Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers: Offense Never Finds Rhythm in Loss

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Alson Smith #99 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The  49ers won the game 27-19. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions never really seemed to get into a rhythm Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers, with Matt Stafford not getting enough time to throw much of the game and holding onto the ball too long when he did get the time.

Once again, the Niners took the teeth out of a potent offense and defanged the defense for good measure.

Stafford was often on the run, as Aldon Smith and company overpowered his offensive line and the potent secondary locked down the Lions receivers all day, even Calvin Johnson.

There were times when it looked like the Lions were gaining momentum—in fact, it often seemed in the first half that San Francisco should have, and could have, been ahead by a lot more and the Lions were just a score away.

Most often, the Lions achieved it with a combination of shorter passes and runs, pulling the defense in and then firing off a big pass to one of their big-play receivers. However, every time it seemed they were on the verge of catching fire, the Lions offense would stall either because of several failed longer throws or poorly-timed penalties.

The offense never really kept up their momentum and, until the last quarter and a Brandon Pettigrew touchdown, stalled out every time they crossed the 49ers’ 20-yard line.

The defense had its issues too, as they had their own rash of bad penalties and the Niners gave Alex Smith excellent protection. Smith does a fantastic job of spreading the ball around and head coach Jim Harbaugh’s game plan uses all the weapons at the team’s disposal.

When Michael Crabtree or Vernon Davis weren’t catching touchdowns, Smith was handing the ball off to Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter, neither of which the Lions had an answer for.

The Niners did a great job of sucking the Lions defensive line in and then either passing the ball out to the flat or running the ball to the outside.

The Lions defense held its own for a long time, but with little help from the offense, it was only a matter of time before they wore down and the Niners ran away.

A tough loss for the Lions, but hopefully one they can learn from to bounce back against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.

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