The San Francisco 49ers let Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham get whatever he wanted for most of the field. But when the New York Giants got to the red zone, San Francisco stiffened. New York's red zone woes ended up costing them the game.
New York drove on their first possession of the game 75 yards from their own 20 to the San Francisco 5, but couldn't punch it in the end zone and settled for a Lawrence Tynes field goal to put New York up 3-0. On the subsequent drive after San Francisco responded with a field goal, Manning hit Manningham, Victor Cruz, Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe to get the Giants right back to the red zone. But for the second straight drive the Giants were stalled and Tynes had to kick another field goal.
Flash forward to the end and the Giants trailing by 14 points. Manning again drove the Giants down the field twice, once leading them to a score, and a second time bringing them back to the red zone. Manning found Victor Cruz for eight yards to set up a second and two, but Manning threw an incompletion, D.J. Ware was stuffed for no gain, and then the fourth down pass by Manning was knocked down by Niners defender Justin Smith. New York's red zone woes (one touchdown and only 13 points on four trips) ended up being the difference.
The crucial swing play was Manning's second interception thrown right into the hands of Carlos Rogers; San Francisco turned that into instant offense on a Kendall Hunter 17 yard rush. San Francisco took advantage of good field position to score their two lone touchdowns; despite being outgained and generally outplayed on offense, the Niners defense made the difference down the stretch.
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