At a team meeting the night before the NFC wild-card game, linebacker Carl Banks gave each of his Giants teammates a hat. On the hats was stenciled: "Strictly business."

Strictly business for the New York defense today was limiting the imaginative and skilled 49ers to a field goal.

The defending Super Bowl champions gained just 94 yards on the ground; New York's Joe Morris had 141 by himself. The 49ers' Joe Montana threw 20 incompletions and one interception and was sacked four times for 28 yards.

The 49ers' Roger Craig is among the NFL's most versatile backs, the only player in league history to gain more than 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in one season.

Craig had 23 yards on nine carries today; he caught two passes, for 18 yards, and dropped a half dozen.

"Magnificent," said Giants Coach Bill Parcells. "That's the first time in when -- two or three years? -- that they hadn't scored a touchdown in a game."

Slightly more than two seasons, coach. The last time the 49ers managed just three points was a 13-3 loss to the Bears near the end of the 1983 season.

"We never gave them the same (defensive) look twice," linebacker Gary Reasons said. "We'd have four down linemen on first down and then we'd have three.

"We'd switch our zone and man coverages a lot. We gave them as many looks as we could. We never gave them a pattern."

Of Craig, Reasons said: "We wanted to make sure we had good underneath (short-pass) coverage. We also wanted to make sure that when he had the ball we hit him hard, so he'd think about us next time."

Linebacker Lawrence Taylor had a reason for all those dropped passes: "Their receivers were looking for who was going to hit them."

Taylor once so terrified Montana that the quarterback dropped to his knees before being hit. If it was an untouched sack, as it appeared, it also was a wise choice on Montana's part.

Watching his colleague, Joe Theismann, on television, Montana knows the sort of accidents Taylor is capable of causing. Parcells knows the sort of mind scrambles Taylor creates simply by lurking nearby.

"Montana was getting rid of a lotta passes off his back foot," Parcells said. "That's about as physical as they get in this league."

The Giants had a scare before the first play from scrimmage, when starting left cornerback Elvis Patterson was injured on the opening kickoff and unable to play.

Reserve Ted Watts was an adequate replacement, until he also was hurt. But the 49ers failed to test Watts much, after a long pass in his area failed on the game's first play.

The Giants' fans tried to be as helpful as possible. One tried to emulate the Denver spoil-sport who distracted holder Matt Cavanaugh by throwing a snowball a few inches from where he would receive the snap on a 49ers field-goal try, which missed.

There being no snow here today, the Giants' fan whipped something covered in foil toward Cavanaugh as the 49ers tried a short field goal near the end of the first half.

The toss was well-aimed, but well short. Probably, Cavanaugh never knew anything foul was afoot, for the object landed at the feet of the Giants' Kenny Hill.

And what was this low-flying missile?

"A french roll," Hill revealed. Only a Yalie would be inquisitive enough to check.