Maiocco's Instant Replay: Giants 26, 49ers 3

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Maiocco's Instant Replay: Giants 26, 49ers 3

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Quarterback Alex Smith made a 49ers-record 26 consecutive starts without a two-interception game.That streak came to an unceremonious end on Sunday.The New York Giants intercepted Smith three times en route to making a huge statement with a 26-3 victory over the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park.Some of the 49ers, including Smith, said they viewed this game as "unfinished business." The Giants defeated the 49ers 20-17 in overtime last season to win the NFC championship. New York went on to win the Super Bowl.But the Giants showed that they're not going anywhere. The Giants were better offensively, defensively, on special teams, as well as in the coaching department during their decisive victory. Both teams own 4-2 records.Smith entered the game with a league-leading passer rating of 108.7, which included eight touchdown passes and just one interception in five games. But Smith looked nothing like the passer who put up huge numbers one week earlier against the Buffalo Bills. Certainly, the Giants had a hand in that.Smith completed just 19 of 30 passes for 200 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.Smith gave the Giants a scoring opportunity early in the second quarter when his underthrown pass for tight end Delanie Walker was intercepted by cornerback Prince Amukamara.Perhaps not coincidentally, Walker ran that same route in the NFC championship game and was wide open down the left sideline. But Smith did not pull the trigger on that pass.In the third quarter, Smith threw interceptions to Giants safety Antrel Rolle on back-to-back possessions. New York managed two field goals to build a 20-point lead.STALEY CONCUSSION: Left tackle Joe Staley left the game in the third quarter and did not return after sustaining a concussion. The 49ers moved right guard Alex Boone to left tackle to take over for Staley. Veteran Leonard Davis played right guard.It is the second time Staley has left a game with a concussion. In mid-December last year, Staley left a game against the Arizona Cardinals. He returned in time for the following week's game.THROUGH THE AIR: The Giants exploited third cornerback Chris Culliver on two third-down plays in the second quarter to set up the only touchdown of the first half. Domenik Hixon turned around Culliver for a 39-yard reception. Then, Hixon caught a 16 yards pass.Those plays set up Eli Manning's 6-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz against the coverage of cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Donte Whitner. Cruz celebrated with a salsa dance, and the Giants led 7-3.MISSED KICKS: The 49ers had a chance for a six-point swing at the end of the first half. First, Tarell Brown blocked Lawrence Tynes' 40-yard attempt in the closing seconds. Then, the 49ers got into field-goal range when Colin Kaepernick drilled a 36-yard pass down the middle of Mario Manningham.That set up David Akers for a 52-yard field-goal attempt. But Akers' kick on the final play of the half was wide left. Earlier, Akers missed wide right from 43 yards. So the 49ers went to halftime trailing 10-3.THIS 'N' THAT: Despite running back Brandon Jacobs' statement that he's been ready for two weeks, he continues to be inactive on game days. Jacobs had hoped to make his 49ers debut against his former team. But because he is the team's No. 3 running back and he does not play special teams, the 49ers decided against placing him among the 46 active players on game day. The 49ers' other inactive players were WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, QB Scott Tolzien, S Trenton Robinson, G Joe Looney and NT Ian Williams.
Akers made a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter for a field goal in his record-setting 22nd consecutive game since joining the 49ers. Bruce Gossett previously held the record of 21 consecutive games with a field goal. His streak went from November 1970 to October 1972.Smith finally hooked up on a deep pass to Randy Moss in the third quarter. His 55-yard pass appeared to be a possible momentum-changing play. But the 49ers replaced Smith with Kaepernick on the next play, and Kaepernick took an 11-yard sack. Eventually, the 49ers went for it on fourth-and-15 from the Giants' 34-yard line. But Smith hit tight end Vernon Davis on a gain of just 7 yards. Joe Montana took part in the 49ers' alumni celebration in a pregame gathering in the parking lot.The team honored 49ers Hall of Fame inductee Gordy Soltau at halftime. Soltau spent his entire nine-year NFL career as a member of the 49ers (1950-1958), excelling as both a pass-catching end and kicker. A three-time Pro Bowler (1951-53) and three-time All-Pro (1951, 1952, 1953), Soltau led the 49ers in scoring in eight of his nine seasons played, including an NFL-high in both 1952 and 1953.It's a quick turnaround for the 49ers, who return to action Thursday evening against the Seattle Seahawks. It is the 49ers' first game against an NFC West opponent.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

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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