Cruz does the salsa; Rogers doesn't

SAN FRANCISCO -- While people were enamored with the Kevin Gilbride-Jim Harbaugh verbal jousts, the better story got obscured.

Niners cornerback Carlos Rogers sent a message to Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz during the week, saying that Rogers would stop his admittedly bad imitation of Cruz's salsa dance.

Rogers reprised the salsa last year in the 49ers' regular-season win after picking off an Eli Manning pass. Cruz took offense, saying that his salsa dance was sacred because it was a tribute to his grandmother, who taught Cruz the dance.

"I obviously won't be OK with that," Cruz said of Rogers continuing the dance. "But it is what it is -- I'm not going to try to retaliate or go crazy. That's not me. But obviously it won't sit well with me as I've stated before."

Cruz's grandmother, Linda Molina, died last month at age 77.

When Rogers learned about the tribute, he sent a message to Cruz saying he didn't mean to disrespect his family. He also said he would no longer salsa on the field.

"We talked about it that a little bit," Cruz said. "He's a standup guy and he came up to me, he understood why. He asked me if I got the message earlier in the week and I said yeah."

On the field, both had their chances to make big plays. Cruz caught the game's first touchdown pass in the second quarter to hand the Giants a lead they would never relinquish. The pass was against zone coverage and Rogers was not covering Cruz on the play.

Rogers had an opportunity to make his mark in the third quarter. Facing a second-and-10 from the 49ers' 12, Manning threw a pass behind Cruz and right into the hands of Rogers -- who dropped it. If he hadn't, he probably would have scored, which could have changed the game dramatically.

Instead it was just another in a long list of miscues by the 49ers and another stanza in the rivalry.

Cruz torched Rogers for eight catches and 125 yards in a 12-minute stretch of last season's NFC title game. Rogers made corrections in the second half, limiting Cruz to two catches for 17 yards.

In this game, Cruz caught six passes in the 13 thrown his way for 58 yards and the score.

"It's always good to have a competitive game against a real good player," Cruz said.