Put away the ear muffs and mittens, 49ers fans. The road to the Super bowl won't go through Lambeau Field as most expected but rather Candlestick Park after the Giants knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers 37-20 Sunday.
That means that the No. 4 seed Giants will fly cross country to take on the No. 2 seed 49ers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. When the two teams met in Week 10, quarterback Eli Manning threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions and saw his last-second pass to the end zone knocked down at the line of scrimmage by defensive end Justin Smith. The 49ers won 27-20.
The Giants defense, meanwhile, stacked the line of scrimmage against Frank Gore, who had rushed for 100-plus yards in his five previous games. He finished with six carries for no yards, and backup Kendall Hunter replaced him in the second half. Alex Smith, meanwhile, had a good game, throwing for 242 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown to Vernon Davis.
The teams have met seven times in the playoffs with the 49ers holding a 4-3 advantage. The last meeting came in January 2003, a game in which the Giants raced out to a 24-point third-quarter lead only to see the 49ers storm back in the fourth quarter.
Down 39-38 at game's end, the Giants attempted a last-second, game-winning field goal, but Trey Junkin's snap fell short of the holder. A non- pass interference call on a desperation pass down field after the errant snap still causes grumbling in the New York area.
Season-ticket holders will get the first chance at tickets to Sunday's game. They will be able to purchase tickets starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. At 1 p.m., the remaining seats will go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster.
-- Matt Barrows