SAN FRANCISCO – Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers and Kyle Williams acknowledge what some of their other San Francisco teammates might not: Todays rematch with the New York Giants absolutely means a little more to the 49ers.
The Giants ended San Franciscos season in frustrating fashion nearly 10 months ago – with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
Many 49ers players stewed for months about that near-miss in the NFC title game, a sting that only became worse when Eli Manning and the Giants went on to win another championship.
As much as the NFC West champion Niners (4-1) are attempting to downplay the Giants return to Candlestick Park for a hyped-up October showdown, Rogers knows theres still plenty of fuel all these months later.
The 49ers lost 20-17 in overtime and still feel they gave it away.
Williams became Bay Area enemy No. 1 after fumbling not once but twice in crunch time.
You say that its just another game, but this is the team that knocked us out from going to the show, Rogers said. Theres just going to be a little more from each player to try to win this game against those guys. Theyre the champions. No matter what, if they didnt knock us out in that game, theyre the defending champions. We want to perform against those guys just because of that.
Fill-in Williams, playing in place of the injured Ted Ginn Jr., fumbled a punt in overtime that set up Lawrence Tynes winning field goal. He also fumbled with 11:06 left in regulation.
Williams awful day ignited a barrage of hateful, hurtful, even threatening comments directed at him via Twitter.
Afterward, New Yorks Jacquian Williams and Thomas indicated they were trying to hit Kyle Williams given his history of concussions, including one suffered Dec. 24 at Seattle that kept him out of the 49ers regular-season finale at St. Louis. The NFL later found that the Giants had not broken any rules.
Much has changed since Jan. 22, however.
Now, Manningham and Brandon Jacobs are playing with the 49ers, though Jacobs (knee) has yet to see the field.
Manningham said when he speaks to his Giants pals: We joke around about the game, about what were going to do to them and what theyre going to do to us. Thats friendly competition. But believe me, theyre going to be ready to play. I know what type of game these guys play on Sundays.