Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers: Live Score, Analysis for NFL Week 2
The Detroit Lions were never truly out of this one, but they were never really in it, either. The 49ers dominated pretty much the whole way, led by Vernon Davis' two touchdowns, and the Lions offense was limited to field goals almost every time they got some offensive rhythm going.
The 49ers move to 2-0 with wins over two 2011 playoff teams, while the Lions join the rest of the NFC North at 1-1.
Final Score: 49ers 27, Lions 19
Well, the Lions didn't go without a fight. After their best (and deepest) drive of the day resulted in 1st-and-goal from the nine-yard-line, the Lions finally punched got the ball into the end zone on 3rd-and-goal.
Matthew Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew connected for a nine-yard score, cutting the lead (once again) to eight points.
The Lions, on the ensuing onside kick, tried an unusual onside kick, kicking the ball over the coverage team, taking advantage of the fact that there was no deep man on the 49ers onside kick team.
But Kyle Williams got to the ball first and secured it, and since the Lions were out of timeouts, that sealed the victory for the 49ers, who improve to 2-0.
The Lions join the rest of the NFC North with a 1-1 record, and join the Green Bay Packers on the list of 49er victims.
It was a very similar performance to the game the 49ers played against the Packers last week, with a fast, strong defense suffocating a prolific offense until it's too late for a comeback.
If the Lions are going to make 2012 into a successful season, they need to learn to wake up in the first halves of games. This was a problem last year (which is why they set a record for comeback victories), and is a big reason why the Lions still can't beat good teams.
The 49ers... well, they need to just keep doing what they doing. If the Lions and Packers can't move the ball on that defense, who can?
Final Score: Lions 19, 49ers 27
The Lions needed a stop, and while they've come close, they've given up a pair of third-and-long situations, both on passes to Michael Crabtree.
Barring a turnover or a missed field goal, the 49ers are most likely going to be able to run this game out, much the same way as they did last season—by running the ball right at the Lions' defensive front and getting what they need.
I'm not going to call this one... which is what I would have said had Vernon Davis not just caught a 23-yard touchdown pass. Now it doesn't look good for the Lions.
This lead might be manageable if the Lions had been able to punch one or two of their field goal drives into the end zone. Instead, they're down 15 points with three minutes and nothing but a prayer remaining.
Another effective Lions drive, another stallout around the 30-yard line, another Jason Hanson field goal to cut the lead to eight points.
The 49er defense has been suffocating all day, but especially when the Lions get into scoring position. With under 10 minutes left, the Lions are likely at a point where they can no longer allow another 49er scoring drive if they want to stay in it.
Look for a steady diet of Frank Gore here as the 49ers try to milk as much time off the clock as possible.
The Lions and 49ers continue to trade field goals, as David Akers tacks on a 48-yarder to increase the lead once again.
In what has become a theme, the 49ers dominated on their way down the field, but three consecutive drops stalled the drive and brought out the field goal unit.
It's the fourth quarter now. If the Lions are going to pull this one out, they will need to start finding the end zone, and this drive is a good time to start.
Calvin Johnson has been faced with double-coverage all day, but it may be time to force it in to the league's best receiver anyway.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Lions' rushing attack is keeping them in the game right now.
Matthew Stafford continues to throw erratic passes, with his latest a wide receiver screen at Calvin Johnson's feet.
However, they were capable enough of moving the ball down the field in the arms of Kevin Smith and Joique Bell to get Jason Hanson another shot at a 40-yard field goal, which he hit this time.
Now the onus is back on the Lions' defense to keep this a one-possesion game. Time is running short for the Lions to find the end zone, as the two opening drives of the half have run the time down to under four minutes in the third quarter.
Current Score: Lions 9, 49ers 17
Detroit continues to play a very familiar brand of "bend-but-don't-break" football, looking tissue-soft until the 49ers break into Lions territory.
Consequently, David Akers booted a field goal through to extend the 49ers lead to 11, but it could have been much worse. The 49ers seem to be able to run the ball on the Lions at will, and using many of the same tactics they employed last season.
If the Lions' offense is going to wake from its first-half slumber, they will need to do it now, as an answer to the 49ers' scoring drive to open the second half. Matthew Stafford was 7-for-19 in the first half. That can't continue here, or this game will get out of hand quickly.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 17
At the half, this is pretty much a gritty, ugly game on both sides of the ball.
The 49ers seemed set to dominate early on, and the scoreboard certainly reflects that. But adjustments on defense and persistence on offense for the Lions have kept the game manageable.
Perhaps the most impressive thing for the 49ers has been the offensive line. They have kept Alex Smith mostly clean, and they have once again made a living off the wham play running the ball. The Lions' defensive line is certainly a highly-touted unit, but it's advantage 49ers on the battle in the trenches.
Oddly enough, the Lions' offensive line is performing relatively well against a unit that dominated them last year, as well. But despite reasonably good protection, Stafford has been erratic, and his receivers have dropped passes when he has been on target.
Considering how poorly the Lions have played to this point, they're lucky to still be in the game, but they are. Now they need to hope halftime adjustments and their reputation as a second-half team can carry them, because the game doesn't feel as close as the score suggests right now.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 14 (Halftime)
The Lions put together a nice, sustained drive, with a good run/pass balance, but once they broke into 49ers territory, the drive stalled again.
The Lions look sloppy right now, and that culminated in a Jason Hanson 40-yard field goal attempt that hit the upright and fell harmlessly to the turf. No score for the Lions after an 11-play drive.
The defense has tightened up a bit, though, which is keeping the game close. 49er ball near midfield at the two-minute warning.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 14 (1:59, 2Q)
Based on the last six quarters, I have to assume something is wrong with Matthew Stafford.
His offensive line is actually giving him a decent amount of time to throw the ball, but the ball is coming out of his hand funny. He's overthrowing the ball by miles, passes are coming out shaky, and he's already thrown his first interception.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are marching down the field once again, seemingly uncontested, and it continues to be all San Francisco in this one.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 14
After one quarter, the score is relatively close, but the flow of the game is all 49ers.
The 49ers were about to settle for a field goal in the red zone, but a running into the kicker penalty gave them a fresh set of downs, and a pass interference call in the end zone (when it appeared time had expired in the quarter before the snap) have the 49ers on the one-yard line with 1st-and-goal at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions are a second-half team, but they're not going to be able to come back and beat a team as good as the 49ers with only one good half of football.
And just as I go to publish, Frank Gore punches in the touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 14
The Lions strike back with two straight Jason Hanson field goals, but the San Francisco 49ers defense continues to dominate.
The Lions drove down the field on a highly penalty-assisted drive to get into field goal range, and the they forced (and recovered) a Kendall Hunter fumble on the ensuing kickoff to start another drive close to the red zone.
The Lions could not move the ball at all inside the 30, which is a problem they will need to rectify if they're going to make this a game. But first, they're going to need to get a stop on the 49ers, who take over on offense with 6:37 left in the first quarter.
Current Score: Lions 6, 49ers 7
If the first 155 seconds of this game are any indication, this game is going to get ugly before it ends.
It was a perfect start for the 49ers, who forced a quick three-and-out of the Lions before effortlessly marching down the field and tossing an easy 21-yard touchdown to Vernon Davis to open the scoring.
The Lions' secondary was practically non-existant on that drive, and Alex Smith took full advantage of it.
Advantage 49ers, early.
Current Score: Lions 0, 49ers 7
Odds and Pre-Game Analysis
According to CBS Sports, the final betting line on this game has the 49ers favored by seven, which shouldn't surprise anyone considering what these teams did last week (and that the 49ers are at home).
Oh, and for what it's worth, Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh already shook hands before the game. So if you were only watching to see some coach-based fireworks, you can probably pack it in.
Inactives for Detroit
Via CBSSports' RapidReports:
Inactives for San Francisco
Via Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com:
Inactive for 49ers: WR AJ Jenkins, WR Ted Ginn Jr, RB LaMichael James, RB Brandon Jacobs, G Joe Looney, TE Garrett Celek and NT Ian Williams— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 16, 2012
The Lions are definitely missing more from their injured players than the 49ers are. The 49ers would certainly like to have Lamichael James and Brandon Jacobs to bolster the rushing attack, but they're certainly comfortable with Frank Gore in the backfield.
The Lions, meanwhile, would like some of the starting players in their defensive backfield back. But they will still be missing Delmas, Houston and Bentley, leaving Drayton Florence and Jacob Lacey to keep Alex Smith and the 49ers' receivers in check.
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