I really think that announcement by the head ref at the end of the first half summed this game up perfectly. Even when the 49ers went into a virtual prevent offense the Lions could not make much of anything happen. I realize the Lions are a bad team, but it would have been easy to play down to their level. It looked like we were heading in that direction in the second half before the Allen Rossum touchdown on fourth down.
Prior to the game there was mention of not winning any games in a comfortable manner. Well, today's victory was the largest margin of victory for the 49ers since beating Arizona 50-14 in 2003.
Game Ball: I think after wins I'll give out the game ball for the MVP of the game....or at least a guy/group of guys I think was a key to victory. Today we've got a tie: Frank Gore AND the 49ers secondary.
Gore: How's about 130 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and 32 receiving yards from the motor of this offense. The numbers would have been even more spectacular if he hadn't been tripped up on a play he was ready to break for a big one. Gore struggled last week, but taking a big lead early allowed the 49ers to focus on the run.
Secondary: My one worry was the potential of Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson, combined with the numerous other receivers the Lions could throw out there. However, Nate Clements and Walt Harris absolutely took care of business, holding the big two to 6 catches for 58 yards, most of which occurred after the game was well in hand. Jon Kitna was 14 for 29 for 146 yards and never got into a rhythm.
Justin Smith - Absolutely worth every penny, and then some. Smith had 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT and forced a fumble, although the Lions recovered it. The man has been an absolute terror on the line and a leader for this defense.
J.T. O'Sullivan - I'll take 16/23, 189 yards and 2 TDs most any day (assuming Gore brings it on the ground). JTO was sacked only once as he learned how to throw the ball away finally. Throw in another 32 rushing yards and it was an all around solid performance for the QB. Although the offensive line play was solid, JTO did a good job stepping up into the pocket as well.
The Let-up - For a good chunk of the second half it seemed like the 49ers were happy to go on cruise control. Thankfully they went for the jugular on that fourth down play. I'm hoping Mike Martz learned from this and will not let up in the future.
Aside from the 2nd half let-up, this was a very solid effort on all sides of the ball. There was some sloppy tackling at times, but for the most part that happened after the game was in hand. The Lions dropped a lot of passes today, but part of that was fearing the impending hit.
Next week officially becomes a huge checkpoint for this team. The Saints are a team that can put points on the board in a hurry, something they've done in the recent past to the 49ers. Even with Marques Colston out, the Saints bring a solid group of receivers to test the 49ers secondary. While New Orleans will be favored, I do think the improvement by our offense makes this a winnable game. A win next week would definitely put the rest of the league on notice that the 49ers are a team to be reckoned with. It's been a while since we had one of those games and I'm already excited for it.
Thanks again to everybody for taking part in the game thread today. 22 users making 474 comments. Very nice.
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