The start of the 49ers and Lions game resembled how the fourth preseason game would have looked. First, the Lions were stopped on fourth down. Then, the Niners botched a center exchange. Then, the Lions missed a field goal.
We saw Trey Lance in the second series. His first play went for one yard on what looked like an RPO. Then, a seven-play, 59-yard drive was capped off with a Lance touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield.
This would be a theme for the rest of the first half, at least. The offensive line continued to give Jimmy Garoppolo and Elijah Mitchell, as Raheem Mostert was injured, with plenty of time to throw and holes to run through. Garoppolo was efficient and found receivers running wide open while the running game bullied its way down the field.
San Francisco had a four-play, 78-yard drive that only took 2:17 off the clock after Garoppolo found Deebo Samuel on a 29-yard gain and Mitchell took off for a 38-yard score.
After a Lions’ field goal, the 49ers marched seven plays for 75 yards in under four minutes. Garoppolo connected once again with Deebo on a chunk play for 23 yards. JaMycal Hasty punched it in from three yards out to give the 49ers a 21-10 lead.
The Lions had success moving the ball early and capped off one drive with a touchdown pass. However, with the 49ers putting pressure on Detroit to score, I doubted the Lions' ability to keep pace with San Francisco. That would prove to be wrong.
In the most Goff type of way, Detroit had an opportunity to score before the half, but Jared Goff threw a pick-six to Dre Greenlaw that gave the 49ers a 28-10 lead. The ball was thrown into triple coverage.
With 45 seconds to play in the half, Garoppolo led the Niners to a field goal drive to give them a 31-10 lead. Jimmy evaded a Blitzer after Hasty missed a block to save the drive. That was a critical play.
The 49ers averaged 9.3 yards per play during the first half. After that, they did whatever they wanted to. The 31 points scored were the most in a half since 2013 against Week 16 vs. the Falcons.
The 49ers should have put points on the board on the first drive to start the half, but an intentional grounding hurt the field position, and Robbie Gould missed a 52-yard field goal.
After the defense stopped the Lions again, Detroit’s average yards per play was 3.8 through eight drives. It was a rocky start for the 49ers, but DeMeco Ryans got his group to settle in.
Garoppolo hung in the pocket on a 3rd & 8 pass on the following drive and heaved a pass down the sideline under pressure. Samuel adjusted well to the ball in the air and, after he caught it, raced down the field for a 79-yard score. Up to this point, Garoppolo was 12-for-18 for 258 yards and a passer rating of 128.2.
That made the score 38-10.
Samuel had six carries for 160 yards. The only question was where Aiyuk was during all of this? He didn’t have a target.
The defense gave up a long score to DeAndre Swift, where Jimmie Ward was juked in the open field. That made it 38-17.
Nick Bosa’s first sack of the season came against Penei Sewell. He walked Sewell back into Goff’s lap, then hustled back to finish what he started.
There wasn’t any suspense left for the rest of the game. Jason Verrett went down and was on the field grabbing his knee. That was a scary sight. However, Verrett was emotional walking off the field as if he knew the injury was serious. We’ll have an injury update from Shanahan after the game.
Azeez Al-Shaair also went down with a knee injury. It’s tough cause you can’t replace all 11 starters, but when you’re up 41-17, it’s difficult to make a case for why players like Fred Warner and Nick Bosa are on the field.
A blowout victory for the 49ers comes at a steep cost if Verrett is out for extended time. Josh Norman just signed, but that was to take the place of an already injured Emmanuel Moseley.
The Lions scored in garbage time against Dontae Johnson and converted a two-point conversion to make the score 40-25.
So we thought.
An onside kick bounced off the facemask of George Kittle that allowed the Lions to recover. They didn’t waste time attacking Ambry Thomas to score in a hurry and make it 41-33 after a two-point conversion.
Detroit had three timeouts left, so, with a stop, they could have a chance to tie the game.
The 49ers appeared to wrap the game up after Garoppolo found Deebo for a would-be first down. However, Samuel fumbled, giving the Lions a chance to tie the game.
The Lions took advantage of having a timeout and were on the 25-yard line with 32 seconds to play. It came down to 4th & 9 from the 24-yard line, and pressure from Samson Ebukam forced an errant throw.
Man. What a game. The rollercoaster of emotions you go through when you watch this team is unlike anything else. This was was game one.
41-33, good guys.