Giants make 'statement' in routing 49ers 26-3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The New York Giants issued a statement of their own to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Sunday.
Maybe the rest of the NFL, too.
While questions still surround the defending Super Bowl champions, New York's 26-3 rout of the favored 49ers sent a clear message across the league.
"The statement made," wide receiver Victor Cruz said, "is that we're here to stay."
Antrel Rolle intercepted two passes by Alex Smith, Prince Amukamara picked off another and the Giants shut down San Francisco in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game. After outscoring the Bills and Jets by a combined 79-3 the last two weeks, the 49ers (4-2) met their match again.
No overtime needed this time, and not much of Eli Manning, either.
Manning threw for 193 yards and one touchdown, Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 116 yards and a score and New York (4-2) rode that dominant defense and four field goals by Lawrence Tynes to hand the outspoken Harbaugh the most lopsided loss of his tenure.
What a San Francisco treat.
"We were just waiting for them to play like we know they can play," Manning said of New York's defense. "They played outstanding. They played really well, flying around."
The Giants grinded out a 20-17 overtime win at rain-soaked Candlestick Park on Jan. 22, capitalizing on two fumbles by fill-in punt returner Kyle Williams en route to another Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. All week, some San Francisco players talked about "unfinished business." And Harbaugh added to the hype when he fired back a strongly worded statement criticizing Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who had mostly praised San Francisco and defensive end Justin Smith before saying the All-Pro often "gets away with murder" holding linemen.
Harbaugh issued a news release calling that an "outrageous, irrational statement" and said "it's obvious that the Giants coaching staff's sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."
For all the hoopla, the rematch was never close.
Amukamara's interception in the second quarter started a surge of New York offense. Smith, who wore tape around his sprained middle finger that he said wasn't an issue, lofted the pass too high and allowed Amukamara to leap underneath the ball before tight end Delanie Walker even had a chance at the Giants 33.
At one point in the first half, Manning completed eight consecutive passes for 142 yards and had the usually stout San Francisco defense out of sorts. Domenik Hixon tip-toed the sideline to catch passes of 39 and 16 yards on consecutive third downs, and Cruz followed with a 6-yard touchdown reception and his usual salsa dance in the end zone for a 7-3 lead.
"We know last year wasn't a fluke," Bradshaw said. "We know what we can be."
Tynes kicked a 34-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead and Tarell Brown blocked a 40-yard attempt by Tynes, which led to David Akers' miss wide left from 52 yards as the half expired.
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