Antrel Rolle and the New York Giants studied Alex Smith so much they practically knew what was coming.
On one play in the third quarter, even running back Ahmad Bradshaw screamed from the sideline: “Trail. He’s watching you.” Rolle responded, pretended he was playing the ball and sliced in front of Kyle Williams on a short hook.
“He threw the ball right to me,” Rolle said.
After a slow start this season, New York’s defense saved its best for the 49ers yet again.
Rolle intercepted two passes by Smith, Prince Amukamara picked off another and the Giants shut down San Francisco in a 26-3 victory Sunday in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.
“I think this is our most complete game all year long,” Rolle said.
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, 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 outspoken 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh the most lopsided loss of his tenure.
The 49ers had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in previous 22 home games. The last time one was Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, who ran for 135 yards on Nov. 8, 2009
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.”
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 Victor Cruz followed with a 6-yard touchdown reception for a 7-3 lead.
“The statement made,” Cruz said, “is that we’re here to stay.”
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.
|Total Net Yards||342||314|
|Time of Possession||32:15||27:45|