Analysis: When the kick went up and he saw it go through the uprights, all he could do was take off his headset and stare at the mud and grass below his feet for a brief moment before making his way to midfield to meet the coach who would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl for the second time in five years.
Jim Harbaugh knew he was beat that day by a quarterback that never seemed to waiver or worry when he was sacked six times and knocked down twelve. He went as far as to call Eli Manning a "Magician" this past week, and someone who is a "football player". Harbaugh is usually exuding confidence in his own teams performance, but the ex-play caller himself knows Manning will be at his best Sunday afternoon when he trots out his Niners defense that will try and slow him down.
Tom Coughlin called the Giants an underdog that no one would pick. Carlos Rogers vowed to have some salsa with his chips on Sunday, only to put the lid back on the jar before he even opened it (a wise decision for someone who was torched by Cruz last year in the NFC Championship).
The Giants (3-2) and 49ers (4-1) are both tied atop their divisions and both remember the most physical game in recent playoff history that took place between the two sides in January with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Many will talk up this game as a battle between the Giants 2nd ranked offense against the Niners top ranked defense. But who can ignore what the Niners have done on the ground in recent weeks and who in their right mind can ignore the pressure the Giants can bring with their front seven?
Prediction: This is as big a pick em game as the NFL has seen, and may see this year with both teams having too much pride and heart to go down, maybe more than once, without a fight. Both coaches will use this game to measure where their teams are just six weeks into the season. Manning will have Nicks back for the first time in three weeks, add him alongside Cruz, Barden and Randle and the Niners will have their hands and helmets full. The Niners should find success on the ground and at times through the air against a beleagured Giants secondary. Last year, something had to give; it will again on Sunday.
Giants 24 49ers 20