The 49ers came into Detroit with most thinking they would lose. Everyone was drinking the silver and blue Kool-Aid and ready to anoint this team. Well, somebody forgot to tell the 49ers. Arguably the most physical football team in the NFL, San Francisco came in and imposed their will on the Lions.
For those who haven’t watched the Niners offense play this year, they are a physical football team that depends on the running game and timely passing. Well, today was more of the usual as the Gold Rush (RBs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter) combined for 178 yards and a touchdown. But even bigger than that was the play of QB Alex Smith in crunch time. Sure, Smith made some mistakes, but when it counted, he came thru with a great play. He hit backup TE Delanie Walker with a pinpoint pass on a slant pattern that Walker converted into the game-winning TD. That’s a huge thing for Smith because in the past, if one bad thing happened, more were sure to follow.
Defensively, the Niners have been physical and shut down the run. No one has been the posterchild for this defense more that DE Justin Smith. He is one of the leaders of this defense and he proves an example for the whole team with his constant hustle and workmanlike attitude. Smith was huge against the Lions. It seemed he was always in the area, causing huge problems for the Lions offensive line. Another key thing that the Niners did was they bracketed Lions WR Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Sure, Johnson got his catches, but he didn’t get touchdowns.
I could go on and on about the 49ers and points about how they won, but the biggest key has been head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh, of course, took some of the attention away from the win with his dustup with Lions coach Jim Schwartz, but Harbaugh has been a revelation for the team so far. He seems to get the most out of this team. In a game like today, the Niners would usually blow it. They had false starts, defensive penalties and missed some huge opportunities. But, Jim Harbaugh kept his team focused and didn’t allow them to get down. Football is now back to fun by the Bay. How bout them Niners!!
**This is a guest post from Mike Patton. You can read more from Mike on his blog “The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog”: http://theeverydaymanssportsblog.wordpress.com/ In addition to his insightful commentary about all things sports. Mike takes questions in his mail bag and offers Fantasy Football advice.