker Graham Gano made a 57-yarder to make it a 17-6 ballgame ahead of halftime.
Without running back Saquon Barkley and members of the starting offensive line, left tackle Andrew Thomas included, the Giants managed 25 total rushing yards. They will finally head back to the East Coast following an extended trip out West, which began with a 21-point comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The 49ers are off to their second 3-0 start in 25 seasons.
Andrew Luck appears as Capt. Andrew Luck on postgame show
During a Prime Video postgame show segment pitting former NFL players from Cal and Stanford against each other, former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck leaned into the popular Twitter account persona that depicts Luck as a Civil War soldier, showing up in full costume. Sadly, the former Colts QB did not come bearing gifts of braised pigeon shins and squirrel oil.
— NFL on Prime Video (@NFLonPrime) September 22, 2023
Talanoa Hufanga INT assures 49ers victory
Talanoa Hufanga recorded the game’s first interception.
The 49ers safety intercepted a Daniel Jones pass intended for tight end Darren Waller. Jones tried to force a pass to Waller on a third down. The football bounced off Waller and went into the air. Hufanga, who was in the right place at the right time, caught the ball floating in the air for the interception.
Hufanga’s interception was his second this season. — Tyler Dragon
49ers 30, Giants 12: Deebo Samuel seems just fine
Deebo Samuel had an eventful series in the fourth quarter.
Samuel had to be tended to by the 49ers medical staff after he was tackled to the ground following a 19-yard catch and run. He was able to walk off the field under his own power after a few moments down on the field.
A few plays later, Samuel checked back in and caught 27-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy to increase San Francisco’s lead, 30-12.
The 49ers star wideout has a game-high 129 receiving yards and one touchdown. — Tyler Dragon
— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2023
Deebo Samuel shaken up after catch
Versatile wide receiver Deebo Samuel had to be tended to by the 49ers medical staff.
Samuel was hurt when he was tackled to the ground after a 19-yard catch and run early in the fourth quarter. The Niners wideout was able to walk off the field under his own power. Samuel was able to return to the game in the same series.
Samuel has five catches for 102 receiver yards on the night. — Tyler Dragon
49ers 23, Giants 12: San Fran settles for another field goal
George Kittle had a 29-yard catch-and-run down the sideline to end the third quarter, bringing the Niners into Giants territory. He had another catch later in the drive, but the offense once again stalled, and Jake Moody knocked in his third field goal of the game, this time from 29 yards out. San Francisco lead 23-12 with 12:51 to go in the game. — Chris Bumbaca
Do Giants have another rally in them?
The Giants closed their deficit in the third quarter but still trail 20-12 entering the fourth quarter.
The 49ers gained 111 total yards in the third quarter but were only able to hit a field goal in the quarter.
The Giants scored the third quarter’s only touchdown when running back Matt Breida rushed for an eight-yard touchdown.
49ers 20, Giants 12: San Francisco answers with field goal
After a three-and-out to start the second half, the 49ers offense went back to its bully-ball ways.
Deebo Samuel broke a handful of tackles following a catch and the first play of the drive went for 40 yards. He’s up to four catches (on 10 targets) and 83 receiving yards.
An illegal contact penalty on Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 49ers facing a third-and-8 from inside the red zone gave San Francisco a first-and-goal opportunity.
But the Giants defense stood tall and kept the game within one possession. Robbie Gould knocked through a 21-yard field goal to make it 20-10 with 4:08 left in the third quarter. — Chris Bumbaca
49ers 17, Giants 12: Matt Breida finally gets New York into end zone
Matt Breida got a little bit of revenge against his former team.
The Giants running back took a handoff from Daniel Jones, rushed up the middle and broke a few arm tackles on the way to an eight-yard touchdown.
Breida’s touchdown was the first TD for New York in the game and made the score 17-12 after the Giants failed to convert a two-point conversion.
Breida has four rushes, 17 yards and one touchdown on the night. The 28-year-old running back played with the 49ers from 2017-2019. — Tyler Dragon
— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2023
Christian McCaffrey ties Jerry Rice’s touchdown streak record
Christian McCaffrey is in good company.
McCaffrey’s four-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked the 12th consecutive game (regular season or playoff) that he’s found the end zone. That ties the franchise record set by receiver Jerry Rice in 1987.
The NFL record for most consecutive games scoring a touchdown is set at 18. Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson scored a touchdown in 18 straight games in 2004 and 2005 while playing for the San Diego Chargers, which tied the NFL record set by Baltimore Colts halfback Lenny Moore in 1965. — Cydney Henderson
Trent Williams punches A'Shawn Robinson in late-half confrontation
A physical altercation between 49ers left tackle Trent Williams and Giants defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson delayed the start of halftime, as referee Shawn Hochuli asked both teams to remain on the field as they tried to head toward the tunnels.
It was the final play of the half, a 49ers kneel-down. Robinson ended up getting in Williams’ face and the protector of Purdy’s blind side did not appreciate it. While briefly tangled, Williams hit Robinson with a right hook. Both players were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Williams has been flagged three times in the game. — Chris Bumbaca
Trent Williams just punched A'Shawn Williams in the face lmao pic.twitter.com/TgaxaZJ5fX
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) September 22, 2023
49ers 17, Giants 6: Graham Gano strikes 56-yard field goal
Darren Waller and the Giants offense showed signs of life late in the first half.
Waller had two receptions during New York’s eight-play drive to help put the club in field goal range. After the Giants failed to convert a third down, Gano made a long 56-yard field goal to cut the Giants’ deficit 17-6. — Tyler Dragon
49ers 17, Giants 3: Christian McCaffrey extends San Francisco's lead
Even when Brock Purdy is missing throws, the ball still winds up in hands of 49ers receivers.
Purdy missed Deebo Samuel on a slant route and the ball was deflected high in the air. Rookie wide receiver Ronnie Bell maneuvered underneath the ball, however, and made the contested catch for the first down.
Both 49ers backs are off to productive starts. McCaffrey finished off the drive with a rushing touchdown, his 12th straight game with a score, and is up to 61 yards on the ground. He also has three catches for 26 yards. Elijah Mitchell had a catch for nine yards and a rush for 18 on the drive. On third-and-12 from the red zone, it appeared as if tight end George Kittle was stopped short of the first down. But a roughing the passer call on Leonard Williams – he landed with his full body weight on Purdy, in the eyes of referee Shawn Hochuli – extended the drive and allowed the Niners to extend their lead to 14 points ahead of halftime. — Chris Bumbaca
Darren Waller has goose egg thus far
Darren Waller was expected to be heavily featured in the Giants’ gameplan Thursday night, especially due to the Giants being without running back Saquon Barkley (ankle). However, the Giants' tight end has zero catches and no targets late in the second quarter. Daniel Jones has thrown to six different players, none have been Waller.
Waller came into Thursday night with nine catches and 112 yards in two games. — Tyler Dragon
49ers 10, Giants 3: 2022 Mr. Irrelevant to 2023 seventh-round pick scoring strike
The Niners converted three third downs and were rewarded with a touchdown to make it 10-3.
First, head coach Kyle Shanahan called for a wide-receiver screen on third-and-15 to Deebo Samuel that went for 30 yards. Guard Aaron Banks managed to block two Giants defenders on the play, and Samuel used his block to spring him for the big gain.
From there, McCaffrey took over behind the offensive line with rushes for nine and 10 yards. Facing 3rd-and-13, Shanahan dialed up another screen, this time to McCaffrey, who slipped away for 17 yards. From the Giants’ 11-yard line and facing another third down, Purdy lofted a ball in the front corner of the end zone for wideout Ronnie Bell. The rookie seventh-round pick – Purdy was the final pick of the 2022 draft – came down with it and caught his first career touchdown (he had his first career catch earlier in the game).
So far, San Francisco has gotten a first down on six of eight third downs. — Chris Bumbaca
✅ First NFL catch
✅ First NFL TD
The 7th-round pick Ronnie Bell gives the @49ers the lead 🙌 @Ronnieb_8#NYGvsSF on Prime Video
Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/qDMTitTfP0 pic.twitter.com/Ts2t7TluPV
— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2023
Giants, 49ers tied at the end of first quarter
Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa nearly got a safety late in the first quarter. Bosa came off the line of scrimmage unblocked and sacked Giants QB Daniel Jones right near the goal line. The officials gave Jones forward progress and placed the ball inside the one-yard line. The sack put the Giants in second-and-18 as the first quarter expired with a tie score. — Tyler Dragon
49ers 3, Giants 3: New York answers with field goal of its own
The Giants matched San Francisco’s opening drive field goal with one of their own.
Graham Gano, who kicked the game-winner against the Arizona Cardinals four days ago, drilled a 44-yard field goal to tie the proceedings at 3. New York has scored on six straight possessions going back to the start of that contest’s second half.
Quarterback Daniel Jones connected with four different receivers for 38 total passing yards. He also converted a 3rd-and-1 by barely gaining enough yardage on a sneak. — Chris Bumbaca
49ers 3, Giants 0: San Francisco settles for field goal on opening drive
The 49ers opened up the game with possession of the football. Running back Christian McCaffrey produced 29 yards from scrimmage on and wide receiver Jauan Jennings had a 24-yard catch on third down to put the team in field goal possession.
Kicker Jake Moody made a 28-yard field goal to score the first points of the game. — Tyler Dragon
What time is kickoff for Giants vs. 49ers on 'Thursday Night Football'?
The Giants and 49ers will kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET on Sept. 21.
How can I watch Giants vs 49ers on 'Thursday Night Football'?
Giants, 49ers inactives for Thursday night: Brandon Aiyuk out
The 49ers will be without starting wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk due to a shoulder injury that he suffered Week 2 versus the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers also announced that QB Brandon Allen, OL Nick Zakelj, RB Tyrion Davis-Price, LB Jalen Graham, DL Kalia Davis and CB Ambry Thomas are inactive versus New York.
As expected, the Giants will be without starting running back Saquon Barkley because of an ankle injury that he sustained during last week’s win over the Arizona Cardinals. Giants CB Cor'Dale Flott, S Gervarrius Owens, OLB Azeez Ojulari, OL Ben Bredeson, T Andrew Thomas and DL Jordon Riley are also inactive Thursday night.
Giants vs. 49ers odds
Giants vs. 49ers predictions
All eight of USA TODAY Sports' NFL experts are rolling with the 49ers, with five of them selecting the game as the lock of the week.
Here's more on what they expect:
Lorenzo Reyes: 49ers 27, Giants 13
Short week and a West Coast trip, New York’s offensive line is a mess and the Giants will be without Saquon Barkley. The Niners are explosive pretty much everywhere. Nick Bosa is going to have a field day.
Tyler Dragon: 49ers 28, Giants 10
The 49ers are the best team in the NFL after two weeks. Brock Purdy is managing the game and getting the football to San Francisco’s explosive playmakers. The 49ers’ defense is once again stout with linebacker Fred Warner and defensive end Nick Bosa leading the way. The Giants will be without Saquon Barkley (ankle), which means it’s going to be a long night for New York.
Victoria Hernandez: 49ers 32, Giants 13
The Giants have good momentum after scoring all 31 points in the second half during their come-from-behind win last week but will struggle again without Saquon Barkley. The 49ers are simply the better team all around.
Jordan Mendoza: 49ers 30, Giants 12
The Giants were able to pull off a miraculous comeback in Week 2, but that was against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. Falling behind the 49ers is not something they’ll be able to overcome – especially without Saquon Barkley – as San Francisco cruises to an easy win.
Betting odds: 49ers among best bets for NFL Week 3
Highlighting Thursday Night Football odds, the San Francisco 49ers are among the best bets for NFL Week 3 in their primetime game against the visiting New York Giants. The undefeated 49ers are favored by 10 points, according to the BetMGM NFL odds. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering NFL betting promos in 2023.
According to the top NFL betting apps, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has some of the best NFL MVP betting odds (+2000) in his second professional season. The 49ers also boast some of the best early Super Bowl betting odds (+600).
The Giants, meanwhile, are not among the most popular NFL future bets after starting 0-2 on the heels of making the playoffs last season. Can Daniel Jones and Co. turn things around in 2023?
If you’re new to sports betting, don’t worry. We have tips for beginners on how to place bet online. And USA TODAY readers can claim exclusive promos and bonus codes with the online sportsbooks and sports betting sites. — Richard Morin
Entering Week 3, there are nine 2-0 teams. Seven of those teams are from the NFC, including the San Francisco 49ers. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz attempted to sort through all of the 2-0 teams to determine which are contenders, which are still in wait-and-see mode and which are fool's gold.
Another week, another running back out for the season. And that's on top of the various bumps and bruises those primary ballcarriers have to withstand on any given NFL weekend. As a result, the position is looking extremely thin as we head into Week 3.
This week's fantasy football rankings are based on the point-per-reception (PPR) scoring used in most seasonal and daily fantasy football formats. One point is awarded for every 10 rushing and receiving yards and one point for every 20 passing yards. Six points are awarded for touchdowns scored, four points for passing TDs and one point for receptions.
Rankings are compiled by Daniel Dobish, TheHuddle.com. — Steve Gardner
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 49ers-Giants highlights: Thursday Night Football score, top plays