SAN FRANCISCO: Lawrence Tynes booted the Giants into the Super Bowl again.
Tynes kicked a winning 31-yard field goal in sudden-death overtime and New York beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC championship game Sunday night to reach its second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Eli Manning and the Giants (12-7) will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. They beat the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl.
Tynes also kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime at Green Bay in the 2008 NFC title game that put the Giants in the Super Bowl.
Devin Thomas put the Giants in position. He recovered his second fumble of the game after Jacquian Williams stripped the ball from fill-in return man Kyle Williams.
It was the third NFC title game in five years to go to OT. The Giants beat Green Bay 23-20 four years ago on the way to the Super Bowl title.
Akers’ kick came after the 49ers were done in by a rare turnover. After tying an NFL record with just 10 giveaways in the regular season, the 49ers committed their only one in this game at a most inopportune time.
With San Francisco leading 14-10 early in the fourth quarter and about to take over possession, a bouncing punt by Steve Weatherford glanced off returner Kyle Williams’ right knee and was recovered by New York’s Devin Thomas at the San Francisco 29. The play was originally not ruled a fumble but was overturned by instant replay.
Six plays later, Eli Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham, who beat backup cornerback Tramaine Brock on the third-and-15 play. Brock was playing in place of starter Tarell Brown, who left late in the third quarter after a violent collision with teammate Dashon Goldson.
Williams helped atone for his miscue when he returned the kickoff 40 yards. Kendall Hunter’s 18-yard run and a 17-yard keeper by Alex Smith set up Akers’ kick.
Neither team threatened to score after that in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
Smith had thrown two touchdown passes to Vernon Davis, and Manning and Bear Pascoe connected on a score for the Giants. Manning threw for 265 yards, including 10 passes for 142 yards to Victor Cruz.
A 36-yarder to Cruz set up Pascoe’s touchdown, and Cruz had four catches for 56 yards on a field goal drive late in the first half.
Smith completed just one pass to a wide receiver in regulation — a 3-yarder to Michael Crabtree. But the two big plays to Davis did enough damage on a wet evening in San Francisco.
On the second play of San Francisco’s second drive, Davis beat safety Antrel Rolle and got loose down the sideline. He pulled down the pass from Smith and raced into the end zone. He then jumped up onto a camera stage and posed, drawing a penalty for excessive celebration — his first of two personal fouls on the day.
Davis appeared as if he might have stepped on the sideline, but after a review, referee Ed Hochuli said there was not indisputable evidence and ruled that the touchdown would stand. Davis added a 28-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Davis now has four touchdowns in his first two career playoff games, joining Jerry Rice as the only Niners with consecutive two-touchdown receiving games in the postseason.
Davis set a playoff record for tight ends with 180 yards receiving and the two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 9 seconds remaining, in a 36-32 victory over New Orleans last week.