Remember what happened the last time the 49ers played at Candlestick Park? You know ... 20-17 overtime loss, New York Giants, Kyle Williams' botched punt returns, Ahmad Bradshaw's non-fumble, rain, traffic and, oh yeah, Victor Cruz.
Cruz caught 10 passes for 142 yards for the Giants, striking most often from the slot and victimizing Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers. Cruz and Eli Manning connected for seven completions and 113 yards in the second quarter alone.
Cruz sure remembers that dominance, and he brought it back to life in his recently released book "Out of the Blue," which he wrote with Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com.
"Rogers was gasping for air and so was I. We'd been going at it all afternoon, but the past few plays were essentially an Eli Manning and Victor Cruz versus Carlos Rogers bullying session. It was like we were picking on the guy.
"It's what I wanted. It's what I'd been pining for since he outplayed me on Nov. 13."
Indeed, Rogers did get picked on in that NFC final, and he did outplay Cruz in the 49ers' 27-20 win on Nov. 13, when Rogers had two interceptions against Cruz's six catches for 84 yards.
Cruz led the Giants' receiving corps last season with 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. Mario Manningham ranked third on the Giants with 39 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns; Manningham had a touchdown catch in each game against the 49ers, his
So what else did Cruz have to say about the 49ers in his book? Let's see:
On the Giants' regular-season visit to the 49ers: "The 49ers defense was unlike any unit we'd seen before. Justin Smith, their All-Pro defensive end, was nearly impossible to stop with just one offensive lineman, and coach Gilbride built our entire offensive game plan around his presence. Their linebackers -- Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks -- were among the league's best, and their defensive backfield was filled with incredibly talented players at all four spots."
On Candlestick Park: "The 49ers play in a rustic, beat-up stadium called Candlestick Park. The place is filled with istory and just smells of tradition. The locker rooms are anything but luxurious, and the field's conditions are among the worst in the league. In one of the end zones, the sun shines in your eyes, making it incredibly difficult to see the ball."
On Rogers' impression of Cruz's salsa dance after an interception Nov. 13: "Then with his teammates cheering him on, he did a sarcastic salsa dance over me. The Candlestick Park crowd went ballistic, but I wasn't laughing. It was a sign of disrespect. Instead of getting up and retaliating, though, I sat and watched Rogers finish his cheap Victor Cruz imitation. I promised to never forget it. I wasn't sure when the opportunity would present itself but I was confident I'd get payback for that dance."
On the 49ers' NFC Championship game fourth quarter: "Over the course of f the next few drives, I was dinged pretty hard by Patrick Willis, clocked by Donte Whitner and brought down by Carlos Rogers. Though I'd had my way with Rogers in the first half, the 49ers' coaching staff started to shade Whitner over toward me throughout the third and fourth quarters. I was doing everything I could to get open but I was taking a beating.
"It was the toughest, most physical game I'd ever been a part of, and after eight more minutes of our two teams exchanging punts -- it was headed for overtime."
The 49ers return to Candlestick Park on Friday night for their exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings. On Oct. 14, the Giants and Cruz will return to the "rustic, beat-up stadium" for a rematch of the NFC Championship game.