Ok, so Frank Gore's accomplishments were not something to sleep on. However, offensively there were a lot of stretches where the 49ers simply did not show up. Today's final result was more telling of how bad Detroit is, than how good the 49ers may or may not be. The 49ers offense provided a few highlights, but it was not exactly an inspiring effort, or a "strong step forward" if you will. Frank Gore did surpass 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season, and I'm quite happy with that. However, when you're averaging 2.5 yards per carry, it's not exactly a strong performance. I'll take the win any day, but the running game certainly had some issues today.
On offense, these last two games were supposed to be a chance for Alex Smith to step up and put together a pair of impressive performances. One game down and I'd imagine nobody was particularly impressed. He finished 20/31 for 230 yards and 1 touchdown. Again, not an awful performance, but certainly not the most inspiring of efforts. Part of the blame lies with Smith, and part of the blame lies with another poor performance by the offensive line. I'm still on board with Smith simply because he'll get another offseason with the OC (a first), and he'll get a chance to develop better chemistry with Crabtree. Maybe those of us who believe this have our head in the sands, but I remain convinced the coming offseason is that much more important for Smith.
While the offense laid a bit of an egg, the 49ers defense certainly brought its A-game today. The defense forced three fumbles, three interceptions and had two sacks, with at least five tackles for a loss. Although the bend-but-don't-break got in the way of things at times, the defense stiffened up when needed and took care of business. This was the kind of performance we would have liked to see from the offense. A unit playing a team they know is inferior to them, and still bringing intensity from beginning to end. The defense easily could have been burned by Calvin Johnson deep, or let Maurice Morris play a bit better, but they came ready to play and ready to dominate.
Oh, and Mike Singletary moved back to .500 (12-12) as the 49ers head coach. He's bounced back and forth to .500 these last few weeks. A win next week will improve his record as 49ers head coach to 13-12.
Up Next: @ St. Louis Rams - The 49ers wrap up their 2009 season with a visit to the St. Louis Rams. The Rams season has been in shambles and they're just looking forward to that #1 pick. They have an assortment of holes to fill, so we'll see where they go with that pick. In the meantime, the 49ers will look to wrap up an 8-8 season and avoid a losing season for the first time since 2002. While it's not exactly a playoff spot, it's certainly a building block going into 2010.