In a much-anticipated rematch of the NFC Championship game one team went on to win the Super Bowl while the other team prepared for another dominating season.
An offense that had blown out teams for the past two weeks fell victim to that same defeat. The New York Giants handed the 49ers a 26-3 loss, the second this season.
"We didn't do enough," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Put ourselves in a position that we couldn't come back from. More turnovers than we're accustomed too. We have a game coming up Thursday night, and no hanging the head. We got to bounce back."
In a shocking loss, Alex Smith who last weekend lead his team to record-breaking numbers in yards and rushing was shut down by the Giants defense. Smith threw three interceptions, two intercepted by Antrel Rolle. David Akers missed two field goals and the Niners experienced their worst loss of the season thus far.
"We forced some things tonight," said Smith. "We uncharacteristically, turned the ball over. Any time you turn the ball over like that, it's tough to win."
New York continued their winning streak at Candlestick Park. In a one-sided offensive game, Eli Manning threw for 193 yards and one touchdown. Lawrence Tynes kicked four field goals and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 116 yards and a touchdown.
The Giants defense forced San Francisco to a field goal as they struggled to get into the red zone. In the first quarter, Akers missed a 43-yard field goal that was too far to the right. But the second try he rebounded on a 43-yard attempt to give the Niners a 3-0 lead.
"We tried to get our best matchup based on what personnel they came out with," Rolle said. "The coaches emphasized the little things this week. A team that puts up 79 points in the last two games, you have to be careful because they throw a lot of different things at you."
The offense was completely paralyzed and the 12 play drives to start the game was a result in one field goal. The defense that has been stellar in the past, could not hold New York like they wanted too.
By the second quarter Alex's pass was intercepted by Prince Amukamara intended for Laney Walker. Manning then found Victor Cruz in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. That drive was 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:50. New York extended their lead 10-3 with a 34-yard field goal from Tynes.
The Niners had a chance to get back into the game when Tarell Brown blocked a 40-yard field goal by Lawrence. But David's attempt to kick a 52-yard field goal was no good to end the half.
"We were waiting, just waiting for them to play like we know they can play," said Eli. "They [Giants defense] played outstanding. When you see them play like that, hold the team to field goals early on and they weren't moving the ball which is the key then we can just be patient offensively.".
The nightmare continued to start the third when special teams David Wilson returned a 66-yard kickoff that led to Brandshaw's 1-yard touchdown. That was the first rushing touchdown allowed at home by the Niners in 12 games.
"Coaches always let us know that we're not the kings of the NFL, the Giants are," said Carlos Rodger. "They won a title last year and they're still that team to beat until somebody wins the Super Bowl."