Giants Win NFC Championship, Super Bowl Slot

Devin Thomas #15 of the New York Giants advances the ball after he recovered on a punt touched by Chris Culliver #29 of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park Sunday 20-17 in overtime. The team won the N.F.C Championship and will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Lawrence Tynes repeated his playoff overtime heroics, kicking the game winning 31-yard field goal in sudden death. In 2008, Tynes kicked the game-winning field goal, also in OT, against Green Bay to win the N.F.C. title game and send the Giants to the Super Bowl and an upset win over New England.

The Giants found themselves in field goal range after rookie Jacquian Williams caused San Francisco's Kyle Williams to fumble on a punt, and the Giants' Devin Thomas recovered the ball — his second recovery of the game.

The game was driven into overtime after David Akers kicked a 25-yard field goal for San Francisco with 5:39 left in regulation play, tying the game at 17-17.

The 49ers had led 14-10 earlier in the fourth quarter and were about to take possession of the ball when a bouncing punt by Steve Weatherford glanced off San Francisco returner Williams' right knee and was recovered by 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.

Giants Quarterback Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns and 316 yards, almost half of them to Victor Cruz, who caught 10 passes for 142 yards. Manning was sacked six times during the course of the game.

It's the second time in four years that the Giants won the N.F.C. Championship. The Giants won their final two regular-season games to clinch the N.F.C East, then knocked off Atlanta at home and won at top-seeded Green Bay last week to make it to the conference title game.

The New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20, winning the A.F.C. title and a berth to the final game of the season.

The Giants and the Patriots will face off at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on February 5.

There were tighter security measures in place for Giants fans that braved the rain, traffic and taunts to watch the game at Candlestick Park. Undercover police were dressed as Giants fans and on the lookout for nasty fans.

San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said some playing around by fans was natural at a sporting event, but "any threats, verbal or physical abuse - and they're out."

Several New Orleans Saints fans wrote letters after last week's game complaining of being so badly abused that they feared for their own safety. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee instructed the police to do whatever it took to make Giants fans feel safe.

David Lerner, 42, an investment banker from New York City, brought his 16-year-old son, Eric, to watch the match, where they proudly wore their blue and white Giants jerseys.

"I've had no issues whatever," Lerner said. "He's a big boy and can take it," he said, nodding toward his son.

They are, after all, New Yorkers.

With the Associated Press