49ers-Giants II -- what's changed

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49ers-Giants II -- what's changed

It was 58 degrees and sunny at Candlestick Park when the New York Giants visited the 49ers on Nov. 13. The 49ers won that day, 27-20, sending the Giants on their way into a four-game losing streak.Expect it to be cooler and damper on Sunday when the teams meet again in the NFC Championship Game.And weather won't be the only difference.

--"I think schematically, maybe (the Giants are) doing a little less," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. "(They're) playing faster though. I think it's even helped them. They've seemed to be creating more turnovers, playing faster on defense."--Smith played well in that first game, and his confidence has continued to build. After last week's performance against the Saints, the level of his play is at an all-time high. In the first meeting, Smith completed 19 of 30 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Perhaps his best throw was a pass that Michael Crabtree failed to catch in the end zone. He also had some communication issues with then-49ers receiver Braylon Edwards near the goal line. Smith's one interception was on a pass in which he hit Ted Ginn in the hands and deflected to Giants cornerback Corey Webster.--San Francisco running back Frank Gore is at full strength after being a non-factor in the first meeting. He carried just six times for zero yards before exiting the game in the first half with a knee contusion. Kendall Hunter led the 49ers with six carries for 40 yards. The 49ers virtually abandoned the run game. They're likely to be more balanced this time around.
--Giants linebacker Michael Boley, the team's second-leading tackler and their biggest presence in the middle of the field, did not play in the second half of that game after sustaining a hamstring injury.--Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw did not suit up due to a foot injury. Bradshaw leads the Giants with 26 carries for 126 yards in the playoffs. And starting fullback Henry Hynoski did not play. It was one of five games he missed because of a neck injury.--David Diehl, who started at left guard against the 49ers, is now playing left tackle in place of Will Beatty, who's out an eye injury. Kevin Boothe has taken over at left guard. After averaging 3.5 yards per rush as a team in the regular season, they've improved to a 4.6-yard average against Atlanta and Green Bay in their two playoff games.
--Back then, Braylon Edwards opened the game as a starting receiver for the 49ers. Ted Ginn was the No. 3 wideout. Edwards never appeared to get healthy. He has since been released. Ginn's availability for Sunday's game is in doubt with a right knee injury. If Ginn does not play, Kyle Williams would start and Brett Swain would become the No. 3 receiver.--Tight end Delanie Walker was the 49ers' leading receiver with six catches for 69 yards. He has not played since sustaining a fractured jaw on Christmas Eve against the Seattle Seahawks. He returned to practice this week.
--Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks returned after missing a game with a hamstring injury. The 49ers rolled coverage to Nicks' side. He caught two passes for 41 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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