Some called it a statement game. Others called it a measuring stick game. However you want to label it, the 49ers showed that they belong among the NFL’s best.
It also turned out to be a statement game for Alex Smith who carried the offense without Frank Gore, who had no rushing yards and missed most of the second half with a knee injury. Smith passed for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interception and ran for 26 yards.
In what stated out as a battle of field goals, the 49ers jumped out to a 12-6 3rd quarter lead before Eli Manning scored the game’s first touchdown on a 13 yard pass to Mario Manningham. The 49ers answered back early in the 4th quarter on a 31 yard touchdown reception by Vernon Davis. On the first play of the Giants next possession, Manning was picked off by Carlos Rogers for the second time and on the very next play Kendall Hunter scored from 17 yards out to give the 49ers a 27-13 lead. The Giants then moved within a touchdown when Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks on a 32 yard touchdown pass. After a 49ers drive that went nowhere, Manning drove the Giants down inside the 49ers 15 yard line with a little over a minute left, converting twice on 4th down along the way. But on the Giants third 4th down play of the drive, Manning’s pass was batted down by Justin Smith to preserve the win.
The 49ers are now 8-1 and have a five game lead in the NFC West. They will host division rival Arizona next week.