49ers’ D leads 16-10 win over Giants with 5 INTs
EAST RUTHERFORD (AP) -- Chalk one up for the San Francisco 49ers' defense.
Rookie linebacker Chris Borland intercepted a fourth-down pass by Eli Manning at the 49ers 2 with 4:43 to play capping a goal-line stand in San Francisco's 16-10 victory Sunday that sent the error-plagued New York Giants to their fifth straight loss.
Borland had two of San Francisco's five interceptions as the 49ers (6-4) survived a game in which a big advantage in time of possession and takeaways did not translate into a blowout on the scoreboard.
Colin Kaepernick threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and Phil Dawson kicked three first-half field goals as the 49ers won their second straight on the road.
The game also marked the return of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, who was active for the first time after missing the first nine games because of a suspension.
Manning threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Larry Donnell on New York's opening possession, but the reeling Giants (3-7) only got a field goal from Josh Brown the rest of the way.
The game was decided in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when Manning drove the Giants from their 35 to the San Francisco 4, where they had a first-and-goal following a spectacular 37-yard leaping catch by rookie Odell Beckham Jr. over Perrish Cox.
Three fade patterns to Beckham, Rueben Randle and Donnell fell incomplete. Manning tried to force a pass to Preston Parker on fourth down, but Dontae Johnson tipped the ball and Borland came up with his second pick.
New York had a chance to take the lead earlier in the quarter, driving to the San Francisco 32. On a second-and-5, Manning and his receiver seemed a little out of synch and Chris Culliver intercepted the pass near the 10.
The 49ers had the ball for more than 35 minutes and forced five turnovers, but they could not put the Giants away. Their defense was the difference with Michael Wilhoite and Eric Reid also picking off passes on a day that the bad Eli Manning re-appeared for the Giants.
The 49ers had the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half, and only led 9-7 on three field goals by Dawson on three consecutive possessions.
The Giants' opening drive kept them in the game. After recovering a fumble by Frank Gore (19 rushes for 95 yards) at the Giants 37, Manning capped a five-play drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Donnell. It marked the first time in 20 games that New York scored a touchdown on its opening drive.
Dawson closed the gap to 7-3 with his 31-yard field goal on the Niners' next possession, and the gap became a point when he hit from 37 yards on the next San Francisco drive. His 44-yarder was set up by an interception by Borland at the Giants 41.
San Francisco stretched the lead to 16-7 early in the third quarter when Kaepernick (15 of 29 for 193 yards) found Crabtree across the middle and the receiver outran five defenders for a 48-yard catch-and-run.
Brown narrowed the gap to 16-10 with a 43-yard field goal midway through the third quarter and New York seemingly got a boost when it recovered the ensuing onside kick. However, the offense faltered and New York did not make the plays down the stretch.
Manning finished 22 of 45 for 280 yards, with Randle catching seven for 112 yards. Beckham had six catches for 93 yards.
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