The New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in an overtime battle fought out in difficult condition to earn another Super Bowl match up with the New England Patriots, a repeat of Super Bowl XLII.
The weather was terrible, as high winds and heavy rains soaked the always-soggy Candlestick Park field, and the game see sawed back and forth in a tough defensive struggle. Ultimately, two mistakes by the 49ers backup kick returner Kyle Williams set up the last 10 of the Giants 20 points, including the game winning field goal in overtime. Williams was playing in place of the sure-handed Ted Ginn, Jr. who was out with a knee injury.
Williams fumbled a punt in overtime which gave the Giants the ball at the San Francisco 24 yard line, well within field goal range. Williams also inadvertently touched a punt in an effort to get away from it in the fourth quarter, giving the Giants the ball at the San Francisco 29 to set up an Eli Manning touchdown 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham that put the Giants ahead 17-14.
Manning was efficient moving the ball all night, as the Giants were unable to run the ball effectively against the record-breaking 49ers defense. Manning finished the night 32 of 58 for 316 and 2 TDs, and the Giants ultimately managed 85 yards on the ground.
Alex Smith played well for the 49ers, completing two long TD passes to Vernon Davis and finishing 12 of 26 for 196 yards and 2 TDs, and he also ran 6 times for 42 yards. Davis finished with 3 receptions for 112 yards and 2 TDs. The 49ers also produced 150 yards on the ground, with Frank Gore running 16 times for 74 yards, and catching 6 passes for 45 yards.
But the defenses were really the stars of the game. The Giants defense held the 49ers to 1 of 13 on third down conversions and while the Giants converted third downs effectively in the first half, they were largely shut down in the second half and overtime as it turned into a defense struggle. The 49ers sacked Manning 6 times.
The defenses shined brightly, and unfortunately the 2 turnovers by Williams were the difference in the game.
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