The 49ers (7-1) face the NY Giants (6-2) in what may be the game of the week and certainly the biggest regular season game the 49ers have played in quite some time. Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that this is a “bigger stage” than the 49ers have played on recently, but fully expects his team to rise to the occasion.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is listed as questionable, but is warming up on the field and is expected to play.
49ers Inactives: QB Scott Tolzien, WR Brett Swain, CB Shawntae Spencer, FB Moran Norris, G Daniel Kilgore, G Mike Person, NT Ian Williams.
Giants Inactives: WR Jerrel Jernigan, CB Prince Amukamara, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, FB Henry Hynoski, G Mitch Petrus, DT Dwayne Hendricks, T James Brewer
Click here to listen to my pregame interview with Ted Robinson.
The New York Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive. On 3rd down, the Giants kept the chains moving as Eli Manning found Hakeem Nicks on the right side for a gain of 9. Two plays later, Manning hit Brandon Jacobs who was wide open out of the backfield for a gain of 16. The Giants drove all the way down to the red zone. On 3rd down, Manning hit Cruz over the middle. He was hit immediately by Donte Whitner, who stripped the ball loose and it was recovered by Justin Smith. The official ruled that his forward progress had been stopped before the fumble. It was certainly a questionable decision drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd. Harbaugh threw the challenge flag, but the play was not reviewable. Tynes connected on a field goal to get the Giants on the board first.
Giants 3 – 49ers 0
After a touchback, the 49ers came out throwing as Alex Smith rolled right and found Delanie Walker for a gain of 11. After a false start, Smith picked up 21 yards on a pass to Braylon Edwards along the right sideline. On 3rd and long, Smith stepped up and threw a bullet to Ted Ginn over the middle to keep the drive alive. On 3rd and short, Smith avoided a sack and threw a great ball to Gore on the left side to move the sticks once again. Smith’s third down pass was to Vernon Davis who was upended violently by Aaron Ross, but Davis appeared to be ok. Akers came on and hit a 36-yard field goal.
49ers 3 – Giants 3
The Giants got the ball after a touchback and moved it out to the 27 before the end of the quarter.
Highlight Reel: Smith threw a dart to Ted Ginn on 3rd and long. That got the 49ers into field goal range.
Standout Stat: Eli Manning was 7 of 7 on the Giants’ first drive and the 49ers must get more pressure on him the rest of the game.
Put it in Perspective: Both offenses were operating efficiently to start the game. Smith is matching Manning’s strong start and Jacobs has been running hard. This game has all the makings of a heavyweight fight.
Manning hit Cruz crossing wide open for a gain of 21. Manning picked up another big first down on 3rd and long as Manningham made a circus catch to move the sticks. The Giants drove all the way down to the 10, but the 49ers defense held them to a field goal. Carlos Rogers stopped Ballard on 3rd down well short of the first down. Tynes’ 25-yard kick was good.
Giants 6 – 49ers 3
The kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback. Smith continued his early success throwing a perfect ball to Crrabtree on a dig route to pick up 21. Crabtree was called for pass interference on his next reception which backed the 49ers up. Smith hit Edwards on 3rd and very long, but they picked up enough yardage to set up Akers for a 52-yard field goal. The kick was good to tie up the game.
49ers 6 – Giants 6
Harbaugh went with a surprise onside kick which was perfectly executed by David Akers and recovered by Delanie Walker. Smith was sacked by Linval Joseph to back them up in a 3rd and 17 just before the two-minute warning. On 3rd down, Smith scrambled right and gained 12 yards to get within field goal range. Akers connected on the 39-yard field goal.
49ers 9 – Giants 6
The Giants were called for a hold on the kickoff. Two plays into the drive, Manning’s pass was short and picked off by Carlos Rogers. The salsa dance ensued.
Smith scrambled for a big gain down to the 24. The 49ers were well within field goal range, but Smith’s pass to Ted Ginn went right off his hands and was picked off at the 22. Tough not to get points in that situation.
Highlight Reel: The 49ers went with an onside kick to keep the ball away from the Giants. It was perfectly executed and recovered by Delanie Walker. Was that the “Skywalker” play Harbaugh eluded to this week???
Standout Stat: Alex Smith played a tremendous first hald. He was 12 of 17 for 151 yards. The interception certainly wasn’t his fault as it should have been an easy catch. The Giants are clearly trying to take away Gore and have done a good job of that to this point, but Smith has moved the ball and the 49ers have yet to punt.
Put it in Perspective: It’s certainly difficult not to get any points after that onside kick. Even a field goal would have given the 49ers more momentum going into the locker room. Each team is trading blows and matching each other shot for shot. Hopefully the 49ers can establish the run a bit in the second half to be more balanced. If not, Alex Smith has shown the ability to make the Giants pay for loading the box to stop Gore.
The 49ers came out throwing again in the second half as Smith hit Walker for 14 yards. Two plays later, Smith hit Ginn on the right sideline for 16 yards. Smith then hit Walker on a crossing route and he outran his defender and turned the corner down to the 10. Smith has three shots from there, but all were incomplete and Akers hit his fourth field goal of the game, this one from 28.
49ers 12 – Giants 6
The 49ers defense forced a three and out and the first punt of the game as Patrick Willis dropped his old college teammate for a sack on 3rd and 4. The punt was downed at the 35.
On 3rd and 7, Smith was hit as he threw and the 49ers will punt for the first time this game.
On 3rd and long, Manning threw a beautiful ball to Cruz down the left sideline. Cruz beat Rogers for a gain of 36. The drive ended it a TD pass from Manning to Manningham.
Giants 13 – 49ers 12
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 26. Not the way the 49ers want to answer, going three and out.
The 49ers defense returned the favor with a three and out of their own as Manning’s third down pass was short of Nicks. The 29-yard punt by Weatherford went out of bounds at the 50 to give the 49ers good field position.
Highlight Reel: The 49ers got their first sack of the game as Willis blitzed up the middle and dropped Manning on third down.
Standout Stat: Both teams have 13 first downs and they’re separated by just 5 total yards. So…it’s a close game.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers couldn’t get off the field on the long touchdown drive by the Giants. The 49ers need to capitalize on the good field position after the shanked punt. It’s still anyone’s game.
Alex smith hit Vernon Davis crossing. Davis turned upfield and jumped into the end zone for the score. The 49ers tacked on a two-point conversion to Michael Crabtree.
49ers 20 – Giants 13
On the next drive, Carlos Rogers got his second pick of the game and returned it to the 17. On the next play for the 49ers, Hunter got a great block by the offensive line and took it in for another score.
49ers 27 – Giants 13
Dashon Goldson came on a blitz which left Nicks in one-on-one coverage with Tarell Brown. Manning threw a perfect ball for a 32-yard score.
49ers 27 – Giants 20
Spillman was called for a hold on the kickoff return which backed them up to the 14. The 49ers went three and out though. Spillman had good coverage on Lee’s punt. A 10-yard penalty for holding backed the Giants up the their own 20. That’s a good play by the 49ers special teams unit.
We have to run down to the field for postgame, but we’ll keep you updated on Twitter.
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