On the road for the second week in a row, the New York Giants last minute comeback effort stalled when Eli finally ran out of juice. Defensive end Justin Smith’s batted pass ended the drive, and gave the 49ers another victory to push them to 8-1. It’s the best start for the team since 1997.
The Niner’s changed up their calling card today, as it wasn’t all about the run, it came down to Alex Smith and a 36 year old kicker. David Akers did almost half the scoring today by booting four field goals, the longest coming from 52 yards. Akers has been money this year, and Coach Jim Harbaugh even went a step further and said he was the best in the game.
In a change of strategy, Alex Smith was unleashed today and passed the ball 30 times. The results were a mixed bag where you had 242 yards on 19 completions, with one touchdown and one pick. Nothing all-world, but as has been his way this season, he didn’t hurt his club either. He didn’t get any help from running back Frank Gore who left early with a knee injury, but not before carrying six times for no yards. The first time in his career he’s done that.
The Giants going in knew they weren’t going to have Ahmad Bradshaw, and that the Niners had the best run defense in the league. They also knew that Eli was going to have to win this game for them. He threw 40 times for 311 yards and two TD, but he was also picked off twice. Brandon Jacobs filled in for Bradshaw and was pedestrian as he tried 18 times for 55 yards.
Alex Smith hit tight end Vernon Davis down the left sideline early in the fourth quarter for a 31 yard TD, it broke the tie and put them up 20-13. Davis was not going to be denied, as he leapt from the four yard line and came crashing down in the end zone on top of the defender. 61 seconds later after a turnover, Kendall Hunter scampered 17 yards for what seemed to be the dagger touchdown. Not quite so fast.
Eli came back quickly and hit Hakeem Nicks for a 32 yard strike to bring them within a score. Then in the final minutes he led the Giants down the field and into the red zone with just under two minutes to go. Unlike last week against the Patriots, his final pass on fourth and two would fall to the ground thanks to Smith. Carlos Rogers had his first career two interception game, as he caught both of Manning’s mistakes.
The 49ers now hold a five game division lead, and have tied the Pack for the most wins. They are also currently ahead of New Orleans in the race for the first round bye. The have reeled off seven in a row, and Coach Jim Harbaugh can do no wrong. No matter what he does, no matter how things go, he always seems to come up roses. At least up to this point, there is still a whole lot of season to go.