San Francisco held on to beat the Lions 27-19 and improve to 2-0. The 49ers have played two great teams to open the season (both made the playoffs last year), but they have beaten each team.
Alex Smith has been making good throws, and in the process of shedding the title of “game manager,” he has made some key throws into some tight spaces. Because of that, he has 437 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 70.2 this year.
Smith threw two touchdowns and Frank Gore ran for another, powering the Niners to a huge win. The victory keeps San Francisco atop the NFC West after two weeks. Arizona is also 2-0, while the Rams and Seahawks are both 1-1.
So, to stay on top of the division, the Niners will have to keep winning. So far, they’ve done exactly that against two quality opponents, and the road will get significantly easier from here. San Francisco plays the Vikings and the Jets next, two teams that will get terrorized by Davis and the Niners.
Davis has continued to get open. He got open on a play-action pass late in the fourth quarter, and Smith did a nice job faking a run and freezing Ndamukong Suh. Smith lobbed a pass to Davis, who caught the pass, ran down the sideline, cut back inside and scored. It was the second TD of the game for this tandem; on the Niners' opening drive, Davis got behind the defense on a sideline pass, and Smith hit him in stride.
Smith is finally proving he can perform under pressure. He is making decent throws and guiding the Niners to key wins in key situations, bringing football back to the Bay Area. Now, the same Niner fans who picked on him nonstop not too long ago are loving him and the team.
While Smith was great, he was definitely aided by Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, who helped keep Detroit’s defense off-balance. Gore ran for 89 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, breaking a number of tackles, slipping through holes and picking up a ton of first downs. Hunter had some nice carries as well, and Mario Manningham ran for 29 yards on a reverse play.
The Niners continued to dominate on defense. (Some of the Lions points came somewhat cheap. Kendall Hunter fumbled a kickoff, and there was a questionable pass interference call that led to a field goal.)
Like many other teams, the 49ers struggled to contain Calvin Johnson. However, their defensive line got to Matthew Stafford consistently enough to stop him from finding Johnson on a regular basis.
On offense, Michael Crabtree got open a lot. He got open on key third downs to keep drives alive, and he helped the Niners set up touchdowns (and field goals).
If they keep playing like this, they’ll cruise against the Vikings and Jets (even though both games are on the road).
And, after watching this game and last weeks game against the Packers, who am I to say the Niners can’t go 16-0?