NFL Game Summary - NY Giants at San Francisco|
(Sunday, January 22nd)
Final Score: NY Giants 20, San Francisco 17 (OT)
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - For the second time in five seasons, New
York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes got a chance to win the NFC Championship in
The extra minutes at Candlestick Park provided a crueler dose of deja vu for
the San Francisco 49ers.
Tynes kicked a 31-yard field goal after the 49ers fumbled a punt in overtime,
lifting the Giants to a 20-17 victory on Sunday and sending them to Super Bowl
XLVI to face the New England Patriots.
"A classic football game," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who had seen a
similar finish from the sideline before.
In 2008, Tynes kicked a 47-yarder in overtime to beat the Green Bay Packers in
the NFC title game and the Giants went on to down the Patriots in a memorable
Super Bowl, ending New England's perfect season.
This time, the Giants were gifted a chance to kick the game-winner after 49ers
return man Kyle Williams fumbled a punt deep in San Francisco territory when
he was stripped by Jacquian Williams.
The ball was recovered by New York's Devin Thomas, his second such heads-up
play of the game. In the fourth quarter, Thomas jumped on a ball that hit off
Williams' knee in a muffed punt that led to a Giants touchdown.
"You hate to be the last guy to have the ball and give it up and lose the game
that way," Williams said in the locker room. "But everyone in here has had my
back and patted me on the shoulder and said it's not on me."
Eli Manning, who has played years his older brother's shadow, passed for 316
yards and two touchdowns and will get a chance to beat Tom Brady's Patriots
yet again on February 5 in Indianapolis.
It won't just be a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, but also of New York's
24-20 win over the Patriots on November 6 this past season -- New England's
last loss before rattling off 10 straight wins up to Sunday.
"It feels great," Manning said after a tough game against the 49ers on a rain-
soaked field. "We had to fight for every yard we got. They're a good team.
Their defense is stout."
Alex Smith threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers, but the NFC
West champions couldn't overcome two crippling special teams mistakes in their
bid to make the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994.
Both of Smith's touchdown passes Sunday went to last week's hero Vernon Davis,
including a 73-yarder down the right sideline in the first quarter that had
second-seeded San Francisco on top in front of its home crowd.
Williams' muffed punt in the fourth quarter led to Mario Manningham's 17-yard
touchdown catch for a 17-14 Giants lead. Williams returned the ensuing kickoff
40 yards and the 49ers tied the game on David Akers' 25-yard field goal.
Both teams punted on their first overtime possessions, giving the Giants a
chance to win in sudden-death.
Tynes' game-winning kick -- on a low snap handled by punter Steve Weatherford
-- moved the NFC East-champion Giants to 5-0 all-time in the NFC title game.
They made the playoffs on the last day of the season by beating Dallas.
"A tremendous football game for those who enjoy football at its basic level,"
Coughlin said Sunday. "It was a very physical game. It was very difficult for
any team to muster any offense consistently."
New York returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence and is 3-1 in the
Super Bowl, their last championship coming over New England on a game-winning
drive orchestrated by Manning.
Earlier Sunday, the Patriots held on to beat Baltimore, 23-20, for the AFC
title after Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal that
could have tied the game.
The 49ers, under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, won their division with a
13-3 record and knocked off the New Orleans Saints in a divisional round
thriller that featured four touchdowns in the last four minutes.
Their ouster means neither Harbaugh brother will reach the Super Bowl after
there was a chance both would get there. John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens.
"In a lot of ways we played well enough to win," said Jim Harbaugh. "It'll
probably take a while to get over it, but we'll get over it."
Victor Cruz had 10 catches for 142 yards for New York and Ahmad Bradshaw
rushed 20 times for 74 yards. Davis had three receptions totaling 112 yards.
For his second touchdown, Davis raced past safety Kenny Phillips and caught
Smith's 28-yard pass in the left side of the end zone to give the 49ers a
14-10 with around five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Williams' muffed punt was revealed after a review and the Giants took over at
the San Francisco 29. Six plays later, Manning found Manningham free of
cornerback Tramaine Brock in the middle of the end zone for a 17-yard TD and
17-14 lead with 8:34 remaining in regulation.
It took the 49ers just six snaps to tie the game on Akers' field goal at the
other end. In a small measure of redemption, Williams helped set up the score
with a 40-yard kickoff return.
Manning is the more experienced playoff quarterback, but Smith made the best
pass of the first half, dropping a ball into Davis' hands near the Giants 40-
Davis tip-toed to stay in bounds -- at least according to the replay, which
didn't show enough evidence that he stepped on the line -- and raced the last
40 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Manning and the Giants tied the game on Bear Pascoe's first NFL touchdown, a
six-yard catch early in the second quarter. The key play on the 69-yard drive
was Cruz's 36-yard catch on 3rd-and-6.
Later, Tynes kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Giants a 10-7 lead at
It was the third time in five years the NFC Championship Game went to
overtime...The Giants beat Atlanta in the wild card round and upset the top-
seeded Packers last week in Green Bay...49ers cornerback Tarell Brown left the
game in the third quarter after colliding with teammate Dashon Goldson.
01/22 23:56:20 ET