Detroit Lions 13
San Francisco 49ers 31
The 49ers are off to a 2-1 start for the second consecutive year as they mauled the Lions 31-13. J.T. O’Sullivan and the passing looked solid again for the second straight week. O’Sullivan went 16-for-23, 189 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions…or fumbles! In fact the 49ers had no turnovers in the game and the o-line held up strong allowing only one sack all game. O’Sullivan did his best impression of legend QB Steve Young by rushing for two crucial first downs. Forget about sliding to avoid the coming defender, O’Sullivan dived for the two first downs showing he should be respected when the passing options breakdown. The 49ers handled the Lions the same way the elite teams of the NFL are suppose to. I am not calling the 49ers an elite team but to become one they have to score lots of points against the lesser teams in the NFL and not allow them to stay in the game. The 49ers sent a huge message to the Lions and the rest of the NFL to not overlook them as Mike Nolan decided against kicking for a field goal at the Lions one-yard line with a 21-6 lead. It was the fourth quarter but the 49ers last score came in the second quarter when TE Delanie Walker scored on a 24-yard pass. Normally Nolan would have gone for the field goal extending their lead a little more. But Nolan wanted to end the game in the early minutes of the fourth quarter and sent his offense back on the field. Mike Martz pulled a trick play out of his sleeves calling for a reverse with return man Allen Rossum. Rossum made a beautiful move to avoid a tackle in the backfield and ran for the corner of the end zone just making it inside the pylon for a touchdown and a 28-6 lead. Nolan might have been sending a message to everyone that he will not be as conservative with his decisions as in the past and he fully trusts Martz and his system. How could you not? Martz is making a strong case that the 49ers have more than just a rushing game and nothing will be held back this season. Frank Gore, again, was a beast against the Lions rushing for 130 yards with one touchdown and catching four passes for 32 yards.
The 49ers D was strong which was a little unexpected. I gave the Lions too much credit in my preview for the game thinking they would have a breakout game on offense. That was not the case as the 49ers sacked Jon Kitna four times and had two interceptions. The D held in check Kitna and receivers Roy Williams (2 receptions, 18 receiving. yards) and Calvin Johnson (4 receptions, 40 receiving yards). While the Lions were able to establish a running game with 116 yards, they found themselves down by two touchdowns early in the second quarter which meant the 49ers played off of the run and dared the Lions to beat them with their passing game. The 49ers D will need to put more pressure in the coming games as they face-off against some of the best QB’s in the NFL.
Other than a 3-0 start, this all 49er fans could have hoped for after the first three weeks of the season. The team has established it has a passing game, it has a quarterback who can make plays and the D seems to be getting better with each week. The 49ers looked strong against a very weak and disorganized team, but just because the Lions are one of worst teams in the NFL should not diminish a big win by the 49ers. However what could diminish the 49ers 2-1 start and make them start doubting themselves is the schedule for the next four weeks; @Saints, Patriots, Eagles, and @ Giants. The 49ers of course need to win at least half of the games to be considered a good team in the NFL and to stay in contention in the NFC West. Even if they only do get one or maybe even zero wins, they need to not get blown out in any of the games and will have to make big plays. No one is impressed with wins against the Seahawks and Lions, but wins against any of those teams will say a lot about the 49ers. Let’s not also forget the 49ers started out 2-1 last season and, well, you know how that ended.
Bill Walsh Field!
So I was watching the game yesterday and not only did they mention Bill Walsh Field (see previous post) but the Joke Family had an official dedication ceremony during halftime for it. Grant it the field was renamed before the start of last season when Bill Walsh passed away but good job Joke Family for finally having a ceremony and actually having a sign in the stadium that says Bill Walsh Field! Maybe the 49er Faithful can look over the fact that it was about a year overdue.
Next Up: @ New Orleans Saints
It starts…the toughest part of the schedule for the 49ers. Time to put-up or shut-up. We will see what this team is made of.