Firstly, I’d like to apologise for not writing a preview for this game. I just got caught up with stuff all week, and didn’t find the time. Anyway, enough of that.
Ah, the 49ers. A team whose history lies in the 80’s and 90’s. The best WR ever, two of the best QB’s ever. They were the real deal for a good, long time. But then in the 2000’s, they more or less delved into the lowly pack of the NFL, where your name was only really mentioned in a late highlight package of your game. A lot like the Lions, of course. But these 49ers aren’t the same as they have been lately. These 49ers have confidence. Confidence given to them by their new head coach, Jim Harbaugh. A new renewed confidence and believability in their former #1 overall pick, Alex Smith. A very good RB in Frank Gore. And, their cog, their defense.
This 49ers defense is very, very good. Hell, they’d be 1-5 if they had a lot of replaced pieces on this defense. Their defense has 2 main cogs in it. MLB Patrick Willis, undoubtedly the best LB in the NFL and Justin Smith. Smith was a force from the minute he entered the league in ’01, getting picked #4 overall. In his rookie season, Smith racked up 53 tackles, 8.5 sacks and an incredible 2 INT’s (This is a DT, remember). Smith then regressed in his following 2 years before having a resurgence in ’04 through to ’06. In ’08 the 49ers signed him to a six-year, $45 million deal and he’s been nothing short of dominant since. The reason I gave you a bit of an overview of Justin Smith, is that I feel he gets overlooked when the discussions of dominant players come up or just overlooked. Period.
And the 49ers D is what won them this game. Making Matthew Stafford miss on 22 of his throws (28/50 293 2/0), while limiting Best to 37 yards on 12 carries, after he had 163 on 12 carries the week before against the Bears. Calvin Johnson still put up his usual numbers (113 on 7 catches), but was held without a TD for the first time this season.
Frank Gore dominated the Lions on the day, rushing for 141 yards on 15 carries with 1 TD. Alex Smith was adequate, but far from good. Smith went 17/32 125 yards 1 TD and 1 INT. Crabtree was the 49ers leading receiver hauling in 9 catches for 77 yards and no TD’s, with the TD going to Delanie Walker after carrying Louis Delmas to the goal-line.
I’ve been pretty calm and collected up until this point. But this loss really hurts me. I’m not entirely sure why, I have no real issue with the 49ers (well, before the game, anyway), but I find it very upsetting. Maybe it’s because the Lions were on a tear and people thought “Heh, the 49ers, as if they could beat the Lions at Ford Field!”. Perhaps the whole atmosphere of the Lions crusade and chock-full bandwagon made this loss harder to take. All the hype and belief in the Lions has dwindled a bit after coming back down to reality by the 49ers. Especially when the Lions have a similarly tough test this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons who come in after handily beating the Panthers (so much for that upset, huh?) 31 to 17.
I’m not too sure what else to say, to be honest (I’m not going to bother discussing the overblown post-game fiasco). The game for the Lions was just a bad game all-round and they’ll be very disappointed with their effort and will be looking to rebound big time against the Falcons this Sunday to get their season back on track.
I’ll be writing a preview for the Falcons game within the next 24 hours, so keep your eyes out for that one, as well as my weekly picks article.