After the 49ers' surprise onside kick, Spencer Paysinger's day continued to get more interesting.
The rookie linebacker, just inside Ramses Barden on the sideline, was the closest to the left foot of David Akers that delivered the perfect strike, catching the Giants off-guard with five minutes to go in the first half. Recovered by San Francisco's Delanie Walker, it was Akers's eighth successful onside kick recovered of his career in 20 tries.
"His approach to the ball is different from any other onside kick," Paysinger said of Akers, who did the same thing to the Giants at home last season when he was with the Eagles. "We know that he doesn't give it away when he does an onside kick. So everything looks like it's going to be a deep kick, all the way up until the ball is kicked. Right then and there, just all we did was pause and obviously we were too late to get back to the ball."
The play eventually led to another one of Akers' four field goals on the day, giving the 49ers a 9-6 advantage. Then before the intermission, Paysinger, still reeling in what had just happened, saw Michael Boley go down with an injury. After a few words of encouragement from the sideline, Paysinger's number was called.
"I just strapped up and went out there," Paysinger said. "The first couple of plays were kind of fast for me, but then I ended up settling down."
Paysinger played the rest of the game in place of Boley, who would not return. The undrafted rookie out of Oregon went on to make two tackles, including pushing Alex Smith out of bounds on third down late in the third quarter.
"We're fighters even though we gave this game up," Paysinger said. "We flew six hours and lost – that's never a good feeling. We want to get back, come back Monday, watch film, and see what we can do better and get ready for Philadelphia."
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