While the 49ers dropped an overtime heartbreaker to the Giants last January in the NFC Championship Game, the rematch was a downer of a different kind, as the defending champion Giants wrested control midway through the second quarter and never looked back, scoring 26 unanswered points in their 26-3 rout.
The Niners came into the game talking big and bent on revenge, but all their domination of the opening 15 minutes earned them was a fleeting 3-0 lead, thanks to stalls inside New York's 30-yard-line and a missed David Akers field goal.
Once Eli Manning discovered he'd have considerably more time to operate in the pocket than last season's playoff game, in which he was hounded for six sacks and hit more often than a pinata, he connected with a trio of talented wideouts to engineer a touchdown drive and a field goal, going into the half with a 10-3 lead.
The Giants tacked on another score, by RB Ahmad Bradshaw, capitalizing on David Wilson's 66-yard kickoff return to open the second half, and three more Lawrence Tynes field goals, the first couple after interceptions by S Antrel Rolle.
Niners QB Alex Smith had an awful game with three picks, the play-calling was sloppy and unfocused, and no one on either side of the ball did much to pick up the slack.
It was an eye-opener for a team that had won their past two games by an aggregate score of 79-3. The Giants won the Lombardi Trophy last year, and they're not going anywhere.