Halftime thoughts: Cruz Control

January, 22, 2012
1/22/12
8:16
PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- There are enough New York Giants fans in the crowd here at the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park that you can hear shouts of "Cruuuuuuuuuuuz" whenever the Giants' Victor Cruz makes a catch. They've had plenty of chances to make noise so far.

Cruz had eight catches for 125 yards in the first half as the Giants built a 10-7 lead over the San Francisco 49ers. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has done just about everything he's wanted to do, completing 16-of-27 passes for 181 yards as his offensive line has protected him well against the 49ers' fearsome front. And he's completed passes to seven different receivers. But Cruz, the breakout second-year star who finished the regular season third in receiving yards, has given San Francisco the most trouble.

The Niners took an early lead on a 73-yard touchdown pass by Alex Smith to Vernon Davis -- a play on which Davis got behind Giants safety Antrel Rolle and never looked back. But San Francisco had just 71 total yards on its other 21 first-half plays. So other than one big play, the Giants' defense has held up.

I would keep an eye on the 49ers' running game going forward, as the line was opening big holes and Frank Gore was moving the pile on their second-to-last drive. But the story of this game so far is a Giants offense that possessed the ball for a whopping 18:03 in the first half in spite of rushing for only 35 yards on 13 carries and has yet to turn the ball over. If those trends continue, the Giants are in a good position to cash in some of that offense for points in the second half.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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