San Francisco 19
|San Francisco 19||Detroit 13|
|November 12, 2006||Ford Field-Attendance: 60,707 (65,000)||Time: 3:07|
|SF||TD||11:23||Frank Gore rush to the left for 61 yards for a touchdown.||6||0|
|SF||PAT||11:23||Joe Nedney extra point attempt is good.||7||0|
|SF||FG||1:36||Joe Nedney 28 yard field goal attempt is good.||10||0|
|SF||FG||9:46||Joe Nedney 23 yard field goal attempt is good.||13||0|
|DET||FG||0:18||Jason Hanson 25 yard field goal attempt is good.||13||3|
|SF||FG||10:55||Joe Nedney 23 yard field goal attempt is good.||16||3|
|DET||TD||3:40||Jon Kitna pass completion to the left to Dan Campbell for 8 yards for a touchdown.||16||9|
|DET||PAT||3:40||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||16||10|
|SF||FG||12:29||Joe Nedney 47 yard field goal attempt is good.||19||10|
|DET||FG||7:57||Jason Hanson 33 yard field goal attempt is good.||19||13|
|Team Stat Comparison|
|3rd down efficiency||10-19||3-9|
|4th down efficiency||0-0||0-1|
|Yards per pass||4.9||5.5|
|Yards per rush||4.5||4.2|
San Francisco kept Detroit in the game with missed opportunities, then made just enough plays for a rare two-game winning streak and its first road win.
Frank Gore set a franchise record with 148 yards rushing in the first half and scored on a 61-yard run before leaving with a concussion, and Joe Nedney made all four of his field-goal attempts to give the 49ers a 19-13 victory Sunday.
Keith Lewis intercepted Jon Kitna's pass at the 49ers 2 with 2 1/2 minutes left and San Francisco (4-5) picked up the one first down it needed to seal the game, winning consecutive games for the second time since 2003.
''A lot of the talk for us this week was to create a streak and to win on the road, two things we haven't had,'' San Francisco coach Mike Nolan said. ''I'd like to think it's a turning point.''
The Lions (2-7) had a chance to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly 26 months and the third time since 2001, when Matt Millen took control of the franchise. Despite the lack of success, some players were bold enough to talk about winning four in a row after beating Atlanta by 16 points last week.
''Yes, it is a setback,'' said wide receiver Roy Williams, who has confidently talked about putting together an extended winning streak. ''I think we came out a little flat. I don't think we were into this ballgame.
''I don't know if it's because it was San Francisco, and not an Atlanta Falcons team.''
Gore finished with career-high 159 yards rushing, leaving the game when he stumbled to the sideline late in the third quarter after catching a pass.
''He got his bell rung,'' Nolan said. ''It's a mild concussion.''
San Francisco's Alex Smith was 14-of-20 for 136 yards with a fumble. Arnaz Battle caught six passes for 55 yards, and converted a third-and-4 on the final drive to allow the 49ers to run out the clock.
''It was big,'' said Smith, who avoided a sack on the play before delivering a crisp pass on an out route. ''It was nice that our coaches had the confidence to call that play with the game on the line.''
Jon Kitna was 19-of-30 for 202 yards with a touchdown, interception and fumble. Kevin Jones accounted for 115 yards rushing and receiving, and Williams was limited to 81 yards receiving.
The 49ers entered the game giving up an NFL-high 30 points a game - and an average of 40 in their previous three road games - but they shut down Detroit's Mike Martz-directed offense a week after limiting Minnesota to three points.
San Francisco led 13-3 at halftime after scoring on three of its first four drives, wishing it had a bigger lead after outgaining Detroit 247-102 and recovering a fumble without giving up a turnover.
''The feeling was we had done a lot better than the scoreboard showed,'' Smith said.
The 49ers had chances to go ahead big in the third quarter because Detroit had two turnovers on its first three plays, but they came away with only a field goal and a 13-point lead.
Smith's fumble midway through the third quarter set up a score that helped the Lions get back in the game. Kitna lofted an 8-yard pass to Dan Campbell to make it 16-10.
Gore then caught a 7-yard pass, wobbled off the field and didn't return. The 49ers drove down the field to set up Nedney's fourth field goal, a key score because it made Detroit go for a TD instead of kicking a tying field goal late in the game.
Jason Hanson made a field goal on the ensuing drive, making it 19-13 in a game marred by missed opportunities by both teams.
Gore started his day with a big run. On one of Gore's many draws, he squirted away from a few Lions on the left side and cut across the field for a 61-yard TD.
''I saw a lot of missed tackles,'' Nolan said.
After Jones fumbled, Nedney's 28-yard kick gave the 49ers a 10-0 lead.
San Francisco added to its cushion early in the second quarter with another field goal by Nedney two plays after Smith threw directly at cornerback Stanley Wilson, who likely would've scored had he simply caught the ball.
''There's really no excuse,'' Wilson said. ''I've got to have that play for my team to help us win.''
Detroit coach Rod Marinelli was disappointed in how his team began the game, lacking an emotional edge.
''I'm not a sugar-coater,'' Marinelli said. ''I'm going to take the film and put it right in their faces. I'm not going to put it all on them - we didn't teach them well enough - but I'm going to tell them the truth.''
OK.We've seen enough. End the charade. The Lions have said all season that they are truly a good team stuck with a bad team's record, like if they just said it enough, the standings might change. That fight is over. The winner, by ninth-round knockout, is Reality.
The truth is that Reality was way ahead on points on all the judges' cards. This just makes it official: lowly San Francisco 19, Lions 13, at Ford Field.
A good team, huh? What kind of "good team" loses to the 49ers at home? The 49ers had lost 17 of their last 19 road games.
The Lions battled to the end of this game. Unfortunately, they started battling in the third quarter. Did we mention that their season was on the line?
The Lions entered this game with a 2-6 record, and only in their mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world would this be cause for excitement. But the Lions had just beaten a decent Atlanta team, and they were staring at three straight winnable games, starting with this one. Win all three, and the Lions would at least be a story: 5-6 and rising. They couldn't even get the first one.
After the game Roy Williams sat in his locker, with his head in his left hand, wearing only his game pants. No shirt, no shoes, no hope.
He sat there until one of the Lions' media-relations reps came over to let him know the cameras were on him. Normally, that would make Williams perk up. He is a reporter's dream. All season, through all the losses, Williams has insisted the Lions were close. But if they looked close to anything Sunday, it was the top pick in the draft, and even Williams knew it.
"We played terrible," Williams said. "We deserved to lose."
And: "I don't think we were into this ballgame."
What gave it away? Was it the third-and-16 play, when the 49ers handed the ball to Frank Gore and the Lions reacted like Gore had been quarantined? Nobody wanted to touch him. Gore ran 61 yards for a touchdown.
Or was it that San Francisco ran for 137 yards even if you didn't count the 61-yarder? Or was it the Lions' four turnovers?
Somehow, the Lions almost won anyway. The 49ers let them hang around. But this would have been a stolen win, largely undeserved -- nobody should stumble around for more than half a game and win anyway.
Williams was right: They deserved to lose. Now they need to go 6-1 the rest of the way to avoid another losing season, and not even Williams would make such heady predictions Sunday.
This will be the Lions' sixth straight losing season. Even in their long losing history, the Lions have only had one other stretch that was so miserable. And that was in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before free agency brought extreme parity to the league, which makes this six-year run even more pathetic.
Pretty soon, even Matt Millen will be holding a "Fire Millen" sign. And the Fords, impressed with his wit, will give him a contract extension.
When a team loses so much, only a few losses can really be termed "disappointing." This was one of them. The Lions just lost to a team that is supposed to be just as lousy as they are -- and at home.
The only news the 49ers make anymore is the off-the-field kind. They recently announced that they will move out of their city. Would it kill the Lions to match the offer?
The Lions were embarrassed Sunday, in every sense of the word. Williams tried to dig out some of his signature optimism Sunday -- he wondered what would have happened if Jon Kitna had thrown to him on the Lions' final offensive play, or if he had somehow made a spectacular Willie Mays-style catch in the end zone. But Williams sounded like he was rationalizing, and he knew it.
"I hate to live in an 'if' world," he said.
Sorry, Roy. You were drafted into an "if" world.
If the Lions beat San Francisco ...
If they finally win two in a row ...
If they luck into a franchise quarterback ...
If Matt Millen resigns ...
Defense: --- C-. The Defense had no answer for Frank Gore in the 1st half and gave an effort like they did against the Jets. Still, the biggest blunder came when Stanley Wilson flat out dropped an interception when the Lions were down 10 at the 49ers 12 yard line. That could have been a game changing play, but what do you expect for a back up player. Still, the Defense was not the reason the Lions lost the game. They only gave up one big play for a touchdown and held strong most of the game. Too bad they could not create more turnovers.
Special Teams: --- B-. Eddie Drummond had a few good returns and Jason Hanson had two field goals. Coverage was good and Nick Harris punted the ball half way decent.
Coaching: --- D. How can Marinelli not have his team ready to play San Francisco after they dominated Atlanta? His decision not to kick a field goal and going for the 4th down was too risky and he got burned. Marinelli has to stop saying the Lions are a good team - they are not!
Overall: --- F. Leave it to the honolulu blue and silver to not figure out how to win back to back games for the first time in years. Everthing they gained last week by beating Atlanta was thrown straight down the toilet against San Francisco. Sorry, but you need to beat the bad teams if you ever want to improve. Although I said last week the Lions should win their next three, I now am revising that statement and say they could very well easily lose to the worst team in the NFL - Arizona and against Joey Blue Skies. If the Lions finish with less than five wins, I cannot see for the life of me how Millen deserves to keep his job!