EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants' defense flung Trent Dilfer to the turf so many times Sunday that at one point 49ers coach Mike Nolan considered pulling the veteran, in his 14th year, in favor of a younger arm.
But it was Shaun Hill -- not Alex Smith -- that Nolan was ready to insert.
Although he got approval from the team's doctor to suit up Sunday, Smith said being medically cleared to play was not the same as being ready for an NFL game.
"It's a lot different thing when you drop back in a pocket and the things you have to ask your shoulder to do," said Smith, who suffered a separated shoulder three weeks ago. "If I was healthy, I definitely would have been pushing it to be playing. It didn't feel like it was ready, just my entire arm, just to be able to do all the necessary things within a game, do all the different angles, be able to make all the throws. I didn't feel that was there."
Smith said he would throw again today, and was hoping to be the clear-cut starter when the 49ers begin preparing for the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
Dilfer threw two touchdown passes, but also threw two interceptions in San Francisco territory. Dilfer has thrown five interceptions in three games.
CATCHING ON -- Tight end Vernon Davis had four catches for 22 yards in his first game back from a knee injury while receiver Ashley Lelie had two catches for 52 yards in his first significant action.
Lelie, perhaps the 49ers' best deep threat, was in on only five plays in the first half. He played most of the second half, however, and his first catch of the season came on a 47-yard bomb from Dilfer early in the third quarter.
RUNDOWN -- The 49ers had a new combination at outside linebacker Sunday -- rookie Parys Harlason and six-year player Brandon Moore, both of whom made their first starts of the season.
While the 49ers' defense held Eli Manning to 146 passing yards, it had trouble containing running back Brandon Jacobs, who rumbled for 107 yards, many of them on runs to the outside.