Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 9/18/12

SAN FRANCISCO (27) d DETROIT (19)

The Headline: Niners put the rest of the NFL on notice

The Story:

Whoever said this was now a total passing league did not count on the 49ers coming back and playing some good old fashioned smash mouth football and looking incredibly good doing it. While the final score will only reflect an eight point margin anyone who watched the game will know that it was nowhere near that close as the 49ers defense suffocated the Lions offense for a good 58 minutes and held them to 4 field goals (off 5 attempts). Now I’m not going to pull a Florio and say that the Lions TD was meaningless, NFL games are played over 60 minutes and each point there counts but still, that did make it a flattering score for Detroit who never looked like they were in it. Despite the new toys to play with at receiver, Vernon Davis remains Smith’s favourite target and he was rewarded with two touchdown catches while Michael Crabtree finally looks like a first round pick. The Lions fought very hard, with Calvin Johnson having a solid if unspectacular game (by his lofty standards) but they just did not seem to be able to click when they needed to and as a result were just out played by the best team in the NFC (or possibly the NFL if you follow myself and fellow writer K.M. on twitter).

Key Stat: Alex Smith: 0 Interceptions

After being screwed around as the 49ers continually changed coaches and offensive systems, we are finally getting to see what Alex Smith can do when he is in a system that suits his skill level and he has time to learn it. He has cut out the mistakes from his game and has not thrown an interception in 216 attempts, a 49ers franchise record. When he avoided giving the opposition any extra opportunities to score it makes life much easier for the defense as they will have longer fields to defend.

Key Play: Vernon Davis 23 yard touchdown catch

With just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter the 49ers offense was driving down the field trying to kill as much of the clock as possible. Alex Smith found Vernon Davis out in the flat on the right before cutting inside and getting into the end zone to kill off any chance of a Lions comeback.

Man of the Match: Dashon Goldson

6 tackles (5 solo) 1 interception

The 49ers franchise player proved his value here with an impressive performance that helped limit the Lions offense to only 296 yards, well below what is expected of them. Goldson also had a big interception of Matthew Stafford where he overthrew a receiver and was able to capitalise on the mistake and for that performance he wins the man of the match.


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