|This year's handshake between Jim Schwartz (left) and Jim Harbaugh was uneventful, but the game result was the same. The 49ers beat the Lions. (AP)|
Tasked with playing against two of the NFL's best QBs to open the season, the San Francisco defense didn't have the luxury of easing into the season. After passing the Week 1 test by stifling reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, the 49ers (2-0) backed it up by limiting Matthew Stafford to a pedestrian night -- at least by his standards.
Stafford threw for 230 yards and a late TD as the Detroit offense failed to find any kind of a rhythm in San Francisco's 27-19 win at Candlestick Park.
“They're a good offense,” 49ers LB Aldon Smith said. “But we're a good defense, so we knew that if we took care of our business then we would have a good chance of winning.”
Smith did his part with a pair of sacks and was effective supporting the run in his first true test as an every-down LB.
While Stafford didn't play to the level he's accustomed to, his counterpart, 49ers QB Alex Smith, showed another week of growth. Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards, two TDs and went without an interception for the ninth-straight game, including two games in last year's playoffs.
"I felt during the game and at the end of the game there that this was one of Alex's best performances,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He felt like there were a couple (more) he could have made, but I thought that he had a great night putting the ball on the money.”
His numbers would have looked even better if not for about five drops, including three straight in the fourth quarter.
When the game turned: The Lions (1-1) stayed within striking distance for most of the game, but a 13-play, 79-yard 49ers drive late in the fourth quarter ended any realistic hope the Lions had of winning. Smith hit TE Vernon Davis for a 23-yard TD to put San Francisco up 27-12 to cap the drive and send Candlestick Park into a frenzy.
Highlight moment: Davis hooked up with Smith for a pair of TD receptions, but the second, which essentially ended the game, was a beauty. Smith rolled out to the right, hit Davis on the run and he juked a pair of Detroit defenders to find the end zone.
- QB Alex Smith -- 20 of 31 for 226 yards, 2 TD passes, no interceptions
- RB Frank Gore -- 17 carries for 89 yards, 1 TD
- TE Vernon Davis -- 5 catches, 73 yards, 2 TD
- WR Calvin Johnson -- 8 catches, 94 yards
What they said about the postgame handshake
- Jim Harbaugh, who downplayed last year's postgame handshake all week: “Thought it went good. This was a matchup about two good teams.”
- RT Anthony Davis: “I kind of looked over there to see what was going to happen.”
Numbers you should know: Stafford came into the game with five straight 350-yard passing games but was held to just 230 yards while completing 19 of 32 attempts. With 361 yards passing, he would have become the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a five-game span. The 49ers' franchise-record 26 consecutive quarters without a turnover ended with a first-quarter fumble by RB Kendall Hunter on a kickoff return.
Injury update: QB Alex Smith took a forearm to the bridge of his nose on a play where he slid, but the only lasting effect was a cut to match that of one suffered by teammate and LT Joe Staley. TE Vernon Davis was poked in the eye early in the game, but only missed a few plays.
Going forward: 49ers: There are still four more games before the team opens division play against Seattle on Oct. 18, but the NFC West isn't looking like the cakewalk it was billed to be. With Arizona's win at New England, Seattle's win against the Cowboys and St. Louis' win against Washington, San Francisco's first-place schedule all of a sudden looks a lot more difficult. Lions: With games against Tennessee and Minnesota up next, the Lions will likely expect to enter their Oct. 14 game at Philadelphia with a 3-1 record.
Star power: Actors Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson took in the game from the 49ers sideline.