This will be the eighth post-season meeting since 1981 between San Francisco and NY and they have had some epic battles in the playoffs on both coasts. Here are some of the memories of the previous seven games.
1981 Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick: Montana had a great game throwing for 304 yards and 2 scores. SF was in control the entire game, never trailing and the Giants turned it over 4 times. Final was SF 38 NYG 24. The Niners would beat Dallas the next week with The Catch and start the legacy beating Cincy in the Superbowl.
1984 Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick: This was probably their best team of the 80’s. They finished the year 18-1 and pummeled the Dolphins 38-16, but this game wasn’t as easy. There were six turnovers in this game including three Montana picks, but he would hit both Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon for scores and win 21-10, but the Giants would get their revenge soon enough.
1985 Wilcard at Giants Stadium: Frigid and windy. This was Jerry Rice’s rookie year, but he was a non-factor. Montana had trouble all day. He threw it 47 times, picked off once and SF couldn’t run it at all. They were outscored 17-3.
1986 Divisional Playoffs in New York: Weather sucked again. Wind chill was in the teens. Jim Burt pummeled Montana and knocked him out. Montana threw 2 picks and the Niners had 9 first downs. Phil Simms threw four TDs. Ass beating. NYG 49-3. I was salty but not devastated. I was devastated four years later.
1990 NFC Championship at The Stick: The game was actually in 1991. SF had just given the Skins the beat down the week before. Both SF and NY were dominant all year. SF was 14-2, NY was 13-3. Yards were hard to come by. SF ran for 39 yards and had nine penalties. There were 7 field goals in the game, but SF had the lead 13-12 with 5 minutes to play. Montana got knocked out by Leonard Marshall and was replaced by Steve Young and with the lead, burning the clock Roger Craig fumbled as SF was driving. Jeff Hostetler marched the troops and Matt Bahr kicked the game winner. NYG 15 SF 13. DEVESTATING!
1993 Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick: Beatdown city!! Simms was awful, Ricky Watters ran for 5 TDs and the final was 44-3. It helped erase a horrible memory from the 1990 loss, but SF would get killed the next week in Dallas.
2002 Wildcard at Candlestick: It would be 8 years until they played each other in the playoffs again, but it was probably the best game of all seven. Both teams were totally different than the epic battles they had in the 80’s and 90’s. The QBs were Jeff Garcia and Kerry Collins. The defenses weren’t very good, but the Giants lead 38-14 late 3rd quarter. Garcia would mount a historic comeback with touchdown passes to T.O. and Tai Streets and he would rush for another to take a 39-38 lead. The Giants lined up for a game winning kick, but Trey Junkin botched the snap and Matt Bryant couldn’t get the kick off. SF 39 NYG 38.
And now it’s Alex Smith and Eli Manning! I have to tell you, I have a bad feeling on this one.