It was an extremely disappointing showcase by Alex Smith and 49ers on Sunday afternoon as they fell 26-3 in an NFC Championship rematch against the New York Giants.
Alex Smith had perhaps one of his worst games in recent memory, throwing three interceptions with a dismal 43.1 quarterback rating. The entire 49er team simply looked out-of-sync and unprepared for whatever the Giants had in store for them.
The first quarter was fairly positive for the Niners, as their defense shut down Eli Manning and the Giants and they were able to put three points on the board thanks to a David Akers’ 42-yard field goal.
But once the second quarter got under way, things changed for the worse. Smith’s very first pass was a long ball intended for Delanie Walker, which was picked off by Prince Amukamara at his own 33 yard line. Manning then drove the Giants down the field and delivered a six-yard touchdown strike to Victor Cruz to put New York up 7-3.
San Francisco was stymied on its next three drives, with two punts and a missed field goal. The Giants added a field goal to go into halftime up 10-3.
Whatever Jim Harbaugh said the in the locker room at halftime obviously had no effect on the Niners, whose second half performance was just downright awful.
Right out of the gate, Ahmad Bradshaw returned Akers’ second half kick-off 63 yards, all the way to the 25-yard line of San Francisco. The Giants then had first and goal at the five yard line, and Bradshaw rushed it three consecutive times to finally pound it in on the third attempt.
It got worse for the Niners, as Smith coughed up his second interception of the afternoon on the ensuing drive. On a third and six play from his 28 yard line, Smith’s pass intended for ex-Giant Mario Manningham was tipped and grabbed by Antrel Rolle, who took it twenty yards to the twelve yard line and set up a field goal for the Giants.
But Rolle wasn’t done yet, as Alex Smith wasn’t quite done throwing interceptions either. Rolle picked off Smith’s pass intended for Michael Crabtree on the next series for Smith’s third interception of the game. We rarely see Smith get picked off once in a game, let alone three times.
The fourth quarter was uneventful, as the Niners just wanted to get off the field, embarrassed by their performance. David Tynes added a field goal for his personal stat sheet to make the final score 26-3 New York. Jim Harbaugh inserted Colin Kaepernick for Smith in the final series, but he was sacked on a fourth down play at the Giants’ 32-yard line to put the cherry on top of an extremely frustrating afternoon at Candlestick Park.
The 49ers won’t have much time to think about this loss, as they have to prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.