Cruz has last laugh in duel with Rogers
Perhaps Carlos Rogers shouldn't have mocked Victor Cruz when they met Nov. 13.
The Giants wide receiver finished Sunday with a game-high 142 yards most of them with Rogers in coverage and the combination of quarterback Eli Manning and Cruz propelled New York to a 10-7 lead at the half.
Rogers intercepted Manning twice in Week 10, including on a pass intended for Cruz. Rogers parodied Cruz's "salsa dance" end-zone celebration after the interception. But the veteran cornerback was not quick enough to keep up with Cruz on Sunday.
After halftime, however, the 49ers adjusted by rolling a safety usually Dashon Goldson over the top of Cruz. After gaining 125 yards in the first half, Cruz had just 17 thereafter.
"They believed in their front four and that those guys could stop the run," Cruz said. "I knew that the key to this game was going to be getting open by any means necessary, no matter who was guarding me."
The change in tactics by the 49ers seemed to stymie Manning, and the 49ers pass rush began to take its toll. Manning was sacked twice in the first half and four times in the second.
Defensive end Ray McDonald, who was slowed by a hamstring injury last week against the Saints, led the way with 2 1/2 sacks.
After missing two games because of a broken jaw, 49ers tight end Delanie Walker was on the field most of the game.
He caught two passes for 36 yards, including one grab for 29 yards.
"(The Giants) were really trying to grab us off the ball," Walker said, "making sure they held us up and played two-man (coverage) basically. We started off the game with some run plays, and I told (the coaches) I was capable of handling it all."
The 49ers, who had a near-disastrous trick play last Saturday against New Orleans, barely averted another big error on a trick play Sunday.
On the first-half play, running back Kendall Hunter took the handoff, headed to his left and flipped the ball to Kyle Williams, who was headed in the opposite direction.
Williams, however, couldn't hang on and the ball trickled away with the Giants in pursuit. Williams recovered the loose ball, but the 49ers lost 10 yards on the play.
Against the Saints, the 49ers tried a halfback option pass from Frank Gore to Alex Smith that also resulted in a fumble that was recovered by the 49ers.
Left guard Mike Iupati left the game on the 49ers' opening drive when 323-pound Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph tackled Hunter and they both fell on the back of Iupati's right ankle. Iupati returned in the second half and played for the duration.
Two of the 49ers' top three cornerbacks were injured in the second half. Tarell Brown was knocked out of the game by an apparent concussion when he collided with Dashon Goldson on an interception attempt. Rookie Chris Culliver injured his leg on the final punt return in overtime that Kyle Williams fumbled away.