East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) – Michael Crabtree scored San Francisco’s lone touchdown on a 48-yard reception and the 49ers intercepted Eli Manning five times in a 16-10 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Chris Borland had two picks, including one at the goal line in the fourth quarter to thwart a late Giants threat, as the 49ers (6-4) held on for their second straight win.
Manning completed just 22-of-45 passes for 280 yards with a touchdown, as the Giants (3-7) suffered their fifth consecutive loss. He had thrown just six interceptions all season entering the game.
“It was a spectacular performance by our defense today,” said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. “So many guys stepped up and played great, living in the moment, competing like the dickens and making tremendous athletic, football plays.”
The Giants found a new way to implode in the fourth quarter after last week’s meltdown in Seattle. New York blew a 17-14 halftime lead in the 38-17 loss against the Seahawks, who scored 21 points in the fourth quarter.
This Sunday, the Giants had opportunities against the Niners in the final 15 minutes, but two possessions inside San Francisco territory ended with Manning interceptions.
Chris Culliver picked off a hurried Manning at the 49ers’ 20 with 9:40 to play, but the Giants quickly got the ball back and a 37-yard highlight-reel catch by Odell Beckham set up a first down at the San Francisco 4-yard line with five minutes remaining.
New York tried three consecutive fade patterns, the last resulting in a dropped ball by Larry Donnell. Manning then stepped up in the pocket on fourth down and had a throw deflected at the goal line before landing in the hands of Borland with 4:43 to play.
San Francisco ran off more than three minutes before a booming 59-yard punt by Andy Lee pinned the Giants at their own 15 with 1:09 left. The Giants, though, were unable to pick up a first down as a 4-yard gain on a short pass was followed by three straight Manning incompletions.
Rueben Randle was Manning’s favorite target, other than those in the 49ers’ jerseys, catching seven passes for 112 yards. Beckham hauled in six for 93 yards.
“They played hard. It was a good week of preparation,” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. “The defense obviously had listened to enough and they played with good physical play. They made plays out there today and got a lot of stops. I thought special teams made a contribution as well. I thought the entire preparation was very good.”
After the Giants were gashed for 350 rushing yards last week against Seattle, the 49ers managed 148 on the ground Sunday. Frank Gore accounted for 95 on 19 carries, while Colin Kaepernick added 24 yards.
Kaepernick also completed 15-of-29 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown for the 49ers, who were coming off last week’s overtime victory in New Orleans and improved to 4-2 on the road this season.
The 49ers took the opening kickoff and drove deep into Giants territory before Gore fumbled it away. The Giants took advantage and needed just five plays to march 63 yards for a touchdown, as Donnell hauled in a 19-yard scoring pass.
San Francisco answered with field goals on its next three possessions. Phil Dawson connected from 31 yards away in the final minute of the first quarter and added a 37-yard kick after a Giants punt early the second.
Manning was picked off for the first time just four plays later and Borland’s 12-yard return set up Dawson for a 44-yard boot for a 9-7 lead.
The Giants followed with a drive inside the San Francisco 20, but Manning was intercepted by Michael Wilhoite and neither team managed another threat for the remainder of the first half.
San Francisco extended the lead on its first series of the third quarter with the touchdown from Crabtree, who caught a Kaepernick pass at the Giants’ 35 and outraced the New York secondary to the end zone.
The Giants followed with a 43-yard Josh Brown field goal to cut the deficit to 16-10. Brown then executed a surprise onside kick and the Giants recovered at their own 46, but Manning was intercepted three plays later by Eric Reid at the San Francisco 25.
San Francisco had a chance to convert the turnover into points, but a low snap on a field goal attempt forced a turnover on downs and the Giants also turned it over on downs soon after when Rashad Jennings was stopped short on fourth down at the San Francisco 43.
Jennings returned to the Giants’ lineup after missing four games with a knee injury and led New York with 59 yards on 18 carries … Giants offensive tackle Justin Pugh left the contest in the second quarter with a quadriceps injury … Borland added 12 tackles to his two picks … The Giants had won the last two meetings … New York hosts Dallas next Sunday … San Francisco hosts Washington next Sunday before the first of two meetings in three weeks with Seattle.