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Niners, Giants about to add to rich postseason rivalry

  • In a playoff game in January 2003, QB Jeff Garcia led the 49ers to a 39-38 win over the Giants after trailing 38-14 in the third quarter. (BEN MARGOT / Associated Press, 2003)

If Sunday’s game is anything like the last time the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers squared off in the postseason, hold on to your chin straps. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Sunday marks the seventh time the Giants and 49ers have met in the playoffs. The previous six games have included classic thrillers, nail-biting defensive squeakers and a couple of kick-butt routs. They’ve spanned 27 seasons and included several future Hall of Famers and big-name coaches.

Before we look forward to the Niners and Giants resuming their rich and contentious postseason history today, here’s a brief look back.

Dec. 29, 1984 at Candlestick Park, 49ers 21, Giants 10.

Bill Parcells’ Giants could pick off Joe Montana three times, but they couldn’t stop him. Montana threw first-quarter touchdown passes to Dwight Clark and Russ Francis, then sealed the win with a fourth-quarter TD pass to Freddie Solomon. Strange but true: Montana also was the game’s leading rusher with 63 yards on three carries. Riki Ellison and Ronnie Lott had interceptions, Fred Dean had two of the team’s six sacks and Dwaine Board recovered a fumble. Bill Walsh’s team went on to defeat the Miami Dolphins and win its second Super Bowl.

Dec. 29, 1985 at the Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J., Giants 17, 49ers 3.

Phil Simms’ statistics were unimpressive (15 of 31, 181 yards, one interception), but he did throw two TD passes against the 49ers. And Joe Morris rushed for 141 yards on 28 carries. Montana threw for nearly 300 yards, 120 to Clark, but the Lawrence Taylor-led defense kept the Niners out of the end zone. The Giants went on to the next round of the playoffs, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears.

Jan. 4, 1987, at the Meadowlands. Giants 49, 49ers 3.

Probably the most embarrassing loss in the Walsh era. Jerry Rice dropped a sure touchdown early in the game (he caught a pass from Montana and was running with an apparently clear path to the end zone when, untouched, he simply lost control of the ball) and the 49ers were never again a factor. Before getting knocked out of the game, Montana was intercepted twice. Backup Jeff Kemp struggled to complete 7 of 22 passes for 64 yards. Roger Craig was SF’s leading rusher with 17 yards on five carries. The Giants went on to defeat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

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