Update: For the third time in the past five years, the NFC Championship game has gone into overtime, with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants tied at 17 apiece.
On a wet and windy filed, an unlikely 73-yard touchdown pass and run gave the San Francisco 49ers a lead in the first quarter.Then it was the New York Giants turn to air it out.
After the New York Giants recovered their own third-down, Eli Manning fumble and was forced to punt, Niners quarterback Alex Smith went over the top to Vernon Davis. After review, the play stood (which will give grist to the armchair-quarterback types).
The Giants, wind in their faces for the first quarter, struggled, but turned it around in the second quarter.
Wind at his back, Manning goes over the top to Victor Cruz for an 36-yard gain to the 49ers 35-yard line. Manning then connected with Nicks to put the ball at the 11. Hot throughout the playoffs, Manning capped the drive with a 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bear Pascoe.
Davis, the hero of the Divisional Playoff game just a week ago, later was seen showing his back to the team chiropractor on the 49ers sideline. Davis over-celebrated after the touchdown, getting a 15-yard penalty. Later, he got another unsportsmanlike penalty for joining a scrum where he wasn't invovled
The downside for the Giants is their starting center, David Bass, was injured -- replaced by one-time starter Kevin Boothe.
Both defenses tightened for a while after all the aerials, with the Giants stopping a scrambling Smith on a key third down in Giants territory. Then another punt exchange, with a decent return for the Giants as they started on their own 35 for a late-quarter drive with 1:36 to go in the half.
Manning marchd the Giants downfield, returning to the air (even with two drops along the way). Cruz, having a great game, snagged one that may have drifted for a 26-yard gain, putting the Giants near the red zone, but the Giants settled for a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.