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

October 14, 2012, 11:27 pm
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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.