San Francsico 49ers 25, Detroit Lions 19 (box score)
This game had all the classic signs of a letdown game but I refused to believe it would happen. The Lions had shown themselves to be different from the Lions of old and my confidence in them was such that I thought they could take care of business against the San Francisco 49ers.
I was wrong.
The Lions started well enough despite a three and out on their opening possession. Kyle Vanden Bosch was a one-man wrecking crew on the Lions first defensive play as he got the strip-sack on Alex Smith and recovered the fumble himself. The Lions took over on the San Francisco 32-yard line but settled for a field goal after moving inside the ten. While the early lead was nice, it represented the first of many missed opportunities on the day.
The Lions continued playing well through the rest of the first quarter and found themselves up 10-0 thanks to a touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew. Things changed in the second when Frank Gore plunged in for a one-yard score on the first play of the quarter. It was his 47-yard scamper that put the Niners in scoring position just a few plays earlier.
The Lions followed up two-straight three and out possession with a two play possession that resulted in a safety. The offense was out of sync and the results were ugly.
Their final drive of the first half stalled well short of the end zone but did allow for a 52-yard field goal attempt. Jason Hanson had plenty of leg but it went wide right. San Francisco turned the good field position into a 55-yard field goal to end the first half with a 12-10 lead.
The Lions regained some life thanks to their first possession of the second half when they moved inside the ten yard line. Like their previous trip in the red zone, they were unable to punch it in for six and settled for a short field goal which San Francisco immediately answered with one of their own.
Lions fans hoped their team had shaken off the pesky 49ers with an early fourth quarter touchdown pass. Matthew Stafford found Nate Burleson in the back of the end zone to take a 19-15 lead. The play was originally ruled incomplete, much like the play that cost the Lions a victory in week one last season when it was ruled that Calvin Johnson did not “complete the process”.
Alas, the Lions weren’t able to deliver a knockout blow and allowed the 49ers to score just inside the two-minute warning and take a 22-19 lead. The Lions ensuing drive was another ugly one and ended without a first down and allowed the 49ers to tack on a field goal after the Lions used all three of their timeouts on defense.
Faced with a six point deficit, 80 yards to go and just 1:02 to work with the Lions allowed a sack, completed a short pass and nothing else to finish of their first defeat of the year.