First-half thoughts as Giants lead 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few quick thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers as they head to halftime trailing the New York Giants 10-7 in the NFC Championship Game:

  • The 49ers' pass rush is the key to the second half. San Francisco isn't getting enough pressure. Eli Manning has too much time to throw, particularly on third down. That is making it tougher for the 49ers to force turnovers.

  • Victor Cruz's eight-catch, 125-yard first half for the Giants jumps off the stat sheet. Cruz is winning his matchup with Carlos Rogers. The 49ers' ineffective pass rush is the key variable, however.

  • Frank Gore is running the ball well for the 49ers, but the team hasn't sustained drives well enough. Gore appears close to breaking a long run, in my view. But the 49ers will need to show more of a passing threat to create opportunities for Gore.

  • Alex Smith's 73-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis got the 49ers going early, but that was a rare highlight in the passing game. Smith missed one chance when he threw too long for Kyle Williams, who was running open deep in the Giants' secondary.

  • The rainy weather appears to be hurting the 49ers more than it is hurting the Giants. Manning is commanding the ball better than Smith is commanding it. Is the weather to blame for the 49ers' weak pass rush, though? I'm not so sure. The team didn't get enough consistent pressure in the Week 10 meeting between the teams, either.

That's it for now. Enjoy the second half.