By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – Four plays, sixty-seven yards in one minute and twelve seconds was all it took for the Forty-niners offense to complete a touchdown. The offense was near perfection on the opening drive and this was only the beginning.
The Niners defeated the Detroit Lions 27-19 and now have a 2-0 lead to kick off the season. This years schedule is a bit more challenging than last season and San Francisco is having no problems earning their respect.
“Our defense played lights out in the first half,” said Alex Smith. “We really put them in a hole and that helped us. “The offense really made me look good tonight and these guys [team] helped us get the win.”
Mario Manningham rushed for 29-yards, Smith’s 17-yard pass to Michael Crabtree was complete and then the 21-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in the end zone was a great way to start the game. Credit to the defense and sellout crowd to force the Lions to punt early.
Detroit had no room or open pockets in moving their offense against the Niners defense, they settled for four field goals and one touchdown that came in the final minutes of the game. Matthew Stafford finished 19 for 32 with 230 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
“I don’t think as an offense we’ve hit our stride yet,” Stafford said. “We moved the ball really well at times today against a really good defense, and we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities in the red zone like we needed too.”
“We didn’t do a good job in anything,” said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. “Whether it was the run game, the pass game, defense or special teams. We need to play better in all phases, we left a lot of opportunities on the field.”
The Lions never got close to the end zone thanks to San Francisco’s defense, until late in the fourth. Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 94 yards and that still wasn’t enough against the Niners defense which forced Detroit to rely on their running game.
“We’re trying to do more,” Davis said. “We’re pretty much trying to correct the mistakes we made last season. That’s why we brought in Randy Moss and Manningham to help us. All we have to do is keep our focus and maintain that.”
Vernon caught two touchdown passes of 21 and 23 yards from Smith and Frank Gore carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards. Gore’s 1-yard touchdown just missed his second 100-yard game this year and fourth in the series.
“We’re picking up where we left off last season,” said Frank. “Our goal was to start fast, make great plays, Vernon made the touchdown and we just kept it going. It’s our second year in this offense, last year at this time we were still learning, now we have a vision.”
Alex completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and extended his franchise-record streak of completions without an interception to 216. Leading his team to their ninth consecutive win, the reigning NFC West champions continue to prove their success was no fluke.
“I thought overall we did a tremendous job,” Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Keeping them out of the end zone for 58 minutes was was very impressive. I felt that this was one of [Alex's] Smith best performances. He had a great night, putting the ball on the money, getting it into the hands of our guys. He played an excellent game both throwing the football and getting us in the right place.”