Defense hurts 49ers
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The San Francisco 49ers found their missing offense. They just missed finding the win column again.
Tight end Larry Donnell’s spectacular catch over two 49ers with 21 seconds remaining lifted the Giants past San Francisco 30-27 on Sunday night, sending the Niners to their fourth straight loss.
“We’ve been through some ups and downs and some crazy stuff. We will stay together,” San Francisco coach Jim Tomsula said. “There’s a very good resolve in the locker room and a group of guys that are made of the right stuff. Let’s grab that, hold it tight, and keep going through it.”
The 49ers (1-4) took a 27-23 lead on Carlos Hyde’s 2-yard run by with 1:45 to play, capping a seven-play 80-yard march that quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited with passes of 25 yards to Torrey Smith and 26 yards to Anquan Boldin.
All the 49ers had to do was prevent Eli Manning from driving the Giants (3-2) down the field. It didn’t happen.
Manning had a career-best 41 completions in 54 attempts and his perfect throw to Donnell finished off an 82-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown. He passed for 441 yards and became the winningest quarterback in team history with 102.
“This win is special,” Manning said.
Donnell was between Antoine Bethea and NaVorro Bowman, two of the 49ers’ best defenders, when he leaped to snag the pass in the back of the end zone before falling on his back, the winning catch secured.
“That’s a tough way to lose,” Hyde said. “Battling back and being able to take the lead and then they come up with the late score to win is tough, but there were a lot of good things we did out there.”
New York (3-2) has won three straight and leads the NFC East.
Kaepernick was 23 of 35 for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s good offensively to get in a rhythm like that,” he said. “It’s something that we can build off moving forward, but we have to win games. That’s why we play.”