The New York Giants will meet the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs for the eighth time on Sunday afternoon, and the series has produced some memorable playoff moments. The 1990 NFC Championship Game alone is worth its own post, but to get you fired up for this weekend’s game, let’s take a saunter into the past, and open old hidden wounds for a young Tim Ryan.
The teams first met in 1981. This one was a comfortable San Francisco victory over a young Giants team on the way to the 49ers first Super Bowl. Three years later, San Francisco again beat the Giants in the Divisional Round on the way to a Super Bowl victory.
A year later, the Giants and Bill Parcells earned their first playoff home game, in the Wild Card round against San Francisco. Here is Pat Summerall giving us chills with the intro to that Wild Card matchup.
The Giants went on to defeat San Francisco 17-3, shutting them down like no team had in over two years, and ending the defending champs’ season. A year later, it was the Giants who were the top dog in the NFC, and San Francisco came to New York in the Divisional Round. They left embarrassed after the Giants demolished the 49ers, highlighted by Jim Burt’s hit on Montana leading to a Lawrence Taylor interception for touchdown.
The next time they met was after the 1990 season, in one of the NFL’s classic games. The fourth quarter alone gives us so many key moments. First, with San Francisco leading 13-9 in the fourth quarter, Leonard Marshall hammered Joe Montana from behind on a third down play, knocking Montana out of the game, and eventually out of San Francisco, as he never started another game for the red and gold.
Then, still trailing by four near mid-field, Bill Parcells reached into his elastic waisted pants and pulled out this Gary Reasons’ fake punt, that got the Giants down for a field goal that made it a 1-point game.
The Giants still trailed, though, and San Francisco moved the ball past midfield with Steve Young now in the game. Less than 3 minutes remained, and one more first down would have ended the game. On first down, Roger Craig fumbled, and the Giants had their chance, going down for the last second Matt Bahr field goal to advance to the Super Bowl.
Sadly, the 49ers fans have not preserved for us the 1993 game, a 44-3 drubbing by San Francisco, when Ricky Watters rushed for 5 touchdowns.
The final game, until Sunday, was another classic after the 2002 season. The Giants jumped to a 38-14 lead in the third quarter, but Jeff Garcia led a big comeback with 25 straight points for San Francisco, including 17 in the fourth quarter. Still, the 2-point attempt to extend it to a 3 point game failed.
The Giants moved down the field with a chance for a game winning field goal. Trey Junkin had come out of retirement to serve as the long snapper, and became part of the series history. Bad snap, a mad scramble, and a no call on the pass interference down the field amid all the chaos, and the 49ers survived.